18
Nov
2011-10-21 17h07_01

So, it turns out that the Galaxy Nexus doesn't support USB mass storage (UMS), which happened to come as a shock to many users. Anyone who owns a XOOM, Nexus S, Galaxy Tab 10.1, or any device lacking a SD Card slot is familiar this setup, though, as all of the aforementioned device work similarly to the Galaxy Nexus - using MTP instead of UMS.

When one Redditor pointed out the fact that the GN doesn't support UMS, Android Engineer Dan Morrill was quick to jump in and explain the details. What resulted was an impromptu Q&A session with Mr. Morrill, who was cool enough to hang out and answer several questions about the GN, UMS, and why Google chose to do things this way.

We took the time to comb through the entire thread and pick out all the relevant questions and responses and aggregated them here.

Let's just start with the opening question that started it all:

Whoa, whoa. ICS doesn't support USB mass storage?

ICS supports USB Mass Storage (UMS). The Galaxy Nexus does not. This is the same scenario as Honeycomb, as for instance HC supports USB Mass Storage while Xoom does not.

If a given device has a removable SD card it will support USB Mass Storage. If it has only built-in storage (like Xoom and Galaxy Nexus) it will (usually) support only MTP and PTP.

It isn't physically possible to support UMS on devices that don't have a dedicated partition for storage (like a removable SD card, or a separate partition like Nexus S.) This is because UMS is a block-level protocol that gives the host PC direct access to the physical blocks on the storage, so that Android cannot have it mounted at the same time.

With the unified storage model we introduced in Honeycomb, we share your full 32GB (or 16GB or whatever) between app data and media data. That is, no more staring sadly at your 5GB free on Nexus S when your internal app data partition has filled up -- it's all one big happy volume.

However the cost is that Android can no longer ever yield up the storage for the host PC to molest directly over USB. Instead we use MTP. On Windows (which the majority of users use), it has built-in MTP support in Explorer that makes it look exactly like a disk. On Linux and Mac it's sadly not as easy, but I have confidence that we'll see some work to make this better.

On the whole it's a much better experience on the phone.

Since the Galaxy Nexus only has internal storage, how will apps like ASTRO File Manager work without requiring root permission?

Magic. ;)

First we designated a particular directory on internal storage as being the "SD card". Then we implemented a FUSE filesystem that does nothing except re-mount that directory as /sdcard, except discarding all permission checking. Except for permissions, the FUSE filesystem is a straight pass-through, so actual files get read from and written to the directory.

IOW we use a "fake" proxy FUSE filesystem to remount a specific directory to pretend to be an SD card. This is totally transparent to apps, they can't tell they aren't talking directly to a disk.

Wouldn't remounting /sdcard and discarding all permission checking mean that all apps have access to all other app data on the SD card? (I'm probably missing here)

Yes. That is essentially the definition of /sdcard (or as it's called in the API, the "external storage directory".) FAT32 does not support permissions, which was fine since the SD card was originally a free-for-all shared space where any app could access or stomp all over another app's data. It was intended for media like music and photos, not private app data, which lived in app-private internal storage with enforced permissions.

On devices without SD card, the only physical filesystem is internal app-private. So we pick one directory to be the designated free-for-all, and then mount it as a separate FUSE filesystem that declines to enforce permissions, in the same way that they were no-ops on FAT32.

    This, along with the lack of an external SD slot in the Galaxy Nexus, frees up Google to use whatever the hell filesystem they want, rather than being stuck with FAT32.

    Actual functional filesystems for grown ups are a hairy topic if you want to be cross-platform. NTFS is Windows only, ext4 is Linux only, HFS+ is Mac only, exFAT excludes Linux, etc.

    This is true, but this isn't why we did it. We didn't do this because we wanted to use ext3 (although that is a side benefit.) We did it because we wanted to be able to merge the "public shared storage" (i.e. for music and photos) with the internal private app storage.

