Toshiba has announced a new removable NVMe SSD solution for mobile devices that is smaller than a standard SD card, but the speed of PCIe NVMe. The new technology, called “XFMEXPRESS”, opens doors to upgradable storage in mobile devices that normally rely on embedded chipsets that can’t be removed.
By small, I mean 14mm x 18mm x 1.4mm in dimensions. Considering the size of a full SD card (which is 32 x 24 x 2.1-1.4mm), this new form factor is incredibly small. In fact, it weighs in just a bit larger than a microSD card (which is 15 x 11 x 1mm in size).
Everything from smartphones to laptops could make use of such a technology, especially thanks to the never-ending battle to make these devices as thin as possible, while also being powerful enough to keep up with modern demand. Most importantly, it makes it easier to fix or upgrade these devices (capacity-wise) vs having to replace them completely.
The cards can easily be removed or installed via a connector that is similar to installing a CPU into a computer, making it a quick and friendly process. Given, the connector comes as part of a base that is a bit larger and still takes up a bit of space compared to that of an M.2 form factor.
They feature a 4 lane PCIe 3.0, NVMe 1.3 interface and can support data speeds of up to 4GB/s (both read and write). They plan to push this up to 8GB/s in future generation releases, along with larger capacities and support for PCIe 4.0 (which it is already capable of handling).
As of right now, there is no mention of any partnerships with manufacturers yet that could give us an idea of when to expect the new XFMEXPRESS technology to start showing up in devices, if at all. The M.2 form factor isn’t dead and most likely won’t be going away any time soon.