Your computer probably doesn’t have more than 8GB RAM, yet your phone could soon overtake this amount. Crazy.
When it comes to buying a new phone or computer, it can be all too easy to confuse the concepts of memory and storage, and even performance and memory.
In the case of the former, memory isn’t storage, though storage can be a type of memory.
Typically, storage is the larger of the two, and where you keep the files you’re going to change yourself or download, such as music, photos, videos, apps, documents, and games. Memory or “Random Access Memory” is a little different, and is used as a way to store files for running apps at the time, allowing the apps to run more efficiently on a computer, tablet, phone, or anything that needs to run a form of an app or operation.
While storage can be a form of memory chip, memory typically comes in smaller quantities than storage because storage is a long-term thing: you’re keeping files on a hard drive or solid-state memory chip even after it’s switched off. With memory, when there’s no power or the device resets, so too does the information contained within.
However memory contributes to performance in a big way, and the more apps and browser tabs you run, the smoother the performance is likely to be on that device. While a fast processor is typically what we expect when we think of speed and performance, more memory can make the difference in a way not everyone realises. It’s why computer professionals have long regarded that if you wanted a little more performance from an upgraded PC or Mac, more memory was a solid way of getting there surprisingly fast.
It’s worth noting, however, that most PCs and Macs tend to top out at 8GB when they’re sold. While some can be upgraded, these days, the slimmer build and profile of the modern laptop makes that upgrade less and less likely.
Overall, 8GB isn’t a bad amount of memory, either, and is typically enough for most people, but if you run a lot of apps and browser tabs, and you’re looking for something to be faster and more capable, you typically want more memory.
Much like how we want more space for those files, more memory is a good thing, too, contributing to performance in a positive way.
The same is true for phones, though device makers have had to contend with getting the size and speed down to a smaller device, and that has taken time. Add to this the cost of memory, and you start to see why the more expensive devices are starting to see more memory overall, such as the 12GB option coming in the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra shortly.
But more will be coming, perhaps signalled by a recent development announced by Samsung this week, as the company announces a 16GB mobile memory package heading to phones in the not-too-distant future.
The support of 16GB mobile memory is not only twice as much as most PC and Mac laptops see, but also fairly fast, sporting higher transfer rates than Samsung’s 8GB memory.
“Samsung has been committed to bringing memory technologies to the cutting edge in allowing consumers to enjoy amazing experiences through their mobile devices,” Cheol Choi, Senior Vice President of Memory Sales and Marketing for Samsung. “We are excited to stay true to that commitment with our new, top-of-the-line mobile solution for global device manufacturers.”
The inclusion of higher memory like the 16GB being talked up here should lead not just to a smoother mobile experience, but also apps delivering that performance and speed across the board.
And in case you were wondering on when you can expect to see the technology, consider that Samsung’s 12GB chips first kicked in around July last year, according to Samsung’s production timeline. A little over six months later, the Galaxy S20 was announced.
Given that timeline, it’s highly possible that we’ll see a staggering 16GB RAM made as an option in a phone set to be announced later this year, with the next model in the Galaxy Note range.
Typically seen as a business-grade phone with a big screen and plenty of performance, it’s not an unreasonable expectation that in a little over six months we’ll see a 16GB Galaxy Note model, too.