    We got tired of seeing OEMs include many GB of internal storage for music, while users were still running out of space for apps and data. This approach lets us merge everything on one volume, which is way better.

    I understand this is a benefit, but how much space does a Micro-SD card slot take? I don't see why we can't have both.

    There's no particular hardware reason a device can't have both. The problem is that there is no good UI for it.

    One of the core Android principles is that you never need a file manager. Ever. We wanted to avoid the obnoxious "sneeze and a file picker appears" syndrome of basically every other OS. Local data that apps know how to handle should just be magically available within the apps, or stored in the cloud. You shouldn't have to go spelunking on your SD card to find data.

    The problem with having both internal storage and SD cards is that suddenly that goal gets a whole lot harder to achieve. For a given shot, should the camera save to internal-16GB, or to SD card? Should an app from Market be installed to internal or SD? etc.

    Yes, we can solve this by letting the user choose, or have it be in settings. But then, that's a file picker, or close enough to the file picker experience that we dislike it just as much.

    And besides that, there are API consequences: if you stick in an SD card with photos on it, do you add those to the system media content provider? If you do, you will screw up apps because they aren't designed with the concept that photos can come and go.

    What we will probably do eventually is add an import/export concept to removable storage. So the Camera will always save to internal-16GB, and when you pop in an SD card (or insert a thumb drive on USB host devices) you can start a migration or import/export dialog.

    But until we have that, devices will generally either have an SD card, or a large internal storage, but not both. I totally get that a lot of people like SD cards, and I miss USB Mass Storage myself. But then, that's why it's great that there are so many devices to choose from. :)

    tl;dr: it's a can of worms. We're thinking about compromises for future versions.

    After this, the conversation took on a life of its own, with other Reddit users expanding the discussion much deeper. If you want to check out the conversation in its entirety, head right here.

    One more tidbit came out of the thread that I found particularly cool (but had no relevance to the above Q&A), so I'll just drop it right here at the end.

    Very cool, seriously keep up the great work you guys are doing.

    Thanks. :) Motivation is easy to come by when people love your work.

    And that's what it's all about.

    [via Reddit]

    Cameron Summerson
    Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

    • mike

      "Anyone who owns a XOOM, Nexus S, Galaxy Tab 10.1, or any other device lacking a SD Card slot is familiar this setup"

      The XOOM has a micro SD card slot...

      • Cameron Summerson

        Wrong wording on my part. Fixed.

    • Jeremy

      Oddly, the bit about magically not needing to locate files sounds like iPhone...

      • GergS

        As long as they allow file explorers for us power users who want them, I'm fine with the design principle of not needing them.

        I however like reading PDF/etc when I want.

      • Lamdroid

        my sentiments as well, it's starting to sound like a locked down proprietary format that you would have to jump through hoops to convert in and out of storage onto PC.

        would this be a MS patent issue?

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      While I appreciate that they've done it to simplify certain things and make them more flexible, losing UMS and gaining MTP is less than ideal - I use Total Commander, which doesn't see MTP, not without a plugin anyway. And for Linux users, MTP doesn't work.

      • Jake

        Use PTP on linux

      • Danny

        Maybe it's time for Linux to start supporting standards, then?

        • http://www.twitter.com/teamROU Phil Oakley

          I just use SwiFTP on Linux. So much easier. Everything is wireless. Press start, go into bookmarks, look for the device in question, click it, it connects, transfer files over, done.

          But I am annoyed to see to UMS support in the Galaxy Nexus.

        • http://cafe-ti.blog.br Alroger Jr

          :-) Linux only supports standards.

        • JAlexoid

          WTF areyou talking about? MTP is fully supported in Linux. That's how I sync my old Samsung MP3 player - Rhythmbox just knows it's MTP.

