New microSD format promises insane transfer speeds, better battery life

Today at MWC Barcelona the SD Association unveiled microSD Express, which will allow future mobile devices to consume and create content at even faster speeds. This new microSD card platform boosts incredible transfer speeds while consuming less energy used by previous formats.

The new format will be available in the flavors of microSDHC Express, microSDXC Express and microSDUC Express.

Like SD Express, microSD Express taps the PCIe interface to hit a maximum data transfer rate of 985 megabytes per second (MB/s). This is possible through the PCIe 3.1 and NVMe v1.3 specifications that live on a second row of pins. The SD Association expects the faster cards to consume less energy than traditional memory cards while still being backward compatible.

The fast data speeds could lead mobile device makers to rethink how they equip devices. Read and write speeds have long been a limiting factor for expandable memory, but with this new format, which is backward compatible, the data transfer happens nearly as quickly as built-in memory. With 5G data and cameras pumping out huge files, expandable memory could make a comeback.