30
Oct
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The lack of expandable storage in Nexus devices becomes one of the hottest and most controversial topics every time Google does a refresh and we find out that the next generation lacks SD cards entirely yet again. Couple that with the decision to limit onboard storage options to 16GB max, which is the case with the Nexus 4 at the moment and was the case with the Nexus 7 for a while, and you've got a full-blown revolt.

You may have read one explanation of Google's aversion to SD cards, which was brought up by Android engineer Dan Morrill last year: it's confusing to users to have multiple storage points, the insecure "free-for-all" area was not meant for private app data but rather for media, and essentially SD cards are the sources of all evil. Google's chief of Android user experience Matias Duarte reiterated the same points today. Whether you think the reasons are legitimate or bogus (in consumers' eyes), this is Google's stance on the matter.

Now, with Android 4.2, there's yet another reason, one I hadn't thought of before, but one that makes sense - multiuser support. It's already relevant for the Nexus 10. At the moment, the Nexus 4 still lacks multiuser capabilities - some say due to a possible patent issue - but when Google (or enterprising hackers in the first few hours of 4.2 release) is ready to turn them on, it will become relevant.

There are two separate parts here, actually:

  1. The lack of proper filesystem permissions. Because SD cards are generally formatted using the FAT file system due to high compatibility with multiple operating systems, they lack the concept of file ownership entirely. If Google wants to be taken seriously when it comes to security, there should be no weak links like that. Imagine a modern PC where an unprivileged user could access every file in the file system - sounds pretty crazy when you think of it that way.
  2. Adding the complexity of multiple users to something as portable as an SD card would undoubtedly create an array of problems. What happens when two users are using the same app that stores some of its data on the SD card? What happens when you move your SD card to another device with a different multiuser configuration (or lack of the concept of users entirely)?

Up until now Android didn't have a concept of multiple users. Think back to Windows 98 that had a single My Documents directory and proper multiuser support only arriving with Windows 2000 and its Documents and Settings folder. I could draw so many parallels here.

The key point remains that unlike the migration path between Windows 98 to 2000 and having an internal hard drive vs an easily removable SD card, there is a certain expectation Android users have - seamless OTA updates and backwards compatibility. The /sdcard partition and paths on it have been mistreated so much in the past few years (just look at your card and see how many apps don't store data according to guidelines). If Google were to resolve the path issue and repartition the card upon upgrade to something like /sdcard/user1, /sdcard/user2, etc, it would suddenly become incompatible with other devices. Plus there's still no proper permission support.

It's kind of a mess.

And I don't even want to think of the ways other manufacturers are going to try to handle multiuser support. Google chose a simple path for its own devices. Now what happens when an OEM decides it wants to stick in an SD card slot and enable multiple users? Ugly hacks come to mind, and if there's one thing I hate as a programmer, it's ugly hacks.

Here is my take on the whole situation:

  1. Google needs to start offering more storage options. Not everyone is a power user, but we do exist, and we want our space. I, for one, am out of space with 64GB. I don't want to be. I will pay more to have more storage, but I can't. A few large games and apps, some music, a bunch of nandroid backups, some videos - hey, look, I'm already out.
  2. Google needs to solve the SD card situation properly so that both Nexus and non-Nexus devices can easily utilize them. Dan Morrill said Google would like to do it right, but I'm not sure they want to badly enough. SD storage is cheap. I want to use it. I want to have an option to use it. I want to have an option to pop up an SD card and move it elsewhere, whether just migrating devices or trying to rescue files off a phone that no longer powers on after taking a dive into my dog's water bowl.

In conclusion, let me quote chief Android framework engineer, walking Android encyclopedia, and fearless feline leader Dianne Hackborn who dropped some wisdom yesterday on G+ and put these thoughts in my head in the first place:

Robert Mahon: Another thought about this sd-card stuff, might it have caused issues with the multi-user side of things in 4.2? Most apps aren't following guidelines on where to save their data, so it gets sprayed willynilly on the SD-Card.  Now there's more than one person using the system, and possibly overwriting that data/corruption, I can see why Nexus devices, to stop this being a problem before it starts (or at least reducing it to less apps) is not using the sd-cards.

Stewart Gateley: With each user having their own apps and data, SD card makes even more sense. Keep the profiles local while storing large media files on ext storage. Either external files can be shared with all users, or set file permissions. No need to partition space out for each user or something. For a multi-user HD media consumption device, the Nexus 10 is seriously lacking storage. But I thought we were talking about the 4 here.

Dianne Hackborn:

    +Robert Mahon This is certainly an issue, we aren't supporting multi-user with the old school FAT partition for external storage (whether that is on an SD card like the original G1 or a separate internal partition like the Nexus S).

    +Stewart Gateley SD cards must be formatted with FAT (to inter-operate with desktop computers), which doesn't support file permissions.  Not to mention that all you are going to end up with is a mess if you try to set file system permissions (based on uids) on an SD card and then move that to another device.

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Anderson/562548405 Michael Anderson

    This may be the direction, but I refuse to buy any device without an SD card. I will keep spending money for the option till nobody makes a device that uses them.

    • http://profiles.google.com/rcastles Robert Castles

      Agree completely. No SD is a deal killer for me.

    • jordanjay29

      Then don't buy a Nexus phone. Get the Samsung Galaxy S III, the HTC One X or the LG Optimus G, and move on with your life.

      • Robert Mahon

        Exactly, there's plenty of ways around it (though that cheap price in the play store is mighty attractive). You get what you pay for, this is just something people will have to decide for themselves, and perhaps find it's not a big an issue as they thought.

      • Campan Flaviu

        what about the 'Nexus experience'?... The vanilia android? I hate all manufacturer's customisations and I really like Nexus products. I' m sure a 32 or 64GB Nexus would sell better than the 8GB one. If I'd want a cheaper smartphone I would buy a Galaxy mini which do comes with a microSD. I'd rather have a slower processor than a lower capacitate storage.

        • jordanjay29

          Well, if you're the average customer, you have the choice to get the "vanilla" experience with a Nexus device, or an sd-card wielding device.

          If you're a more savvy customer, you can probably pick up any phone, find an custom rom (like CyanogenMod or AOKP) and stick it on for a 'vanilla' experience. Then you can have your SD-card and vanilla, too.

          • someone

            Tbh, the average customer would want customization. Most people want things done for them, hence the sgs3 doing so well. If you take each device separately, you're not waiting months for theuupdate because the "nexus" experience doesn't contain all The extra stuff

      • xx00xx

        look at the price. and its new. so i want nexus but i cant buy due to limitation.

        its like you make a perfect clone of jolie and dont give her a nose(just think)?

    • http://twitter.com/ElooieIV Edward Lewis

      Future Complainer about slow updates and ugly skins!

    • Etienne de Closmadeuc

      +1. No (micro)SD card. No purchase.

      And I also think that these SD cards should stay with exfat. Try to copy an 8 Gb movie on a SD card through USB cable ! Much more faster with a good SD card reader.

      I want to copy plenty of movies, photos, music on my SD card and look at them on my TF700T.

      Android OS : Heaven
      Android devices : Hell

  • TheFirstUniverseKing

    Ugh, I'd rather Google just not have multi-user support in Android rather than not include expandable storage in their devices.

    • jordanjay29

      That's your preference, I guess. I know plenty of families and corporate users who would rejoice to have the option on their tablets.

      • Todd

        rejoice with 16GB of space divided up amongst 5 users? And don't even consider corporate users. lol!

    • GraveUypo

      i agree

  • maxkobi

    what about the idea behind no internal memory? you get to plug in the SD card and thats the phone memory... im sure this doesnt work because of system files but its an idea..

