The terabyte: coming to a smartphone near you.
The more I look at the above photo, the more excited I get, because what it means is less dependence on the cloud and more access to what’s actually yours. We’re talking about phones with more storage… a lot more.
Currently, we’re getting smartphones topping 128GB which is still a lot of memory, but with the increasing need for media consumption, it may soon not be enough for consumers. And many devices don’t offer microSD cards these days, so we gotta stuff more internal memory into our devices. Fortunately, the possibility of a big bump in storage capacity is on the horizon, as a team at Rice University has reached a breakthrough in developing RRAM.
What is RRAM? It stands for Resistive Random Access Memory, and put simply, it’s what allows your phone to store and read data including videos, movies, games, apps, etc. At Rice University, James Tour and his team have been developing RRAM using silicon oxide, which is a widely understood substance. Using silicon oxide makes it much faster, versatile, and overall efficient than flash memory. It’s also easier to manufacture than other versions of RRAM, which, as Tour notes, is important when accounting for industry adoption. “It’s this insatiable desire for memory that’s driving all this,” Tour states, as he and his team work to address the limits of flash memory.
Why is there such a desire for more memory when we have the cloud? Well the cloud is useful for storing data, but it has its limits. A big one is the necessity of WiFi or a network connection to access your data. That’s a big annoyance for me personally, and the people close to me know that I don’t like relying on such services for my content, at least beyond just backing up my data. Especially music, where online streaming services have blown up with the popularity of Spotify and other such applications. Sure they’re nice to have when trying to discover new music, but to use them you have to 1) use data, which 2) uses more battery (another problem entirely that I won’t get into again). I like having my photos and music on board to easy access, and having more memory will definitely help get over the obvious hurdles that users are now facing, such as *cough* not having enough storage to update your iPhone *cough*.
The team at Rice is currently licensing and testing the concept, and they’re shooting for phones with a terabyte of memory… that’s 1,000 gigabytes! It would take about 8 of the highest capacity iPhone 6’s reach that amount. My MacBook Pro has about 1/4 that amount of storage. And while I can barely fill up a 32GB iPod Touch, there are people out there who could really make use out of a terabyte, allowing them to store hundreds of full-length movies.
Now if only our batteries had the capacity to let us watch a full-length movie 😉