      • Lamdroid

        and agreed as well.
        I am defintiely in support for a streamlined experience, especially for laymen intuitive use from the non technical crowd, but there's no need to wall off those who find the option of SD to be more practical, more effective, and more convenient.

        anyone who goes into settings to enable SD as the default storage is obviously and preferably a "file picker" by choice. Anyone who's not a "file picker" most likely would never discover that the option is even there to adjust settings defaulting to SD, much less even know there's an option for an extra SD card.

        Im having this issue on my D3 where they partitioned the internal and labeled the partition "SDCARD", and where the REAL Sd card is labelled "SDCARD-ext". This has become a big issue because I WANT all my data on my REMOVABLE SD so that I can remove my data in case the phone itself FUBARs or when I swap during a device upgrade. Or simply, I want to put files to be portable on my phone (not pr0n, ..most of the time) w/o needing a USB connection.

        Adding and refining features are great, but why take away features that are still highly valued?

    • Kevin

      "That is, no more staring sadly at your 5GB free on Nexus S when your internal app data partition has filled up -- it's all one big happy volume."

      So does that mean that when my Nexus S get the ICS update the whole shebang will be merged into "one big happy volume"?

      If so -- hurry up with that upgrade, please! :)

      • Ryuuie

        That's what I'm wondering too. Will the ICS update for the Nexus S unpartition it so that it's like the Galaxy Nexus and Xoom at least in the sense that it's unpartitioned?

        However, ICS does seem to support partitions so maybe they'll make it so that GN / XOOM are the standard new way to develop but for phones with the SD card (or that are partitioned), the Nexus S is left the way it is.

      • preston

        I don't think over the air updates have the ability to re-partition the memory.

        Unofficial ROMs will be able to do it though, so if you really want one big partition it should be available.

    • Steve

      The whole thing sounds like he was making excuses as to why the Nexus doesn't have a SD card slot, as opposed to actual, technical reasons.
      "The problem is that there is no good UI for it." We've been using SD cards for a while now, so what if they don't think there's a "good UI"?
      "you will screw up apps because they aren't designed with the concept that photos can come and go." So ICS doesn't support deleting files now? If it does, you just invalidated your statement.

      Without including more integrated cloud functionality, you hamstring'd the device for owners who like to have a large amount of media on their device, and cannot be dependent on the ability to stream off 4G/WiFi. I'll still probably get one (yes, I am a consumer whore), but it was still a crap move.

      • semper09

        No, you got it wrong. With Gingerbread, the SD card was the default. It was a part of the Android experience. But it had the disadvantage that part of the storage used a different partition with a different file system. With HC and ICS they moved everything (such as the pictures folder) over to the internal storage, which means it is on the default file system, ext3, together with everything else as part of a shared storage. If you mount an additional sd card, there would be two places to potentially store photos and the like: the sd card and the unified storage. They can't just map them together because they use completely different file systems. And Fat32 btw is completely sub standard today: It is slow and everything is readable for every process, because there is no rights management. That's what he is talking about.

        • Steve

          I understand they can't be merged into one large location...but who cares? As long as they allow for easy to understand names or the ability to rename them, instead of, for instance, sdcard and sdcard2 (since it can be confusing for some users as to which is which), then have two different storage locations. The more the merrier! Well, not really...just 2 locations, please.

          • https://sites.google.com/site/neotechni/ Techni

            They can be merged into one location though. But they dont need to be. My Galaxy Tab shows up as 2 drives, one being the internal flash, the other the SD card. And if I navigate to the SDCard directory in the first drive I am now in the second drive. So it does it both ways.

    • Gordon

      1. maybe it's also FASTER and MORE SECURE?
      2. i was confused on MTP -
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_Transfer_Protocol

    • Steven Pickle

      Just one more reason I'm glad I bought the sgsII. This new nexus is looking less appealing every day.

      • BobbyPhoenix

        +1 I did the same, and think the same. As far as hardware goes the GN looks like a dumb downed version of GSII. Just my opinion, but I like to have ALL options available, and choose not to use them, instead of being told what to use. Give me ICS, and be done with you.