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

      Yeah, that wouldn't work for a consumer-facing device for many reasons.

  • CoreDuo08

    What exactly would be the problem with including a MicroSD slot but formatting it with a file system that's compatible with these ideologies (i.e. ext4) and allowing access over MTP? The Galaxy Nexus does this already with the on-board storage, does it not? This is exactly what MTP was designed for in the first place.

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

      Then you lose portability of the SD card - you can take it out and insert into another device that can't read such filesystem. Don't get me wrong - I'd prefer this solution and I would love to treat an SD card as exclusive to my phone and forget all about its portability aspects, but it doesn't look like Google wants to deal with consumer confusion resulting from this.

      • CoreDuo08

        It kind of depends on your definition of portable. It would work in any other Android device, but it would have to be accessed through MTP on Windows which involves plugging a cable into a USB port.

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

          Right. But how many users would go "wtf, my data is all gone!!1one" if they took it out of their phones and wanted to copy some pics directly to their PCs?

          • CoreDuo08

            How many users would bother trying to do that on PCs that aren't equipped to take MicroSD cards anyway? In most cases, it's just easier to plug the device itself in and access data that way, MicroSD card or not.

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

            All of my mSD cards came with SD adapters. I'm not really trying to argue that what you're saying makes sense, but rather trying to understand why Google is doing this.

          • CoreDuo08

            I'm just not a proponent of the idea that things should flat out not be included because the average consumer doesn't understand it. It's a line of thinking that seems to have started with Apple and never stopped.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

            The problem with that line of thinking is that you believe if a consumer doesn't understand it, they won't use it. What Artem is saying here is that they *will* use it, but it won't work.

            What Google is saying here is not "We will never do this" (well, sort of, but I'll get to that) but rather "We're not going to do this if we can't do it well." Average users understand that they can take their SD cards out of their phones and plug them into their computers. Virtually none of them understand incompatible filesystems. It would be a likely occurrence that someone would try to plug the card in and it wouldn't work. That's not leaving out a feature because a user doesn't understand it. It's leaving out a feature because they know users will use it and it won't work.

            That being said, yes, Google technically is saying "we'll never use micro SD cards", though the main reason for that seems to be avoiding a file manager or "where would you like this?" prompt. Which is another feature that consumers would be forced to use but may become confused about. The beauty of Android, though, is that Google isn't the be all, end all of devices. This is how they want the Nexus line to look. There's nothing saying you can't get the feature you're looking for somewhere else, though. So, really, it shouldn't be that big of a deal.

          • Todd

            Precisely, and anyone who owns a PC to begin with and doesn't understand the concept of having a couple drives to store data needs to smash their PC and go to the flip-phone aisle. I can fire up Solid Explorer app and connect an OTG cable/thumbdrive along with having an external and internal SD. Giving me three options of where to go or store/read the data.

            I know...*mind blown*

          • abqnm

            I think SD cards should be able to be added, but with some serious caveats. First, it should have an actual electromechanical release mechanism that will physically eject the card (similar to a slot loading CD drive) only when unmounted properly from the OS. It should warn the user that by removing the SD card, all data will be lost on it. Google should also provide a connected swap/upgrade solution, whereby you connect it to your PC and the data is copied to a temp location on the PC and then copied back when the new card is inserted. The SD should be managed with Linux LVM so that the storage appears as one unified partition.

            Google should provide us with the option, but needs to make it abundantly clear that it is not to be swapped out. If you want to expand your storage, it will be similar upgrading a PC hard drive. You cannot just simply replace it with a bigger one and it will work. You still have to get everything back on there.

        • http://twitter.com/namd88 Nam Dang

          SD Card are formatted in FAT by default. Assuming you're an average consumer, you buy an SD card and copy some files to the card. You insert it into the phone and you EXPECT it to just work, not just giving you a popup asking you to format the card. And then the same customer, unknowingly click the Format button, turning the card into ext4, and then try to put it in a laptop card reader. Windows' gonna complain and ask to "Format" the card again. Basically it's VERY confusing for average people if you use non-portable formats.

          • Eye4Detail

            How about this: You buy a card and put it in your phone. You get a pop-up.

            This card needs to be formatted to work properly with Android. After formatting, you will have to connect your phone to your PC via USB to transfer files to the SD card from your PC as it will no longer be recognized.

            Do you want to format the SD card?
            *YES* *NO*

            For more information *click here*

            Not exactly a difficult proposition.

          • http://twitter.com/namd88 Nam Dang

            Sounds good theory - but again, it destroys the portability of an SD card. How much do you think that an average customer can patiently read a dialog like that. And it totally ruins the concept of "it just works". That's why no one implements such approach yet.

          • pepcok

            @twitter-19703068:disqus wait.. the average customer still has to go through the initial setup when turning on the phone for the 1st time, right? Looks like the average customer is able to do that just fine. So it doesn't really matter if there is one more screen saying "formatting this card will cause blah blah" in the initial setup, or even a popup screen in case an unknown card is inserted later. So the lack of "it just works" concept is really a "I understand/agree" thing, the same you see in a lot of apps where you have to accept the terms before it lets you use the app.

          • Ravinder Verma

            I Agree, After all, these devices should work as easily as we want them, no technical Yes/No etc. It should just work. It takes time to design such things, but its worth it. Not all mobile users are technically sound. The Ground reality is no one takes time to read these leagal notices or Yes/No type questions even for the first time. So I think there should be a solution which enables the use of SD card with all the security needed but WITH EASE !!

          • James LaBarre

            So because *some* users are too stupid/confused to handle SD media, that means all the rest of us have to suffer for it? Seems it's time to stop coddling the morons and make tech usable for us capable of using our brains.

          • Eye4Detail

            How often do you think an average consumer would bother pulling off their case, popping the battery door, pulling the card, finding their micro SD adapter and putting it in their computer when they can just plug their phone into the USB port?

            I have a family full of typical end users who didn't even know their phones HAD SD slots (and in some cases, came with cards) let alone ever considered taking the card out of the phone and putting it in their PC. Like the majority of typical end users, when they want something from their PC on their phone, they either plug the phone into the PC or email it to themselves (depending on size.)

            The issues inherent with incompatible formats are something one would only run into if the card is presented in a pretty, easily accessible side-slot. If OEMs keep the card under the battery door, it's a non-issue because end users want everything to "just work." Having to take extra steps to pull your card just to transfer files to your phone isn't it "just working."

        • marcusmaximus04

          "It would work in any other Android device"

          I'm not sure that's true. Since permissions-able filesystems generally rely on a semi-unique user id, you're going to run into uid mismatches when moving it to another android device, meaning that depending on the permissions given the files may or may not be available on it for reading and/or writing.

          Basically, in this scenario you're using the micro-sd card in such a way that ensures the user can never utilize it outside the android device in question; it's essentially internal storage.

      • http://twitter.com/AthoraX athorax

        Just hide the SD slot! Muahaha!

      • Kris

        I have yet to remove my SD card from my phone in the 10 months I have had it. I bought it, opened it, put it in my phone and haven't "seen" it since.

      • Bakaouji

        Only power users would take out a sd card and put it into a card reader. And as such they would be aware of any issues resulting from this. It seems to me that google is just coming up with excuses for no sd card slot...

        For some reason they want us to have hardly any storage. Surely they know that in many countries (e.g Australia) data caps are measured in the hundreds of mb, not gigabytes.

      • http://trapchan.blogspot.com trapchan

        It's much better than having to pay steep price for another gigs of internal storage.

