Micron announced its first 3D NAND chip for mobile devices with the goal of cramming more storage into handsets, and maybe reducing reliance on SD card slots.
3D NAND provides more capacity in the same size chip than other technologies can. Micron’s 3D chip has 32GB of capacity and is targeted at mid-range and high-end phones. It’s based on the new UFS 2.1 standard, a fast storage protocol that isn’t in smartphones yet.
Micron believes internal storage capacity in smartphones will need to grow, especially with new applications like virtual reality and streaming video. Low-end smartphones have as little as 4GB of storage, while the iPhone 6S has up to 128GB.
Micron’s goal is to cram even more bits into its 3D NAND mobile chips as it refines the manufacturing process, said Gino Skulick, vice president at Micron’s mobile business unit.
In a few years, internal storage capacity in smartphones could be as great as it is in PCs today, perhaps up to 1TB by 2020, Micron said. But the company didn’t provide a roadmap of the storage capacity it will provide in its 3D mobile flash chips.
3D NAND chips are already in SSDs from companies like Intel, and the density they offer is only growing. Micron has said it can cram more than 3.5TB in gumstick-sized SSDs.