        • Chris

          This news actually made me feel better about the GN. They have a good reason for taking away the SD card that makes sense. The performance will certainly be MUCH better without using the SD card and they way it worked never made good sense to me. I'm a 20+ year UNIX/Linux guy and they way they handled the SD card just didn't make good sense to me.

          Sure I loved having the external SD card in case I wanted to change it, but you know I've never changed one or even pulled it out.

          Putting all the storage space in one partition like they described will solve a lot of problem people have with running out of space.

          My only concern is that I still want 32GB of storage and without the SD card slot we don't have any control over how much storage we can have. We have to hope that the manufacturers will make phones with plenty of storage space. Their track record of putting enough RAM in the phones isn't very good so far, but they are finally up to putting 1GB in there for the most part.

          So now I'm really looking forward to the GN. Had they left the partitioning the way they normally do phones and taken away the SD card that would have made this phone crap. But they didn't. So if I were you I would hold judgment until we can see how the phone is actually partitioned. If it is as it was talked about it will be a great and welcome change in how the phones storage is configured.

    • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com PixelSlave

      Yesterday, I realized that with the face unlock feature in ICS, it's actually not a bad idea not having a SD card. Imagine you lost your phone and your SD card is full of your photos. Now, anyone who know how to take your SD Card out can print out your photo and unlock the phone.

      • Tkun

        I don't get what you're trying to say. Even though the Galaxy Nexus currently lacks an SD card slot, couldn't they just connect the phone up to a computer to access the photos?

        • Ryuuie

          If they're running a Windows machine with Windows Vista or Windows 7, yes they can.

          The computer will just see it as a device with space and not a drive, that's all.

          If they're running Windows XP or below, a Mac, or Linux, they won't be able to.

          • NYC_Dude

            Yes, i would be able to see the contents of the lost/stolen Nexus on my Mac either using an FTP app like SwiFTP and Transmit or firing up Windows on my Mac via VMWare Fusion or Parallels or ExtFS for Mac.

            Plus you do know that Paragon Software makes NTFS for Mac and ExtFS (Ext2/Ext3/Ext4) apps for Mac?

        • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com PixelSlave

          Well, I am not sure, to be honest. My current phone is an OG Droid and has a SD card. In order to mount the SD card, I have to unlock my phone, then click a "Turn on USB storage" button first. Since the Galaxy Nexus only support MTP, I am not sure if this step is also required. If yes, then, people cannot just hook up your phone to their computer to see your photos. If no, then it's a different situation.

      • Lamdroid

        Or imagine you need to bring in your device for support, and b/c your device is beyond your abilities to turn on for data extraction you need tech support to do it for you...

        ...now human as they are, they are now peering over all your photos and videos, and can easily make a copy for themselves.

        I take it you havent heard many bestbuy stories of the techbench grinning & wiinking at women assuring them "ALL of their data is backed up" b/c they saw all their naughty photos, and likely made a copy of the ones they like. or sites like Hotandroidiphonebabes , or girlfriendrevenge.com or w/e they may be where users can upload photos and videos to a public website.

    • RBI411

      I'm not really as clever on this as most people, but is this why the Xoom doesn't have read/write capabilities for the microSD card?

      • Martin

        No, it is because you do not have 3.2 yet. With 3.2 the XOOM can read the sd card.

        • RBI411

          I have 3.2 and I know I can read, but unless its read/write it really doesn't do what I want it to do. I'd love to move some apps to my SD card.

    • Edd

      I liked his reasonings, but I'm still very much of the school of thought that "no SD card, no buy". One of my favourite features of a smart phone is using it as a dumb USB key, and I do not care for Cloud concepts.

      I don't see why they can't unify the file-system as explained, so that apps/camera don't get confused etc, and still throw in the additional storage SD card on top.