    • peacekeeper05

      Normal consumers will only get confused and irritated if you do that,

    • sgtguthrie

      I would like this idea...it was my thought too. I almost never take my sdcard out of my phone anyway, just like that I can if I need to. Then I can mount it with Linux if it's formatted with ext4 or whatever they choose...

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jacob-ODaniel/100001618205789 Jacob O’Daniel

        yea i honestly beleive they do it just to get what little profit margin they can out of memory, but IF that isnt the case lets be real here if anyone know about the average customer and how un-technical they can be its google they know everything about us everything and trust me "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

        -- Albert Einstein

  • spydie

    what a bunch of BS. Most people (that being the majority of consumers) don't have a multi-use problem. Everyone in the family has their own phone and their own tablet. Leaving off an SD card slot for security is bogus. However, I keep seeing mention of how it's always been a thorn in the side of the nexus phones not having and SD slot. My wife's google nexus (the ond prior to this new Nexus 4) by samsung has an SD slot. Were there some didn't?

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

      What? The Galaxy Nexus doesn't have an SD slot. The Nexus S did way back in the day.

      • CoreDuo08

        Wasn't the Nexus One the last with a MicroSD slot? The reviews I just skimmed seem to indicate that the Nexus S didn't have a MicroSD slot.

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

          Ah, you're right. It was so long ago, I now have to think multiple generations back.

    • http://twitter.com/navjotbatra Navjot

      Your wife's galaxy nexus does not have a sd card slot...

    • peacekeeper05

      Google Nexus? What Nexus? Because the Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus S did not support SD card.

    • Eye4Detail

      I think you must be thinking of the Galaxy SII. There are no versions of the Galaxy Nexus with an SD slot.

  • ProductFRED

    I share your sentiments. I have a Galaxy S3 16GB with a 32GB card; I'm not out of space yet, but I've used a lot (7GB left in the phone, 17GB left on the card). I keep all my multimedia (photos, videos, music) on my card and use the internal storage just for apps. I can understand not using MicroSD cards on Nexus devices (their rationale makes sense since Nexus devices run Android as it was intended, not with third-party tweaks and changes), but 16GB is a joke for a power device. With 1080p recording, 8MP photos, 1+ GB games, and a whole host of other storage-intensive features/apps, it's kind of crazy to top out at 16GB. Like you said, people will pay more for more storage. I understand they had to keep costs down, but transfer that cost onto the users. There are people who call us "whiners" for wanting more than 16GB, but not everyone wants to carry a phone, iPod Touch, tablet, and DSLR around.

    Tl;Dr: I will pay more for more storage, Google!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      The "I will pay for more" crowd really needs to be addressed. I use this device every day of my life, several times an hour. I will gladly pay more than $200/$300 for it.

      I want more storage, more battery, better build quality, better materials, and better screens. I have no problem paying for it. I will give you as much money as you need. This device is a large part of my life and all I care about is that it be good. Right now no one will sell you a device worthy of a $500 subsidized / $700 unsubsidized price, but I would gladly pay that for something I use every day. Stop setting a price ceiling that requires you to cut corners.

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

        Exactly. Kind of reminds me of the headphone discussion I had with my wife when we were arguing about a $200 pair of headphones. She didn't see value in them, but I was ready to pay double for outstanding quality for something I use every single day.

        • Sarang Pitale

          May be higher storage nexus' have low demand's as compared to lower storage, lets say 5% which might not make it a viable for mass production.

          • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

            Judging by the very vocal crowd of people, I think there's at least enough that it bears considering. Add to that the sheer number of people that are likely to buy the largest size available, because many people do. That really is enough. I think the same argument can (and will) be made about the 8 gb Nexus 4. I'm sure people will buy it, but I have trouble believing it will be enough people to make it commercially viable.

            I know it will never happen, but I'd kinda love to have seen Google announce the Nexus 4 with 8 gb at $300 (as they did) and 32 gb at $400. I've got a funny feeling that there would be the exact same proportion of people buying each model, but the complaints would go way down.

          • markgbe

            exactly my thoughts. I'd assume the vast majority of android users, especially those who don't visit android websites and forums do not use anywhere near 32gb or 64gb.

            Why would google force the majority of users to pay more for a phone just so the "power users" can have 64gb of storage.

            Personally 8gb or 16gb is fine for me. Granted i don't store gigs and gigs of Roms on my sdcard.

          • Kris

            Nexus devices are supposed to be dev phones aren't they? They are becoming more mainstream now, but I think they are still phones made for devs to develop on. Any dev is most likely going to be tinkering with their phone and 8 or 16 GB isn't gonna cut it.

          • Matti

            I think that might be in the past. Google are clearly trying to move the Nexus brand away from being know as a dev-centric thing.

            As for the lack of SD storage, Google can give all the reasons they want, but I still think the main one is that VFAT thing Microsoft were trolling all Android OEMs with not too long ago, which Google would be keen to avoid with their own halo devices.

            I would gladly pay for bigger internal storage though, but I suspect we're in the minority here. Most average users (ie. not people like us) probably have a few books (say 1GB max), maybe a dozen mp3 albums (another 1GB max) and non-hardcore games like Angry Birds or Cut the Rope (less than 1GB) on their phones, so even 8GB would be sufficient for these folk, seeing as a fresh 8GB set should still have a bit more than 5GB free upon first boot.

            Just my opinion, though.

          • Kris

            That's why I said they are becoming more mainstream. The video the Verge put out showed Hugo (I think that's who it was) saying the Nexus line is to help get more Android developers on board so that the ecosystem doesn't suck. That would be nice so that Apple can stop saying "look how many apps we have and look how many Android doesn't have" (without the app ecosystem what else does Apple have over Android?).

          • http://trapchan.blogspot.com trapchan

            Yeah ... and then what's the point in having high quality camera on it if there's no space left to save them ... I certainly on the "people who will not pay another $100 for another 16 gigs of storage" bandwagon, simply because I can't afford it, and it's a complete non-sense when I can simply buy a 32 gigs sd card for maybe $25. At least they can adapt Samsung Focus way to handle sd card ... which simply act as a cheap additional storage for it, the sd card become parts of the storage and non removable, nor readable outside the device ... it's much better than being stuck in 16gb storage.

          • James LaBarre

            > ..but I still think the main one is that VFAT thing Microsoft were
            > trolling all Android OEMs with not too long ago, which Google
            > would be
            keen to avoid with their own halo devices.

            Which is why I've thought these device makers should have moved to EXT3 a long time ago. Just pool their resources with other manufacturers, and make installable filesystem drivers for MSWin * MacOS (MSWin *has* the ability to add other filesystems, it just doesn't get used).

          • James LaBarre

            They wouldn't **HAVE** to force all users to pay for the extra storage if they *INCLUDED* the microSD slot! If you needed more capacity, you could simply add it. If you don't, just use the already built-in storage as it is. They can't have it both ways; either they load the device down with tins of storage for EVERYONE (not so desirable to them or the basic users), or provide the ability to expand.

            Besides; perhaps I ***WANT*** the ability to swap data sets. My real preference would be for them to include full-sized SD/MMC slots on 7" and up tablets, since microSD is way too small and easy to lose. But I guess microSD has to be the compromise, but failing to include it at all is a non-starter.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667020551 Jose Torres

          That sort of thinking comes from buying 100 pairs of shoes for $5/ea. Quality over style.

      • Eldarik

        You could move to austria, where the nexus 4 (16GB) will cost more than 700 USD
        You won't get more storage space, but you can pay a little bit more for it. ;)
        Much more annoying than the missing SD slot is the missing USB-Mass Storage Mode.
        To say it clear: MTP really sucks! (especially when working on linux)

        • Bleakvision

          Nice to meet fellow Austrians here:)

          We will be able to get it from German online retailers. Just check out Amazon marketplace, Geizhals and Ebay, most ship to Austria for a few Euros more.

