Smartphone to Get Serious Memory Upgrade
Two new high-density memory solutions recently announced by Samsung may double the number of videos, photos and software applications that can be run and stored on smartphones, making that small, handheld device so many people have come to rely on as powerful as many laptop computers.
"Users will be able to store much more content, and carry many more applications with them wherever they go," Samsung's Senior Product Manager for Flash Marketing, Steve Weinger, told TechNewsDaily.
Weinger said consumers can look forward to carrying approximately 40 hours of video on the new 32-gigabyte (GB) microSD card, twice the amount possible today. One gigabyte is equal to about 7 minutes of high-definition TV video. Because the new components are thinner than their predeccessors, they could also pave the way for sleeker mobile phones, Weinger added.
Samsung released a 64GB moviNAND memory chip at only 1.4 millimeters (.06 inches) thick that will be built into phones, and a 32GB micro secure digital (microSD) memory card that slips into a slot on a phone's exterior and measures 1 millimeter (.04 inches) thick. Each offers twice the memory capacity of industry-wide predecessors.
Apps and multimedia exceed available memory
The memory capacity of a phone determines the number of applications, or apps, and multimedia files that can be stored on any particular device.
Apps are small programs that are easily downloaded to a smartphone, and can contribute to the usefulness of a new phone. When Apple reported a jump in app downloads from 2 billion to 3 billion in just over three months at the first of the year, the growing popularity of apps was undeniable. Most apps are small, less than 10MB, but when combined with much larger music, photo and video files, memory may be consumed quickly.
Most phones include cameras that take still photos and video, but these files quickly eat up memory. For instance, on a BlackBerry Pearl with 64MB (that's megabytes, each of which is only 1/1000th of a gigabyte) of internal memory, the user may not be able to store more than a dozen photos. Getting the message, "System full, cannot save" after capturing a never-to-be-repeated moment, is a frustrating experience. More memory offers a solution.
Area for growth
Samsung believes large capacity chips have huge potential for growth — especially in the smartphone arena, where touchscreen and wireless Internet capability in handsets are now the norm. Memory capacity could be the differentiator.
Analysts agree in the growth potential for memory cards. According to market research firm iSuppli, the global market for 32GB and higher memory cards is forecasted to be 530 million units in 2010 and reach 9.5 billion units by 2013, that's an 18-fold increase in just two years.
Samsung's new 64GB moviNAND has been in mass production since December 2009, while the 32GB microSD is now being sampled by handset manufacturers with mass production expected next month.