    • zyphbear

      I'm actually glad that this was revealed, in the end there will be a way to get the data accessible from any computer or device (if needed, just like on iDevices), but in the mean time, I won't have the issue that I get teased by my friends who have iDevices and they get to share all their space for the apps and media, so they can have a 50MB game with no issue except drop an album of music, but my old device (it happens to be a MyTouch3GSlide, but I will be switching to V with the GN), only has about 130MB of total app storage, and that even counts system apps like Maps that update and take away storage space from being able to have stuff I really want to have installed. I'm glad they went this way, I do agree that it could have been done differently, but merged storage should be the ultimate goal, leave nothing to waste.

    • http://www.pretentiousname.com Leo Davidson

      "Anyone who owns a XOOM, Nexus S, Galaxy Tab 10.1, or any device lacking a SD Card slot is familiar this setup, though, as all of the aforementioned device work similarly to the Galaxy Nexus - using MTP instead of UMS."

      That is incorrect, at least in the Nexus S case with Gingerbread.

      (It may change after being flashed to ICS, but that's yet to be seen.)

      The Nexus S mounts its internal storage as a standard UMS drive-letter when connected to Windows via a USB cable. It is not using MTP.

      (I have a Nexus S.)

      Personally, whatever the supposed pros of MTP, I think the switch to MTP from UMS is a real shame.

      If devices mount via UMS then you can access them using whatever software you want, as it's just another drive with normal files and folders on it.

      On the other hand, MTP can only be accessed via a handful of programs and is fairly restrictive in what it can do.

      • http://common-sense.com Common Sense

        There is no switch. UMS is still supported in ICS, when theres an SD slot. There's no SD slot here, so its impossible to have UMS.

        The GN doesnt have an SD slot, if thats a deal breaker for you, buy another ICS phone that has one, this isnt iOS, you have dozens of choices.

    • fabio

      What does "tl;dr: it's a can of worms. We're thinking about compromises for future versions." means?
      Are they planning to release a Galaxy Nexus with the microsd card slot?

      • semper09

        He means that post ICS versions of Android might have improved support of sd cards, for example the import mechanism he mentions.

    • Dennis F. Heffernan

      I just had to install a file manager and go spelunking over my Atrix to figure out where the heck Google Music was putting my offline tracks. Turns out they go in the internal memory and you can't change that, which I don't like.No, "in the cloud" doesn't help me. I have a low-end data plan; I can't afford to steam my music all the time. I put an SD card in this thing for a reason.

    • Code538

      Ok so no USB Mass Storage on the Galaxy Nexus. How am I supposed to transfer all my favorite music, photos, and videos from my Apple Macbook to the Galaxy Nexus? Or do I have to just buy a Motorola RAZR?

      • Steve

        It just means you can't plug in a USB drive directly to the device, you can copy files to the Nexus from your PC still.

        • Code538

          Steve: So you're saying I can still plug in the Galaxy Nexus to my Apple MacBook and transfer music, photos, and videos via USB cable? I thought this article was about how the Galaxy Nexus doesn't support that function and uses MTP instead of UMS.

          • critter42

            There's a difference between the GN recognizing external storage like an external hard drive or SD Card - which is what is being discusssed - and BEING recognized as a mass storage device by another OS. Two different things.

    • http://cafe-ti.blog.br Alroger Jr

      Ohhh man. The first thing people ask when I show off my Galaxy Tab is that if I can read a pen drive, second thing is if I can read a camera (UMS).

      Say NO to "importing magic" and yes to File Manager! :-P

    • Martin

      Only the filemanger free design does not work. I for once have the 200+ cover arts from my eBooks in the galery. That is 200+ folder with one cover art each. Rendering the galery app completely useless.

      Yes I know of .nomedia. Somehow it does not work.

      A total desaster.

    • wolverineguy55

      I have a major issue with this article. The XOOM does have an SD card slot. I know it didn't work when it shipped, but I thought 3.2 enabled the SD Card slot.

