The SD Association has launched the microSD Express format, bringing extremely fast read speeds of up to 985 MBps to microSD cards — approximately 10 times faster than current high-end cards are capable of.
Like the SD Express format, microSD Express uses the NVMe 1.3 and PCIe 3.1 interfaces that are deployed in PC computers to power high-speed SSD drives. This technology is integrated into the second row of pins on the card. This means microSD Express cards will work at full speed on compatible devices but will also be backward compatible.
The new standard will not only provide much higher transfer speeds but also reduce power consumption compared to regular microSD cards, thanks to support for the low-power sub-states (L1.1 and L1.2) of PCIe v3.1.
High-speed and high-capacity microSD card could be very useful in all sorts of applications, from automotive to mobile, but in the imaging realm might provide most value to video shooters who need the capability to shoot 360-degree and/or Raw footage without being limited by storage.
That said, we are likely still some time away from manufacturers launching any microSD Express cards and compatible devices. In the meantime more information is available in the video above and the official press release on sdcard.org.