In 2015, SanDisk released the world's first 200GB microSDXC storage media using TLC flash technology. Today the company announced a successor, the Ultra MicroSDXC UHS-I, which doubles capacity to a massive 400GB housed within a card roughly the size of your finger nail.
This form factor is now the de facto standard for several classes of devices that span a wide range of product types. Most modern cell phones and tablets have standardized on microSD, and the technology has also penetrated other devices, such as drones and game consoles.
“Mobile devices have become the epicenter of our lives, and consumers are now accustomed to using their smartphones for anything from entertainment to business. We are collecting and sharing massive amounts of data on smartphones, drones, tablets, PCs, laptops and more. We anticipate that storage needs will only continue to grow as people continue to expect more sophisticated features on their devices and desire higher quality content,” Jeff Janukowicz, research vice president, IDC. “We estimate mobile device users worldwide will install over 150 billion applications alone this year, which require a ton of memory on all of our favorite devices.”
This new 400GB model can hold up to 40 hours of Full HD video and has a transfer speed of up to 100 MBps. That comes out to transferring up to 1,200 photos per minute. The card also meets the A1 App Performance Class specification built by the SD Association to ensure high random performance. The specification insists that products carrying the logo can meet or exceed 1,500 random read IOPS and 500 random write IOPS for quick loading of mobile optimized applications.
SanDisk pairs the new high-capacity, high-performance microSD drive with an updated app called SanDisk Memory Zone, which offers you greater control of your device's storage. The app is currently available on Google Play as a free download.
The new 400GB microSD card costs a bit more. Priced at $250 through major retailers, you'll pay a premium for the best-in-class user capacity.
Western Digital achieved this capacity breakthrough by leveraging its proprietary memory technology and design and production processes that allow for more bits per die.
The obvious question is if Western Digital just released a product with quad-level cell (QLC) memory technology. The press release leads us to believe so. because other companies have hinted that QLC will make an appearance in limited form before the end of the year, and Toshiba demonstrated working QLC at Flash Memory Summit with a massive 768Gbit die capacity.