    • Alex

      Ok so what does MTP mean, can i still connect my phone to the computer and put stuff on it? If not how would I do so?

      • Code538

        Exactly what I want to know plain and simple. In my case it's transfering files between my Apple MacBook and the Galaxy Nexus.

        Keyword is: Apple Computer

      • Phil

        I have a Galaxy 10.1 which uses MTP. I plug it into my computer via USB connection. It shows up under "My Computer" as a new media drive. I drag and drop files/folders business as usual. No different than if I was adding files or folders to my HTC Thunderbolt or Rezound.

      • Martin
    • Freak4Dell

      I don't understand why they can't just more tightly define what can and can't go on the SD card. If they're so worried about the camera being confused, just make the camera not able to write to the internal memory. Most digital cameras have a very small amount of internal memory, and they'll give an error if there's already 3 or 4 pictures on there that have filled up the memory. Why can't they make it like that, except trick the camera into thinking there is no memory at all when there's no SD card mounted, so it will just throw up a reminder until the user puts in a memory card. Every phone comes with a memory card these days, so it's not like the user has a very good excuse for not having one.

      Of course, having all media restricted to the SD card might bring up issues with things like ringtones, but they could do something where the phone automatically copies a file to a folder on internal storage if the user sets it as a notification tone, or wallpaper, or whatever.

      Maybe I'm missing something, because I'll admit my computer knowledge isn't as high as it should be.

      • Phil

        Here's an example of what confusion he might be referencing. Most of the new Motorola devices(in my case, I had a Bionic) have an internal storage for apps, internal storage for media, and microSD slot. The internal storage is labelled "sdcard" and the microSD is labelled "sdcard-ext." The OS and apps by default are looking for the file "sdcard" to store their data, so while the user might think he is actually saving his photos/data to his external SD card, he might actually being saving them to the internal storage.

        P.S. most phones that are set up with microSD card storage only in mind will refuse to run the camera app without one.

        • Freak4Dell

          Yeah, I can totally understand that confusion. I've never understood why they did that, and they really need to stop doing that, but then I guess people would get apps that don't work because the developer hasn't updated it with the correct folder name.

          As much as I love Google and Android, it seems they could have done things a bit better in some areas.

    • Nexuz-Uno

      So how do I move stuff from my Mac to my (future) Galaxy Nexus?

      • Martin
        • Code538

          Aaah. Hopefully the android file transfer app works with the Galaxy Nexus and a MacBook... thank you Martin

      • Code538

        Thank you Alex. IDK what that transfer up to 4GB means. I hope I can transfer more than that with Android File Transfer app. I need to move up to 16GB from my SD card to the Galaxy Nexus via MacBook.

        • Someone

          FAT32 has a size restriction of 4GB, which means you can't copy files larger than 4GB under UMS.

          • Code538

            Ah ha! Got it! Thank you Someone!! Seems I'm good to go with getting a Galaxy Nexus whenever it's released.

    • Sometimes specs mean nothing

      While his excuses were lame it did at least give me more understanding of the ridiculous file system and structure that they use. Trying to use a tablet (ASUS Transformer) as a proper PC replacement has been a nightmare for this and many other reasons.

    • Simon Belmont

      So, I get that phones with no SD card slot running ICS will have a unified partition now so that apps can have the entire space to be installed. My question is, when a phone that is running ICS has an SD card, is the situation that Android 2.3 and below uses going to continue to be in effect?

      By that, I mean, will there continue to be a limited amount of storage in internal memory, that can be partially augmented by moving apps (that allow it) to the SD card? Another question, since all apps are in "/sdcard" in the internal memory on an ICS phone with no SD card, does that mean they lose that sandboxed safety because the permission checking for the unified storage partition is now gone?

