On Tuesday, Toshiba America announced that it will release a universal flash storage (UFS) solution in the second quarter this year. Developed with Qualcomm (News - Alert), the UFS 2.0 memory will offer better performance with reduced power consumption in mobile devices that use Snapdragon 805 processors. This technology could also be used in other computing devices, which raises an important question: What effect will solid-state storage have on the future of hard disks?
According to some experts, it won’t have much effect—at least not in the near future. A study by Gartner shows that there is not enough manufacturing capacity for flash drives to meet the demand that hard disk storage currently satisfies. In fact, it’s not even close. Over 66,000 petabytes of hard disk storage were delivered in 2012, compared to just over 1,700 in solid state disks (SSD).
The SSD industry would have to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to build the manufacturing infrastructure needed to match the storage supplied by hard disk manufacturers. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will SSD market domination.
But the benefits of improved flash storage are still undeniable and compelling. Anyone who has a smartphone knows about the energy-zapping potential of GPS navigation and streaming music. Memory like the UFS 2.0 solution jointly developed by Toshiba (News - Alert) and Qualcomm will alleviate those problems.
Once SSD is built on a larger scale it becomes less expensive. It will have huge cost-saving potential in other areas besides price as it replaces disk storage used in enterprise servers.
By its nature, SSDs would save on energy costs, since there are no moving parts. The savings would compound further with increased storage capacity. Not only would there be fewer servers with fewer moving parts, but cumulative software licensing costs charged by the server would also decrease.
The good news is that Toshiba and Qualcomm’s new hardware provide benefits that consumers can enjoy now. Consumers demand more from their electronic devices and it’s nice to see that they won’t be penalized as much in the form of frequent recharging.