Samsung seems to have a love-hate relationship with removable storage on its smartphones, as the microSD odyssey proves.
The OEM removed the option to expand the storage of Galaxy S6 models, but the decision attracted a hailstorm of criticism. The company paid note to feedback from its clients and brought back the microSD card slots in S7 edge and Galaxy S7 phones.
Rumor has it that the Galaxy Note 6 and 7 variants will feature the expansion option.
Samsung recently announced that it will release the first global batch of removable cards that rely on a new UFS memory card standard. The not so great news is that the new cards will probably not work with any of today's devices.
Even if we have to wait a bit for across the board compatibility, the UFS 2.0 standard holds promise to radically improve transfer performance. At the moment, the most used standards are the eMMC 5.0 and 5.1, and we find them in most of flash storage units, be it for mobile or memory cards.
The top of the line card in the announced batch is a 256 GB card that Samsung touts can reach 530 MBps sequential read speeds. This almost reaches the performance coming from SATA SSDs. As you would expect, writing speeds are a tad lower, at only 170 MBps, but keep in mind that this speed is still twice as high as the one found in today's fastest microSD card.
What the OEM succeeded in doing with the JEDEC UFS 1.0 Card Extension Standard is bringing high-speeds to removable cards. Until recently, UFS technology was only present in the embedded memory of tablets and smartphones.
As always, when things seem too good to be true, they might be.
The caveat to the hyper-speed is that the UFS Card Extension Standard has virtually no compatible device on the market.
Samsung mentions that gadgets such as VR cameras, drones and DSLRs can benefit from the new cards.
The much anticipated Galaxy Note 7 could become the first handset to play nice with this type of removable card. However, the device should be eMMC friendly too, as it makes little sense for such a presumably popular smartphone to work with a single model of memory card.
Samsung announced that it will merchandise UFS memory cards with capacities of 256, 128, 64 and 32 GB.
The OEM did not say anything official about when the new memory cards will hit the shelves.