      • Ryuuie

        According to Adam Powell who works at Google, yes. They will still continue to function as it did with Android 2.3.
        At least the Nexus S will, as to repartition would mean to completely wipe the data of the phone and change it from UMS to MTP.
        Google doesn't want to do that for the Nexus S because they'd rather people just use the phone as it was when they bought it rather than have to redo everything all over again.

    • tokcho

      So if a port was installed on an older device like the Desire, which has a tiny amount for applications by default, would that mean there would actually be more space for applications now?

    • Matt

      Is it possible to transfer non-media files like PDFs or other random files using MTP?

    • https://sites.google.com/site/neotechni/ Techni

      Please don't switch to MTP, one of the extremely useful things I love about Android is being able to use it as a USB harddrive. When I got to my girlfriend's place I can plug it into the TV and just play an AVI right off of it. My device doesn't support TV out and the TV doesnt support wifi+DNLA

    • pjcamp

      Dan Morrill is wrong. What he wants is for us to use apps to manage everything and keep all data in the cloud. I absolutely HATE the iTunes-like "let me manage your media files for you" apps. They always get it wrong, it is a pain to manually change the decisions they make, and I don't need any damn playlists or anything like that. I want to put files in a folder and play them in order out of that folder, whether they be mp3s or photos or whatever. This is why I use MortPlayer for audio. A file picker is EXACTLY what I want because I always know what I want to do and the app never does and gets in my way. In his book The Design of Everyday Things, UI guru Don Norman points out that because of its innate flexibility, the device should always adapt itself to the way the user works, not force the user to adapt to the way the devices wants to be worked. Apple lost sight of this principle a long time ago and now it seems so has Google. What Mr. Morrill views as "easy" and "simple," I view as stiff, inflexible, and not easy at all. Stop telling me what I should do and just give me the tools to do what I want to do.

      • https://sites.google.com/site/neotechni/ Techni

        Agreed. I love how PSP/my Android device let me put music wherever I want

      • John Juann

        Thank goodness "pjcamp"- someone else with my view! I use Mort Player and play by folder as well and this lack of USB mass storage... - driving me crazy on the GNex, I had a Galaxy II, ET4G on Sprint as a trial but the network was so slow I had to return it - now I'm stuck with all that VZW will offer - the GNex and the camera is awful, speaker very weak, and I could b4 copy GB's of mp3's in no time - now for some reason transferring files is super slow over MTP (win7 x64) with the GNex , also though the display isn't hi-rez on the GS2, it's enough for me and looks MUCH better than the GNex in my opinion - I have them next to each other - plus witht the virtual buttons and google search bar at the top of ALL screens - i have much more usable room on the GS2 - if only VZW offered the GS2 or Sprint had a decent network here!
        This is driving me NUTS (the speaker is so weak on the GNex for videos, podcasts!!!!) - just too many negatives!!!!! (don't forget the ET4G was $100 less!). I can live w/o LTE, just give me 1,500 kbps 3G. FRUSTRATING. I even enjoy my original Droid more so far than the GNex.
        Bought my wife a Razr and I'm liking it - the screen size is NEAR the same as the GNex overall (real world use) and it looks much better (darker blacks) and the speaker is loud. ....

        • Gary

          Darker Blacks....really? You realize the screen tech in the Razr cannot display true black?

          • lukemcd

            Umm RAZR is using AMOLED too... And I'm pretty sure they did a better job implementing it (besides the lower resolution) than Samsung, hence Samsung's work on the tech for its GSIII release.

      • Uriel Cordova

        that's how i like to play my music too by folder not by play list album artist or any other shit!

    • Jeff

      Sounds like they are making it worse. HC3.2 has a button right on the camera app that lets you pick save to SD or internal. How simple is that? Why change it?

      We want the choice, no import/export just file managers.

      We want to move our apps to SD (our choice), even on HC 3.2 (so fix it) and with ICS.

      Otherwise we would want an apple product, right?

