The term eMMC is short for "embedded Multi-Media Card" and refers to a package consisting of both flash memory and a flash memory controller integrated on the same silicon die. The eMMC solution consists of at least three components - the MMC (multimedia card) interface, the flash memory, and the flash memory controller - and is offered in an industry-standard BGA (Ball Grid Array) package.
Today’s mainstream embedded applications such as digital cameras, smart phones, and tablets almost always store their content on flash memory. In the past, this required a dedicated controller to manage the reading and writing of data, driven by the application CPU. However, as semiconductor technology has evolved to allow vastly increased storage density, it has become inefficient for the controller to manage these functions from outside the flash memory die. Hence, eMMC was developed as a standardized method for bundling the controller into the flash die.
As eMMC improved over time, the standard also provisioned for features such as secure erase and trim and high-priority interrupt to meet the demand for high performance and security. So while the eMMC standard was created to improve data rates and throughputs for high-density chips designed to store high-resolution video, newer generations are doing more for more applications, and each generation of the standard included additional features for a richer end-user experience.
The latest version of the eMMC standard (JESD84-B51) by JEDEC is version 5.1A released January 2019. eMMC 5.1 can achieve data transfer rates up to 400MB/sec.
In today’s high-end applications, most of the focus is now on UFS (Universal Flash Storage) development. UFS is being used in higher performance environments across multiple device types, and can currently achieve data transfer rates up to (per Samsung)
eMMC is suitable for applications such as portable consumer electronic products like mainstream smartphones, tablets, and digital cameras. eMMC is also seeing extensive use in automotive applications, due to the need for local storage in support of Navigation, Infotainment and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). There are also several Industrial applications where eMMC is highly useful, such as Medical devices, factory automation functions, surveillance devices and test instruments.
The eMMC architecture integrating the flash memory controller in the same package simplifies the application interface design and frees the host processor from low-level flash memory management. Secondly, eMMC eliminates the need to develop interface software for all types of NAND memory by integrating the embedded controller into the memory chip and providing an easy-to-use memory solutions package for high-speed data transmissions by devices, such as mobile phones, tablets and other electronics and systems that require storage in confined spaces.
Centon Electronics is a leading manufacturer of DRAM and Flash-based products for consumer, business and system builders. Centon is headquartered in Aliso Viejo, California.