- Samsung started to mass-produce a memory chip that will equip future smartphones with 1 terabyte of storage, making them equivalent to notebook PCs, per a company announcement. A phone with that much memory can store 260 10-minute videos at 4K resolution, compared with 13 videos for the 64 gigabytes of storage widely used in many current high-end smartphones, the technology giant said.
- The 1TB chip also has a speed of as much as 1,000 megabytes per second, which means 5-gigabyte high-definition (HD) videos can be downloaded about 10 times faster than to a typical microSD card, Samsung reports.
- The embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS) 2.1, as the memory chip is called, doubles the capacity of its highest-end chip by stacking 16 layers of Samsung's 512-gigabit V-NAND flash memory and a new controller. Samsung plans to expand production of the chip during the first half of the year to keep up with expected demand.
Samsung's new 1-terabyte chip means that smartphone users won't have to rely on microSD cards to increase the data storage of their handsets. The company's Galaxy Note 9 has as much as 512 gigabytes of memory built in, and that can be expanded with a 512-gigabyte microSD card costing between $200 and $300. Samsung hasn't disclosed the price of the 1TB chip, but the company will have to avoid pricing itself out of the market in order to stay competitive and lure enough customers. The tech giant's new high-end tech comes as many consumers are holding onto their phones for longer periods, despite having lower amounts of storage. This consumer trend may hinder Samsung's success at driving sales and broader adoption of its powerful chip.
However, the 1TB memory may become more of a necessity as wireless carriers roll out next-generation 5G networks that will boost download speeds for more users. That improvement will likely increase the consumption of video content on mobile devices, which will require the additional storage to hold full-length, high-definition movies. The rollout of high-speed 5G mobile tech likely will be the next major driver of smartphone sales growth, with Gartner predicting 5G mobile phones sales will reach 65 million units in 2019. The 1TB chip may also give Samsung an advantage in high-end phones, such as the Galaxy S10 that's set to unveil on Feb. 20, per ZDNet.
Samsung this week warned of weaker earnings this fear following a 29% drop in Q4 2018 operating profit amid slowing demand for memory chips, CNBC reported. Its chips can be found in smartphones from most major manufacturers including Apple and China's Huawei. Memory and processor chips make up about 72% of Samsung's profit. Perhaps the 1TB memory chip will help to revive the company's fortunes in the years to come as 5G networks become more readily available to the mass market.