Samsung has just announced a major breakthrough in the development of RAM for mobile devices, and it could make it into the Galaxy S21 due out in the early part of next year faster than any of its contemporaries.
The company says it's begun the mass production (opens in new tab) of its new 10-nanometer 16GB LPDDR5 RAM chips, built using a new technique called extreme ultraviolet technology.
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This process results in components that are 30% thinner than the LPDDR5 modules in modern smartphones, according to Samsung, and 16% faster than the current 12GB chips in the latest devices. That even includes the just-released, $1,299 Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
Samsung says the new technique "overcomes a major development hurdle" in packaging more RAM at ever-smaller sizes in heavily space-constrained devices, like smartphones. Not long ago, 8GB was the standard quantity of RAM in high-end Android products, but some phone makers, like Samsung and OnePlus, have pushed the industry toward adopting 12GB and even 16GB for the most premium models over the past several months.
Of course, the more RAM a device has at its disposal, the more bandwidth it has to handle multiple tasks at one time, including background processes users may not even be aware of. And the faster that memory is, the more readily it's available, in turn allowing the device to dispatch each task more swiftly.
According to Samsung, these new chips are so fast, they can transfer 51GB of data in one second. In addition to the firm's own mobile products, you can expect these chips in devices from rival phone makers as well.
Samsung also says it will bring its LPDDR5 solutions to the automotive realm, which will surely benefit modern cars that rely on fast data transfers for everything from sophisticated infotainment systems to assisted driving tech.
Given that Samsung is a major RAM producer, you can expect this technology to flourish in 2021 and make its way to a number of premium devices. But it'll still likely debut first in the Galaxy S21, as the company typically uses its own hardware to debut innovations that eventually trickle out to the rest of the industry in due time.
And this RAM could make the Galaxy S21 a serious rival to the iPhone 12 expected to arrive this fall. The iPhone 12 will feature a new A14 Bionic processor based on a new 5-nanometer manufacturing process, and it's expected to offer up to 15% faster speeds and 30% better performance.
The iPhone 12 is expected to feature 4GB of RAM and the iPhone 12 Pro models should get 6GB of RAM based on leaks. But up until now the iPhone has outperformed Android phones despite having less RAM. The Galaxy S21 could change that equation.