      • ssj4Gogeta

        A bigger problem is that flash storage is nowhere near as costly as the $100 per 16GB that the manufacturers expect you to pay, it's more like $8 per 16GB. There's no reason why they can't just put a stupendous amount of storage in the devices. Make 64GB and 128GB devices the standard, and everyone will be happy.

        • Span

          Space for the flash memory then becomes an issue. Also high quality, long life flash memory used in these devices costs a lot more than $8 for 16GB.

          • ssj4Gogeta

            That figure is from Anandtech. I'm pretty sure they don't use SLC for these devices. For $100 I can buy a 128GB MLC SSD with an ~8 channel controller. I'm not sure about space being an issue either because we have 64GB microSD cards, but correct me if I'm wrong.

          • DCMAKER

            we also have 256GB mSATA lol and phones have to use MLC becuase its cheap and horrible slow

          • DCMAKER

            even SLC is not more than a dollar a GB to manufactue

          • http://paleografie.tk/ S.W. Leefers

            I don't believe that is true. In all those tear-downs by Isupply, they value the internal memory at about $ 10 for an increment of 16 GB, and $ 20 for an increment of 32 GB. Flash memory is just very cheap, and Google and all the others have profit margins of about 80 % on additional memory. That means you pay 400 % more than what it costs them:

            http://www.isuppli.com/Teardowns/News/pages/iPhone5-Carries-$199-BOM-Virtual-Teardown-Reveals.aspx

        • Tomi Golob

          Heh

        • underdonk

          The mobile carriers wouldn't be happy because they would be losing out on increased consumer bandwidth usage and associated costs. Google wouldn't be happy because consumers would be storing less of your information in their cloud which they can use for 1) directed advertising purposes and 2) selling you more storage for their services. Phone manufactures wouldn't be happy because it would reduce their margin - while a $0.05 increase in the cost of a phone associated with the size of internal storage seems miniscule, it's not when you're talking about millions or tens of millions of phones.

          Capitalism is a real drag sometimes, eh?

          • Christopher Kidwell

            That is why we do not have pure capitalism in America and elsewhere, we have regulated capitalism.
            The government could EASILY step in and tell these companies "No monitoring of what users do online without direct permission!" and the companies would have to agree to that or be shut down.

          • pepa sracka

            thats a good one:D

        • Nashoba Darkwolf

          And you know what is really sad? my SDXC cards transfer files faster than nearly all tablets out there. My TF700t file transfer speed is 7-12 Mbit/s my slowest speed on my class 10 cards is 21 Mbit/s

          • ssj4Gogeta

            You mean Mbytes/s ;)
            But yeah, I have no clue why phone manufacturers do that. I hope Windows 8 tablets (the ones with x86 processors) will have user-replaceable SSD's. After all they're full-fledged laptops sans keyboards.

      • Fatty Bunter

        The vast majority of people that Google is targeting do not share your desire to pay more for more. Google is setting a price ceiling so that they can streamline their whole product line and maximize their profit return. Clearly Google management decided that's what they need to do to move forward, possibly because their profits are not keeping up with their revenues. And we all want them to move forward, right?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

          Not just Google, ALL manufacturers set a $200/$300 price ceiling that requires them to cut corners. NOBODY makes premium phones.

          • John O’Connor

            What people fail to realize is that this is not a price ceiling at all. This is a subsidized phone price when purchasing through a carrier. Us in the U.S. have been spoiled/conned? into believing that a smartphone costs $200 or $300. The actual price of the device is much higher as many see outside the states as they purchase them at full retail value.

            For example: A device sold at a $199 subsidized price on a U.S. carrier in reality actually costs around $600-$700. The carrier purchases the device from the manufacturer and sells it to you at a reduced price for committing to a 1yr, 2yr or 3yr service contract with them. They recuperate the full actual cost of the device over the course of the contract.

            What is always advertised is the subsidized cost of the device which can be misleading if you don't know any better. The subsidized price is available for new subscribers or those who are renewing their contract. If you want to get an actual idea of the cost of a device (at least in the states) login to your carrier account, choose a device that is still on contract and then try to upgrade that device. An advertised $299/32gb iphone5 will actually run you around $749.99 if you have not met your contractual obligation yet and that of course is the actual full price of the device.

            Those in the rest of the world already know the true cost of a phone, maybe it is time people would stop being so ignorant here.

          • James LaBarre

            But just WHY are "smartphones" so much more expensive? You can buy a Kurio 4S for $99 (that's right, one singular c-note). It's functionally the same as an Android phone, except for the cellular chip and the 2 years of indentured servitude to your cellular provider. Does a cellular chipset and antenna cost ***$500***???? I don't think so.

          • datafox

            Premium phones are made but they are more along the lines of status symbols rather than phones that offer more technology, The company that comes to mind is Vertu.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jordan.richesin Jordan Richesin

        Has anyone seen the sun lately? Valid responses are welcome.

      • IHATEHIPSTERSSS

        Should have got an iPhone.

        • steve

          Should have got an Iphone?? The iphone doesnt have an sd card slot either, but 90% of Android phones do, so you should have done sone research first

      • ryan

        can get 128GB iPad now :D

        • flux

          So, I can get 256GB on my 8 year old Dell Axim X51v PDA running Windows Mobile 6.5 A10 Dynamite edition with two SDXC cards using one SD/CF Type-II adapter.

      • fl1nty

        Kinda late to comment but given that the gs4 nexus edition is available would you buy it since it gives you the external sd card?

    • GraveUypo

      i'm on the same boat as you (gs3 with total 48gb) but i'm not quite as happy with the storage as you are. i leave 8gb on my internal memory for videos and photos, which i have to unload constantly so not to fill my phone, and the only reason my sd card has 10gb free is because i ran out of space and deleted a ton of my less-used stuff, something i wish i didn't have to do.

    • Joseph Cascio

      Exactly. I get Google doesn't like SD card, so why the flip don't the have more memory options. If fact, the way I see it is, there are two groups of people:
      1) The ones who feel 8GB is more then plenty, and

      2) The ones who feel more is better.
      Why not have an 8GB model and a 32GB model. The people who would originally buy the 16GB model wouldn't give a second thought about a 32GB model. The production cost is basically $20 difference for any doubled memory (i.e. 8 to 16GB is a $20 difference and 16 to 32GB is a $20 difference). I would buy a 32GB Nexus 4 for $380. And for the others keep the 8GB model at the same price.

    • New_Guy

      I made the mistake of buying a TF300 with only 16GB of storage. I can't even tell you how fast that ran out. Music, photos, a couple of movies, and a few Gameloft games tore right through it. Not to mention that Asus tablets start acting crazy once you get below 3GB's. Thank God the keyboard dock has an SD card slot or I'd be SOL.

    • IHATEHIPSTERSSS

      Android is a joke first taking away the option to install apps to an sd card now I can't even use my.ntfc 64gb micro sd. Such a broken OS.

      • Todd

        If Samsung's Tenzen or Ubuntu's offering has me liking what I see, I'll be jumping ship.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

    It's interesting that every SD card problem is usually "everything goes to hell when you move it from device to device" but I don't think anyone actually does that. You mostly throw the SD card in as a storage boost and don't remove it until you upgrade phones, right? Does anyone actively swap a card between multiple devices?

    We just need to treat them like a hard drive in a computer. Everyone knows everything will go to shit when you move those, so we just don't.

