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128GB phone tech is coming, says SanDisk

SanDisk says it is working on storage tech that will enable both 128GB phones and 128GB microSD cards.

Talking to TrustedReviews, SanDisk product marketing manager Ruben Dennenwaldt said that micro-storage capacity of “128GB is certainly something we’re working on”, and that the technology needed to produce 128GB phones will “absolutely” be readily available within the next two years.

Although vague about exactly when the prerequisite tech will arrive, Dennenwaldt says SanDisk is “making very good progress in the next capacity point.”

Full-size 128GB SD cards are already available – Sandisk’s own 128GB Extreme SD card sells for just over £100 – but getting the size down to a level that will fit into microSD cards and today’s slim phones is “a significant challenge.”

Dennenwaldt explains, “for microSD, from a technology perspective, the maximum that can be done at this point is 64GB, purely because of the form factor.”

He added that the miniaturisation of flash storage used in phone memory “is pretty much the same challenge” as squeezing yet more storage into the thumbnail-size microSD form.

SanDisk is commonly regarded simply as a maker of memory cards, but it also produces a significant amount of the NAND flash wafers that go into the storage of phones, tablets and computer SSDs.

Dennenwaldt sees increased internal storage, including to the 128GB level, as “something consumers want, consumers demand.”

He says, “The massive amounts of data being created, people just need higher capacities.”

Will 128GB phones prove popular?
At present, the largest-capacity phones available have 64GB of internal storage – including the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4.

However, there has been limited demand for such high-capacity phones that also have a microSD memory card slot.

For example, UK retailer Clove cancelled plans to stock a 64GB Samsung Galaxy S3 in late 2012 as “the number of pre-orders that we received did not meet the minimum required to bring stock into the UK.”

A company likely to be among the first to successfully pioneer an ultra-high storage phone is Apple – it was also the first to range a 128GB tablet, introducing the 128GB iPad in February 2013.

It has also never offered expandable storage in any of its iOS mobile devices.

The question is whether sufficiently tiny high-capacity storage tech will be ready for the iPhone 5S, due to launch later this year in September.

SanDisk teased that it has a big announcement to unveil on 22 July. Could such super-storage be what they have to show off?

Next, read our Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 comparison feature

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