Flash Memory and Society

1: Flash Memory is Used All Around Us

Smartphones are now one of the closest things to us. Smartphones are phones, but also has many functions. We can take photos and videos, check maps and locations, listen to music, play games, and many other things. But what inside this little smartphone makes it all possible? Let’s take a look.

First, right under the touch screen, there is a camera and a speaker for phone calls, and then there is a small, thin logic board.

Figure 1. The inside of a smartphone

Figure 1. The inside of a smartphone

Flash memory for storing data is embedded on this logic board. The flash memory allows us to save videos and photos, carry lots of music, and download apps.

30 years ago, there were no smartphones or high capacity flash memory. If we needed to make a call, we had to memorize the number or lookup an address book. When taking pictures, we used a camera with a physical film, and the image was created on the exposed film. Only 36 photos could be captured on a film, and we couldn’t review or delete the photos on the spot.
Music was stored and played back using cassette tapes, and each cassette tape only held up to 150 minutes. Playing back the cassette tapes over and over caused wear, resulting in deterioration of the sound quality.

Flash memory is a technology that stores data in a tiny chip. This enables us to carry around all our information in a single smartphone device instead of having to use large amounts of memos, film, cassette tapes, and so on. Smartphones are used all around the world, and KIOXIA’s flash memory plays an active role in this.

2: A Modern Life Supported by Flash Memory

Flash memory is able to store significant amounts of data, and is used in various devices including computers, video game consoles, TVs, digital cameras, home appliances, and car navigation systems.

Before flash memory was developed, there was no easy-to-use memory that could easily read and rewrite data, and keep the data stored even when the power was turned off.
Our lives started to change after the world’s first flash memory was created in 1987 at Toshiba Lab *.

Also, as exemplified by the evolution of smartphones, the capacity of flash memory has grown steadily. While early smartphones had only a few gigabytes of storage, the current ones have tens of times more capacity.


* Toshiba Memory became independent of Toshiba in 2017, changing its name to KIOXIA in 2019.

3: The Future Enabled by Flash Memory

Flash memory has played an important role in supporting our modern life, and it will keep playing an active role into the future.

Cleaning robots and smart speakers will become equipped with AI to make our lives even more convenient.

Smart watches automatically capture the biometric data of the user and environmental data, and require a high capacity storage to carry a large amount of data on each device. But at the same time, they are expected to become smaller to make them more comfortable to wear.

In the automotive field, there have been significant technology developments for realizing autonomous driving. In addition to AI, autonomous vehicles will utilize cameras that constantly detect nearby cars and pedestrians, position information acquired from satellite positioning systems, proposals for comfortable and efficient trips tailored to specific users, and more. The amount of data for autonomous driving is on a whole different level.

And there are data centers. Smartphones, computers, smart watches, or automobiles won’t carry all the information. They are all connected to data centers somewhere in the world through the Internet. Flash memory also plays an active role in storing data at data centers.

In the future, the speed at which data is produced will become faster, and the amount of data will continue to grow. The importance of flash memory for storing such data will keep increasing.


Original planning and writing: Leave a Nest Co., Ltd.
Original text and visuals: Leave a Nest Co., Ltd.

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