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

      There's also the security problem with multiple users on the same device. That's a big part of it.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

        Well, the problem is the file format, which is only there for portability. Without the portability requirement, you could format it in something else, which would solve the permissions problems too.

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

          I'd rather than abandon portability as well. We just need to convince Google of this. If SD cards were treated only as means to augment capacity, except positioned externally rather than externally, we'd be home free.

          • Robert Mahon

            Aye, I'd like them to be seen as the 'user replaceable HardDrives' Drop one in, format it to only work on that machine, and leave it at that. Want the data out, use MTP to back up. This is hopefully a solution that works for them in later devices

          • James LaBarre

            I'd rather Google got *RID* of the abomination that is MTP.

          • Todd

            I don't bother with convincing them, I just vote with my wallet which buys from manufacturers that do incorporate sd slots.

      • ocdtrekkie

        Yeah, but for the big files, generally security isn't an issue. You don't need to secure the data file for your Asphalt 7, 8, 9, etc. Hero's Call, Modern Combat 3...

        Same for music files... security... optional.

        • jordanjay29

          You would, however, need to secure your data if you are, say, an Enterprise user with a Google Drive/Dropbox/etc app on a particular account. The cache and 'offline' files would need to be secure and protected for each user.

          • ocdtrekkie

            Yes, @jordanjay29:disqus but that's what internal storage is for. Honestly, the majority of folks would find having the optional SD card be not secure as not a problem. It could be used to store only items that were not important to keep secure.

          • James LaBarre

            I'd think if you were *that* concerned about security, you wouldn't be sharing your device with anyone else anyway. You'll be locking it down with a password, and keeping it to yourself. At which point you need to be writing to encrypted files on the microSD anyway.

      • http://photo.katzmatt.com Matt Katzenberger

        This could be solved with clear Android device guidelines for developers, making accessing the SD card a separate permission from accessing internal storage, and printing a bold warning on multiuser devices that
        "This app can access the external SD storage card. Data on this card is available to all users of this device."

        • mjj

          Agree. Also, I really don't see the point of multiple users on a phone though. Tablets yes, phones no.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      The common example is with things like pictures and video. I know a lot of people who swap sd cards between computer, camera, and phone when they are moving or modifying a lot of stuff.

      • James LaBarre

        *Especially* once Google adopted the abomination that is MTP. You want to modify a file on the tablet in-place? Well, you can't. You have to copy it back to the computer, edit it, then copy it back over the file on the tablet. Moronic.

    • JG

      Personally I've only taken the card out of my phone once in 2 years - swapping it between my FUBAR'd handset to its replacement. If I want to transfer files or whatever, I get the USB cord from the charger and mount the phone in USB Mass Storage mode to my desktop. and access the files through N:. I have thought of getting more cards though and, for example, load one full of MP3s so I would have a decent slice of my library and not have to blow my data plan streaming music at the gym or on a road trip... Or load a bunch of movies to watch while I was at the airport then switch back to my everyday card to take pictures etc while on holiday.

      I suppose one might want to transfer a file from the phone to a tablet (or visa versa), should both have SD abilities.... Of course that could be messy - to get my phone's SD out I got to take out its battery, assuming the same for the tablet.... I don't know if I'd really want to take both devices apart on a park bench somewhere.... GDrive or Dropbox or mounting both as N: and O: would probably be the way to go....

  • Matt

    Then why not include 32 gb versions? These explanations are fine but they have to compensate in some way, that way being just make 32 and 64 gb versions. Not everyone has unlimited data plans so not all of us want our data to be chewed up by streaming constantly. My sister in the span of 2 weeks reached our monthly cap (5 gb) because of constant music and video streaming from the cloud on the go, while the cloud is great, don't get me wrong, that doesn't give Google the right (for lack of a better term) to shove it down our throats by limiting our local storage. That applies especially to people like myself that like to store music locally and flash roms/make backups

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

      Precisely my point. I would be fine if we had the options.

    • peacekeeper05

      I don't know either. But Since a 32GB Nexus 7 is coming we might see a 32GB version of the Nexus 4 too. I just hope that it comes before Christmas.

      • Campan Flaviu

        don't hold your breath. It took a while to make that 32GB Nexus 7...

        • http://www.facebook.com/dgemus Don Gemus

          4 months. You definitely cannot hold your breath for 4 months.

      • sgtguthrie

        And I'm still pissed about it, because they pulled a Droid Razr on me with my 16gb Nexus 7 that's full!!! Thank Motorola...I mean Google!!!

  • Twilightlicious

    I call Bull. This is absolutly no reason to Shun SDCards. whoever came up wit hthis reason is an idiot. Who says we need to store apps/data on the SD Card? I just want it for music/video. Just disable Apps2SD. nothing wrong with no Apps2SD When multiuser is enabled, Expecially in comparison to no SD at all.

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

      Apps2SD isn't even the issue - that only moves parts of the app itself to the SD card, not the private data. But many apps choose to store private data on the SD card anyway.

    • peacekeeper05

      You clearly did not understand a thing about what the Google engineers are trying to explain.

  • http://profiles.google.com/peter.farac Peter Farac

    This isn't correct at all really. The right analogy is having a USB hard disk plugged into your PC. The contents is accessible by any user on that PC because a portable hard disk can't have permissions (obviously because then it would be pretty useless as a portable disk).

    The only option to secure your USB hard disk in this instance is to encrypt it, which can easily be done with external sd cards.

    The real reason Google don't want it is because it introduces complexity. I don't think they are giving the end user enough credit here - consumers have shown to like using the device in this way. They like drag and drop from the PC. They like SD cards because you can take them and use them anywhere. They understand the concept of saving on different media, because it is physical. I hope Google changes their mind on this because flexibility is what makes Android great.

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

      Except SD cards aren't used the same way as external HDDs. SD cards are now used for app storage (apps to SD) and often misused for personal data storage. No PC app would start writing stuff to your external drive by itself, whereas in Android they do it left and right. It's already bad enough that a simple rogue app can wipe out the entire SD card and affect data for other apps that way.

      There's definitely some legacy and ancient technology bullcrap we're dealing with here. I really wish Google put all these behind and concentrate on advancing Android in this area.

      • http://profiles.google.com/peter.farac Peter Farac

        I would agree if app2SD was built into Android, but it is a niche app that people clearly want because it was made, and presumably those people who use it know the pitfalls of saving stuff like this to an SD card.

        Also you can easily configure PC apps to save to an external drive so this point is moot.

        All-in-all it allows flexibility with very little downsides when it comes to the user experience, for novices and advanced users alike. I hope Google continues to allow it.

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

          Wut? You can move apps to SD since Froyo - it's baked into Android.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=596553672 Izarrudin Arbani

    they are pushing Google Drive imo.

  • Robert Mahon

    Words of wisdom indeed.

  • Kris

    Are all these "reasons" really just excuses? I mean c'mon, Google could figure out ways around these issues for SD cards. The no-LTE, I will accept the reasons, but the lack SD card I can't let them off the hook that easily... How many more people would immediately buy the Nexus 4 if it simply had an SD card slot? I know I would, my S2 has 16 GB and that is enough due to my 32 GB SD card. Now I have to wait for a 32GB Nexus 4 to come out before considering buying it.

    • peacekeeper05

      Google is not God. They can only do so much on a short period of time. There are limitations and there are PRIORITIES and that is to improve the user experience first and the user's perspective for Android. Programming is not as easy as you think.

      • Campan Flaviu

        is it so hard to buy from manufacturier higher capacitate storage? ok, I've got the idea with multiuser support issue on sd cards, but al least internal memory should be bigger. And how do programming is related to flash size? remember, most of androidpolice reader are geeks (and most of them programmers). so we KNOW programming it's not an issue.