    • http://abe-sanchez.com Abe Sanchez

      My palm pre plus doesn't have a SD card and right when I plug it in: USB mode or just charge. Why is it soooo hard if Palm did it like 4-5 years ago. R.I.P webOS...

    • http://abe-sanchez.com Abe Sanchez

      My palm pre plus doesn't have a SD card and right when I plug it in: USB mode or just charge. Why is it soooo hard if Palm did it like 4-5 years ago. R.I.P webOS.

    • http://abe-sanchez.com Abe Sanchez

      My palm pre doesn't have a SD card and right when I plug it in: USB mode or just charge. Why is it soooo hard if Palm did it like 4-5 years ago. R.I.P webOS.

    • http://abe-sanchez.com Abe Sanchez

      My palm pre doesn't have a SD card and when I plug it in: USB mode or just charge. Why is it soooo hard if Palm did it like 4-5 years ago. R.I.P webOS.

    • http://abe-sanchez.com Abe Sanchez

      My palm pre doesn't have a SD card and when I plug it in: USB mode or just charge. Why is it soooo hard if Palm did it like 4-5 years ago.

    • http://abe-sanchez.com Abe Sanchez

      My palm pre doesn't have a SD card and when I plug it in: USB mode or just charge. Why is it soooo hard if Palm did it like 5 years ago.

    • http://abe-sanchez.com Abe Sanchez

      My palm pre doesn't have a SD card and when I plug it in: USB mode or just charge. Why is it so
      hard if Palm did it like 5 years ago.

    • http://abe-sanchez.com Abe Sanchez

      My palm pre doesn't have a SD card and when I plug it in, USB mode or just charge. Why is it so
      hard if Palm did it like 5 years ago.

    • Bob Someguy

      I was about to say then Picasa desktop needs to be able to access photos using MTP or PTP, but apparently while I wasn't looking they added that support for the Nexus.

    • http://profiles.google.com/mdgiovinazzo Mike G

      "devices will generally either have an SD card, or a large internal storage, but not both"

      Oh, I guess the Nexus 7 has neither then. 16 GB of storage is cool if you like to be reminded about how the year 2000 feels.

    • xmichaelx

      "One of the core Android principles is that you never need a file manager. Ever."
      The whole reason I use Android over iOS is that file management is easy and flexible. Take away my file manager, and I'm left with iOS.

    • MisterPistOff

      This is bullshit. they dont want the sneeze and a file picker will appear method?? we use that for everything. i dont even set app defaults. i use the . this is google pulling an apple move assuming users are stupid. we are smart enough to save on sd or save on internal. its our choice. thats been the whole google experience. for power users. fuckin sellout pieces of shit

    • MisterPistOff

      My note 2 has sd card slot. ive never been asked by an app or play store to install apps on sd card or ext sd card. it installs the apps and ive set my pics to save to sd card. by default for dumb users, it saves to phone. cmon now its not that complicated google

    • MisterPistOff

      or give us 64gb+. this 8gb crap aint cuttin it. i have my music on google music and thats about 4gb of data streamed a month. imagine me with a nexus id use all my data on this cloud bullshit.

    • James LaBarre

      Removable memory is a non-negotiable requirement, If they are unwilling or incapable of providing it, then they will make NO sale. End of discussion.

    • Marx Marvelous

      And then UMS was completely removed in Jelly Bean for all phones, SD card slot or not. What is his BS excuse now?

    • George

      Hey Google, give us more than 32GB on our phones that are supposedly able to allow us to consume HD content, over a plan that charges up the ass for more than 4GB a month, and maybe I will consider buying your non-SD phones.
      Hell, I'm one of the lucky few that has an unlimited data account with verizon but even verizon's 4G network is not consistent enough for satisfying media streaming. Cloud technology is not at the point yet where we do not need to rely on carrying media around with us. I will never even consider buying a device that doesn't have at least 64GB of storage, preferably 128GB+.