Samsung has announced that it intends to produce the first removable versions of a new format of memory cards designed, it says, to replace the microSD card in portable electronic devices such as cameras, drones and phones.

The Universal Flash Storage cards are as small as microSD cards but boast enhanced read/write speeds, with the company claiming that 5GB can be read in just 10 seconds at a rate of 530MB/s. The write speeds a less impressive however, with a quoted maximum of 170MB/s, but Samsung says that is still almost twice the speed of a top end microSD card. The company says its cards will write at 170MB/s, which compares well to the 100MB/s rate quoted by SanDisk for its Extreme Pro UHS-II cards. The same SanDisk card reads at 275MB/s.

Although the format was announced in a white paper (pdf) in 2013, and Samsung announced its plans in February, this is the first time the cards appeared to become a reality with compliance with the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC) standards.

The company expects to introduce capacities of 32, 64,128 and 256GB, but hasn’t said when or whether there will be devices to take them.

Press release:

Samsung Introduces World’s First Universal Flash Storage (UFS) Removable Memory Card Line-up, Offering up to 256-Gigabyte (GB) Capacity


Samsung Electronics, the world leader in advanced memory technology, today unveiled the industry’s first removable memory cards based on the JEDEC Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 1.0 Card Extension Standard*, for use in high-resolution mobile shooting devices such as DSLRs, 3D VR cameras, action cams and drones. Coming in a wide range of storage capacities including 256, 128, 64 and 32 gigabyte (GB), Samsung’s UFS cards are expected to bring a significant performance boost to the external memory storage market, allowing much more satisfying multimedia experiences.

“Our new 256GB UFS card will provide an ideal user experience for digitally-minded consumers and lead the industry in establishing the most competitive memory card solution,” said Jung-bae Lee, senior vice president, Memory Product Planning & Application Engineering, Samsung Electronics “By launching our new high-capacity, high-performance UFS card line-up, we are changing the growth paradigm of the memory card market to prioritize performance and user convenience above all.”

Samsung’s new 256GB UFS removable memory card ? simply referred to as the UFS card will provide greatly improved user experiences, especially in high-resolution 3D gaming and high-resolution movie playback. It provides more than five times faster sequential read performance compared to that of a typical microSD card, reading sequentially at 530 megabytes per second (MB/s) which is similar to the sequential read speed of the most widely used SATA SSDs. With this UFS card, consumers have the ability to read a 5GB, Full-HD movie in approximately 10 seconds, compared to a typical UHS-1 microSD card, which would take over 50 seconds with 95MB/s of sequential reading speed. Also, at a random read rate of 40,000 IOPS, the 256GB card delivers more than 20 times higher random read performance compared to a typical microSD, which offers approximately 1,800 IOPS.

When it comes to writing, the new 256GB UFS card processes 35,000 random IOPS, which is 350 times higher than the 100 IOPs of a typical microSD card, and attains a 170MB/s sequential write speed, almost doubling the top-end microSD card speed. With these substantial performance improvements, the new 256GB UFS card significantly reduces multimedia data downloading time, photo thumbnail loading time and buffer clearing time in burst shooting mode, which, collectively, can be particularly beneficial to DSLR camera users. To shoot 24 large/extra fine JPEG photographs (1,120 megabyte (MB)-equivalent) continuously with a high-end DSLR camera, the 256GB UFS card takes less than seven seconds, compared to a UHS-1 microSD card which typically takes about 32 seconds, at 35MB/s.

To achieve the highest performance and most power-efficient data transport, the UFS card supports multiple commands with command queuing features and enables simultaneous reading and writing through the use of separately dedicated paths, doubling throughput.

As the leading memory storage provider, Samsung has been aggressive in preparing UFS solutions for the marketplace, while contributing to JEDEC standardization of the Universal Flash Storage 2.0 specification in September 2013 and the Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 1.0 Card Extension standard in March 2016. Following its introduction of the industry-first 128GB embedded UFS chip in January 2015, the company successfully launched a 256GB embedded UFS memory for high-end mobile devices in February of this year. As of earlier this month, Samsung also completed the Universal Flash Storage Association** (UFSA)’s certification program that evaluates electrical and functional specifications for compatibility of a UFS card, and Samsung’s new UFS card products were approved as UFSA-certified UFS cards with the right to use the official UFS logo for the first time in the industry.