        • Todd

          What I can't understand is why you would need multiusers support? Just put all the needed apps on the device and use the ones you need. It's not like 8-16GB is going to be accomodating to 2-3 users on one device anyways. It doesn't accomadate me alone by a long shot.

          If anything, haviing multiple users would even further neccessitate the need for more storage. Google is just full of it - and they need to go stuff their cloud!

    • itpromike

      Um... Based on your comment I take it you really don't understand the technical limitations of what is being discussed here at all mate. To keep the card compatible with the computer you are currently using to write silly comments (so you can actually put 'stuff' on it from your computer) the SD card is formatted as fat which is a file system created by MS that... *pause for affect* does NOT support file permissions. Therefore could not be used with multi user support. Understand that first and you'll see that there is is no 'letting off the hook' here. The FAT technology was built in the 70's originally intended just for floppy disks and it plain and simple cant utilize file permissions which means it can't coexist for multiple user support reasons. End of discussion. Google couldn't change that even if they wanted to. Microsoft would have to get involved and spend lots of money and time on an old Filesystem that they don't even use anymore from 1970. 'Well why doesn't Google come up with a new Filesystem then?' I can already hear that question in your head which is equally as silly as your first. The answer is that if they did, your computer wouldn't be able to read it because it wouldn't be support by Windows.... Y'know the ones that made the OS your using on your computer.

      • Kris

        Well it seems the main concern is for multiuser support and I think that is less necessary for a phone, hence why it isn't available on phones (not yet at least, might be a patent issue anyways). A tablet is more likely to have multiple users so it makes sense to have multiuser support and then the reasons in the article are applicable. Since I am talking about the Nexus 4 and not the Nexus 7 or 10, they should have no problem putting an sd card slot in. My current phone has one and so do many other phones and even tablets so why can't the Nexus 4? I don't think my phone needs multiuser support as I am the only one on it 99% of the time.

        Of course this whole discussion could easily be avoided if the Nexus 4 came with 32GB or even 64GB of internal storage. Many of the other specs for the phone are high end (2 GB RAM, quad core CPU, hi res screen, etc.), why can't the storage be high end? I would gladly pay an extra $50 for 32GB and I have a hard time thinking it would cost Google an extra $50 to implement more storage so they would make more money and the phone would still be $400, which is a really low price point for the specs.

        • itpromike

          Agreed. Higher storage built in would mitigate the SD card discussion (for the most part). I mean c'mon iPhones have had 32GB/64GB options since 2008/2009 but Android is suppose to be the one all about options...

          -Michael

          • James LaBarre

            Actually, it only mitigates *some* of the arguments. I'm looking at scenarios where I would want different "data sets" (different research projects, for example), so being able to swap-out storage is important.

        • Todd

          Like I said,having multiple users neccessitates far more memory needed than a measly 16GB. Not to mention I've seen Asus Memo Pad tablets going for 129.00 bucks at Wal-Mart. Not much need for multiusers on one device at those buy a few prices, because if there is, it's most likely that consumer is too cash-strapped to afford the broadband bill each month to bother with owning one.

      • orville porter

        Ok. 1970 tech by competition give us more storage 64g or more nuff said.

      • James LaBarre

        Which is why manufacturers should have adopted EXT3 **years** ago. A simple installable filesystem driver developed cooperatively between industry players would have solved the problem ages ago. MSWin has had Installable FS support since the original WinNT. I expect a simple system extension in MacOS-X would be even easier with a system extension (being BSD based, there's likely a BSD driver already available). Once you install the EXT3 driver/IFS once, it's there for EVERYTHING that needs it.

  • rquinn

    I just read a review in the app store with someone complaining they couldn't install to their sdcard

  • zent

    I want a phone with no storage space. Stock Google apps only with cloud storage at lower cost. My 32gb on galaxy nexus are completely unused.

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

      In an ideal world, that would be great. Kind of like Google Fiber. Without any local storage and with slow and inconsistent data connections, your user experience would go out the window. There's a reason Dropbox, which is cloud sync of local storage, is so popular compared to pure cloud access. And that's on a much more well-connected device. Mobile devices hop on and of connections all the time, and cell data isn't nearly as reliable as wired Internet.

      • zent

        I just may be a different kind of user. I use only a couple of things on the smartphone - gmail, sms texts, calendar, google voice, maps and a streaming service for music. Everything else I access through a browser using web apps. The only redeeming thing for built-in storage in my case are photos from the camera (but then again those could be uploaded in real time to something like picasa). I literally have no apps installed and no files with music or anything else stored on the phone. My wife uses her phone in a really similar manner without even realizing it (she has an iphone).

        This usage model is highly dependent on access to data, which I have never had trouble with in the first place (I live in a city and do no go outside city a whole lot). Every single thing I do (minus taking photos) requires good data access anyway.

        Right now the storage space on my phone is literally wasted, and I simply do not see myself ever using it with my device usage model.

        • John O’Connor

          I will grant you the fact that you are a different type of user than even the average one. most people who purchase smartphones for themselves or their children or other family members and use the capabilities of the fact that it is a "smart phone" will have many apps or media. Pictures and video captured by the device eat up space really quickly as well.

          My main question for you would be if you do not use the features of a smartphone, why not have a regular phone for texting, calling and mobile web? It seems these devices aren't necessarily marketed to people who will do very little if at all with their phones

    • Scott

      I also have the Verizon Galaxy Nexus. 22.27 GB free.

  • bos

    Google has a new excuse regarding local storage every other day, and none of them hold water. I'm finding myself rooting for Samsung to branch Android and fix this artificially induced problem themselves. Google is only interested in selling the cloud, and the cloud is neither reliable nor affordable. The direction Google is pushing Android is bad for consumers and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

    • Robert Mahon

      Not sure Samsung needs to branch it, they ARE producing hardware that's Branded Samsung that DOES have the SD-Cards in, so we do have choices. If Nexus phones were you're only Android phone available the argument would be stronger to open it up, it'd be a nice thing to have now, but if you want something different, there's surely /some/ phones that have the features you want?

      • bos

        There are choices today, but Nexus is touted as Google's vision of the future of Android. They want to use Nexus devices to push (or pull, depending on how you view it) the entire platform in certain directions. It's pretty clear from their Nexus design choices that small, non expandable local storage is the direction they want to go.

    • peacekeeper05

      I don't see how the lack of SD card support is bad for the consumers. It's a matter of preference.

      • bos

        1) Limited data plans

        2) Inability to access data when you need it

        3) Planned premature obsolescence when you run out of space

        • Justin Swanson

          I think all of Google's services allow caching (which can be done on Wifi) and they are compressed to take up less space.

          Limited data plans are a issue with the carrier, not Google

          • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

            Sure it's the carrier's fault we don't get unlimited data but Google needs to operate on this assumption since this is the world we live in.

          • John O’Connor

            caching still takes substantial space. a few episodes of falling skies and 2 movies cached from play movies and tv ate 10 gigs

          • Justin Swanson

            True, but how many times are you going to watch those episodes? Cache them each night, watch them the next day. I know this doesn't fix every situation, but it might work for day-to-day or week-to-week watching. I know this doesn't meet Airplane rides, but you could use a OTG USB + USB Drive for that.

          • James LaBarre

            > but you could use a OTG USB + USB Drive for that.

            Awkward, bulky, clunky, and prone to breakage. A good solution for docked systems, but really defeats the portability of a teblet (and definitely awkward on a phone).

