Toshiba Memory Corporation, the semiconductor arm of eponymous Toshiba, has announced a new form factor and connector for high-performance removable Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) storage: XFMEXPRESS, hereafter written as XFMExpress.

Looking not a million miles away from an SD Card which has sprouted additional electrical contacts, XFMExpress is designed to offer high-performance, robust, non-volatile storage in a small form factor: 14mm by 18mm and just 1.4mm thick, increasing to 22.2mm by 17.75mm and 2.2mm thickness once you take the host-side connector into account. The on-board storage is based on the Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) 1.3 standard, and connects to the host machine over two or four lanes of PCI Express (PCIe) 3.0 connectivity - offering up to 4GB/s throughput in its initial incarnation, extending up to 8GB/s in a planned PCIe 4.0 variant.

The new form factor isn't just about electrical connectivity, though: Toshiba Memory claims that the design is built for durability, can scale in storage capacity, and offers improved thermal efficiency over its competitors. 'Innovation like this is only made possible by redefining storage technology itself,' crows Jeremy Werner, senior vice president and general manager for the SSD Business Unit of Toshiba Memory America. 'From the PCB design to the connector, no other solution comes close to the combined size, speed, and serviceability of XFMExpress technology. Toshiba Memory is excited to introduce this revolutionary new form factor to the market and enhance next-generation applications.'

Toshiba already has interest from at least two manufacturers looking to commercialise the technology: Japan Aviation Electronics Industry (JAE) has confirmed it is preparing to build XFMExpress support into its future products, while Lenovo vice president Luis Hernandez confirmed that the company is looking to 'develop thinner, smaller, and lighter form factor' devices using XFMExpress.

XFMExpress isn't the first removable memory card standard to link to a host PC over PCIe and NVMe: The rival SD Express standard was announced back in June last year, followed in February this year by the more compact microSD Express, while the CompactFlash Association has its own CFexpress 2.0 standard.

Toshiba has not yet announced commercial availability for XFMExpress devices, but is showcasing it to potential customers at the Flash Memory Summit this week. More details, meanwhile, are available on the official website.


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