    • Todd

      I'm about to the point I'd like to see Samsung branch off and actually get it right. It would be nice to have all the options they give now in a phone and also NOT having mining your data as their sole driven purpose.

  • Seth Daniel

    What do you have that you MUST store locally on your phone that takes up so much space? I have a ton of music and movies and pictures and whatever else, but they are all stored on my computer and/or google's storage services. Google Music is great for getting my music when I want it and now having it waste space on my phone. Google Drive is great for storing documents (which take up basically no space anyway) Google+ stores all my pictures. I don't watch an incredible amount of videos on my phone, but when I do it's no problem to stream them from somewhere or download them from my computer for the time I need them and remove then when I'm done.

    I understand the desire to have an SD card. But I really think, with all the cloud storage and connectivity now offered to us, power users should be the last ones screaming about local storage sizes. Figure out ways to store your data elsewhere. They are out there, and most of them are quite good.

    • peacekeeper05

      Some people just want to fill their phones with apps, musics, videos that they don't even use. I don't know why they do that but all I can say it that it's stupid.

    • Justin Swanson

      A lot of people are from countries outside the US and they don't have access to as many, or any, of the Google services.

    • http://photo.katzmatt.com Matt Katzenberger

      Google Music is only a good solution if you have a data plan. Obviously most phones do, although if you're on Verizon or AT&T you have to worry about going over

      Most tablets don't have 3g/4g, and rely on WiFi. So streaming google music is fine at home/at the coffee shop, but between places or somewhere that doesn't have (publicly available) WiFi you're SOL unless you have your music cached for offline listening, which takes up space. I have a good 20gigs of music in Google's cloud, that I like to have available even if I'm not around WiFi. Same deal for movies and shows.

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

      Simple. I have Sprint, no LTE, HSPA+, or a connection capable of going over 100kbps with ping less than 500ms.

      More often than not, I can't even stream radio.

      And if I ever move off Sprint I'll lose unlimited data.

      I don't want to stream everything from the cloud - I am comfortable with my local storage that I know I can always access for free. In the perfect world, I would be perfectly fine with the cloud, but the world is far from perfect.

      • Scott

        You should really ditch Sprint. It's the worst service I've ever had.

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

          I'm definitely doing that as soon as the new Nexus comes out, though I'm still not sure 16GB is going to be good enough. LTE would be really nice too, considering how Sprint has dangled it in front of me, yet I haven't tasted it yet. Well, I do have an AT&T LTE hotspot, so I know how good LTE is. Now I want it on my phone.

          • Scott

            I currently have an unlimited Verizon plan. I'm ordering the Nexus 4 and trying it out on prepaid plans. I could save minimum 900 bucks a year. Sure, I won't have the great coverage that Verizon has but I'll have ATT HSPA+ that pulls 10 Mb down. And I'll have the ability to change phones any time I want and no bs contracts. Have you checked out the prepaid thread on XDA? It's a world of information on prepaid plans/phones/etc. Oh and if that test works out I'll be ditching my vzw plan, porting to Google voice and using that for my phone number.

            EDIT: I can link it to you if you'd like.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      https://plus.google.com/113320858444397755860/posts/GUpE3ZKiF2W

      It's a long post, but just read the first two reasons I list, I think you'll see why some people can't rely on streaming. I wrote that because so many people are asking the same thing you are. At least you're not being a dick about it like many others.

      I'd repost it here, but I think it's a bit too long for this format.

  • http://photo.katzmatt.com Matt Katzenberger

    People keep saying they will pay google for more storage if it's offered, but we shouldn't have to. A 16gb MicroSD card is about $15. You can pick up a 64gb for about $60 (less if you catch a sale). The cost for an extra 16gb of space on the Nexus ten is a full $100.

    The microSD card slot is a cheap and fair solution to this. Worse case scenario multi-users can each use their own SD card. You could give 6 people their own 16 GB microsd card for the price of choosing the 32gb Nexus 10 over the 16gb model.

    • DavidB

      Exactly. By not allowing SD cards, they can charge $100 for memory that should cost you the user $15-20. Robbery.

      As for multiuser, i say blah on a phone. Tablet ok, but what percentage of folks are gonna mutiuser share their phone? BS.

      And i could care less about portability. Encrypt the card contents like I could on my Blackberry and make me USB connect it to my PC if I really need to get at the card from there. I'm perfectly fine with that.

    • Justin Swanson

      You are talking like a techie. That's great. Now try to explain that complicated situation to your friends/family that aren't techies.

      • http://photo.katzmatt.com Matt Katzenberger

        I'd go for something like this: "Google, who--you know--makes android, has decided to stop putting Micro SD card slots in its phones and tablets. You know, like the camera memory cards. Well, for you this means that instead of paying $15 for a memory card to keep all your music and pictures on (my family loves their music after all), you've got to pay $100 to have the same amount of space built in."

        It's actually a pretty straightforward problem. No microsd slot means less potential space, and significantly increased cost per gigabyte.

        --

        The multiuser stuff won't matter at all. There are only three real use cases for it.

        1) Corporate, in which case they can handle the techy stuff.

        2) Academic, in which case they can handle the techy stuff (at least as well as they can handle their massive computer networks).

        3) Families, in which case security on a device everyone knows belongs to the whole family isn't going to be a real issue.

        1&2 already have to know how to deal with multi-user stuff. 3 won't really be affected by lesser security.

        • Justin Swanson

          I didn't make my comment clear enough. I don't mean explaining the cost of on-phone storage vs SD card storage.

          What I meant was explaining how to interface with an SD card. How many of your non-techie friends use SD cards? What do they use them for?

          I know a lot of people with Samsung phones and most of them don't bother with SD cards because they don't really understand how to move files on them. They might be able to get by with a movie/music player as long as the app is intuitive enough to look for it.

          I am not saying you can't, I am saying that people who aren't techies, or power users will/do have problems.

          • http://photo.katzmatt.com Matt Katzenberger

            I don't think there's a single person in my life (other than my father) who doesn't understand the concept of file storage. It's a basic tennant of using a PC. It's the same thing as a flash drive. They all get that.

            And as for my father, you're right, he wouldn't understand or care, but he also won't touch a smartphone, has never used email in his life, has never owned or used a computer in his life, and harbors an utter disdain for that kind of technology.

          • Justin Swanson

            I think PC file storage is a little bit different than phone. Either way, I think we both agree that Google needs to up the storage options for devices while keeping the cost down.

            I know that the N7's 16gb @ $250 was the only way they were turning a real profit on the device (I think the 8gb @ $200 was like $8-10 bucks above cost)

  • Venkateswaran Ganesan

    The only reason why I would hate the new Nexus 4 is the lack of SD Card. Huge deal breaker for me. The security excuse seems lame.

  • Chris James

    The average consumer doesn't want to format external data cards every time they want to use a new one.
    Yes, ext4 is an option - for Linux based operating systems but not for Windows. Which many enterprise users use.

    There will always be compromises; I just wish Google made the right decision and had 64Gb storage in all three Nexus devices as standard. Also the storage should include a maximum usable limit of 4Gb set aside for Android, giving 68Gb total.

    • http://www.dsaif.tk/ Saif

      32 & 64 GB should be standard.. and other options for cheaper price

      • Justin Swanson

        I agree... Especially because we should start seeing larger cards as the technology gets refined but it seems we've kinda stuck to the 16/32 model (or less in the Nexus case)

  • Kaush KS

    I have been putting off my purchase just because of this. And with what you are reporting, I reckon I am hoping against hope.

    I can already see many possible solutions for the mentioned issues:
    1. Only allow "Media" on SD Cards.
    2. Get rid of FAT and format the card in-device or otherwise and have a driver/app for PC/Mac/*nx to access the files (system/users data as well as media)
    3. "Partition" the SD in Systems and Media drives with encrypted/proprietry format and FAT respectively.
    4. Make it as an another flavor of the device with SD for power users and give a big flyer or a manual of dos and donts to overcome bad press, if at all.
    5. Allow custom built devices and factory fit cheap (comparable to SD proce) memory as per users choice, given that they wait for the delay in shipping of course and shell out a bit extra money for the overhead in doing so.

    • Justin Swanson

      You have some great ideas! I think our points might be moot this time next year though. Samsung has the new 128gb cards that should pretty easily replace the 16gb that we have in phones today. In the worst case currently you can always use a USB OTG + USB Drive (not as elegant but it works :))

    • James LaBarre

      > 2. Get rid of FAT and format the card in-device or otherwise and have
      > a
      driver/app for PC/Mac/*nx to access the files (system/users data as
      > well
      as media)

      That's where EXT3 would be ideal. It's already readily available on most Unix-type systems (except dinosaurs like AIX, which you'd never plug a tablet/phone into anyway), and has been implemented under a BSD license, so can be freely be ported to MSWin and Mac OS-X.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.whittley.75 David Whittley

    Great article, lets start a pressure group. Two weeks ago I upgraded from a SGSI to the Note 2. One of the first things I did, after reinstalling must have apps, was to download a lot of games that did not run well or were not available to the SI due to limited hardware. I then downloaded some of the newer graphic intense games to what the Note 2 was capable of. It of course coped galantly.
    With the better battery life on the Note 2 I also downloaded two playlist from Spotify.
    After just 10 days I had less than 3GB left of my internal memory. I went to the market to download apps2SD only to find that it was 'Not combatable

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.whittley.75 David Whittley

    Great article, lets start a pressure group. Two weeks ago I upgraded from a SGSI to the Note 2. One of the first things I did, after reinstalling must have apps, was to download a lot of games that did not run well or were not available to the SI due to limited hardware. I then downloaded some of the newer graphic intense games to what the Note 2 was capable of. It of course coped gallantly.
    With the better battery life on the Note 2 I also downloaded two playlist from Spotify.
    After just 10 days I had less than 3GB left of my internal memory. I went to the market to download apps2SD only to find that it was 'Not compatible' with my device. What! Uh! This can't be right. Samsung pokes fun at iphone users and even boast about the expandable storage of the Note 2 and SIII!
    So I now have in my *hands one of the most powerful hand held devices ever made with nearly no internal memory (over 3GB goes to the OS) and an empty, newly bought 32GB SD card. I can no longer buy any huge games or many more apps without removing/deleting the ones I have already purchased.
    Is this really what Google wants. Is this the message they want to send to game developers? Are we going to go back to the dark ages where games are sold on memory cards?
    *I do not have the Note 2 in my hands now as I dropped it. Unlike the SGS1 which has survived over 200 drops. My Note survived only one! I may have just been unlucky but let it be a warning for those considering buying. Don't go out unprotected.

    • jacob

      tl;dr - i'm mad cause i broke my phone.

      • http://www.facebook.com/david.whittley.75 David Whittley

        I'll shorten it for you. No apps2SD=stupid. No protective case = also stupid. ;-)

    • GraveUypo

      the app you're looking for is called "directory bind". works around the problem of not being able to install to sd. try it out.

      • http://www.facebook.com/david.whittley.75 David Whittley

        Thanks for that.

  • http://twitter.com/ElooieIV Edward Lewis

    with as Easy as it is to manager your music, videos, pictures, and Apps (and other content)from google play and/or your device the space isnt really a problem unless you are out in the middle of nowhere or on a 40 hour plane ride.

    • John O’Connor

      I agree completely, but are you flying on the spruce moose or something?

  • RenatoFontesTapia

    NO! We want SD cards and that's it...
    ¬¬ They are useful and awesome.

    Also, the nexus 4 isn't multiuser... and I actually didn't read the article xD

  • androidoclese

    All these compatibility arguments assume that I am going to put my sd card into a Windows machine, but I wouldn't do it with YOUR card and two condoms.
    Ext4 on linux is what you need, not bass ackwards file compatibility with dreck like Windows.

  • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

    I would assume the Nexus 4, along with all phones, lacks multiuser support because multiuser support makes no sense on a cell phone. Cell phones are single-user devices. They go with a person wherever the person goes. They don't stay at home on a coffee table, or get passed around at events. They're personal and remain personal except in exceptionally rare circumstances. Multiuser would just be too strange on a phone. But it's vital on a tablet.

  • missinginput

    I think google had it right the first time pre 2.2 the os and apps were on the phone and the media was on the sd card, this was only an issue because manufactures/carriers wanted to and still think < 1gb storage is acceptable.

    This 100% takes care of the "where are my files" problem and allows sd card while not letting poor sd card performance affect the phone.
    I guess it doesn't really address this multi user problem but I dont use that on my computer and doubt I will ever use it on a Android device.

  • Ittiam

    I do not understand the technicalities, but its kind of unbelievable that in the age of self driving cars, Google cannot come up with a solution that takes care of both user experience and SD card support....

    Atleast till they come up with the solution, Google could atleast provide 16 GB increments with $25 and provide higher memory options as well

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

      When you put it that way, it does sound unbelievable. Yet, here we are.

      • Ittiam

        Thats the best part of ignorance... Everything seems achievable :-)

  • The Seventh Son

    This is bullshit. Give me a Nexus with 1TB of built in storage and I'll give you $1000, it's that simple. Give your consumers some options dammit.

    • John O’Connor

      bring back the zack morris phone?!?!?! wasn't that a motorola original?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dgemus Don Gemus

    I don't get "power users" who use a variety of tech all day every day but can't put there nandroids, etc in dropbox or a external drive. Do you really need the last 8 backups/roms of your phone with you at all times. What possibly comes up where you need to flash a nandroid between work and home, or at the park, etc.??

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

      If I'm flashing different ROMs and stock back and forth, I can easily have a few backups spanning over a gig each with modern phones. I don't want to have to keep them in the cloud - it's just a matter of convenience. Again - I could store nothing at all on my phone, but it wouldn't be convenient and not the way I want to use it. I'm willing to pay extra for it, it's not that much to ask, really.

      I'm not even talking about LTE anymore - that's a battle we won't be for the foreseeable future.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dgemus Don Gemus

        I wasn't saying keep them in the cloud. What about a desktop or laptop? I am on one everyday and with dropbox they all stay synced. My phone stays free too.

  • xx00xx

    let me solve the problem:
    1)extsd/user1/
    2extsd/user2/
    3)sd encryption

    done

  • dobvlr

    dropbox or google drive is online drive. it require network connetction(3G or LTE). It drain battery life quickly. Also, read and write speed are much slower than most local SD card. SDcard is important feature.

  • Aloooo

    So they make phones with 1080p recording , where a video of 10 minutes could easily chew like 10% of the phone storage, and there is absolutely no way you could store this instantly on the cloud or stream it in a decent matter, and make no SD slot, what the hell?

    This whole thing doesnt make sense

    • Todd

      It does whn you factor in corporate never-ending thirst for money. Manufacturers want the latest tech to sell the newest, shiny flagship device, Google wants cloud info and revenue, Cell providers want to charge you out the ass for data plans.

  • http://twitter.com/JaytonGarnett Jayton Garnett

    Googles explanations are hyperbolic FUD. We've lived with SD cards for this long, we know how to manage them ourselves. Google are becoming more "Fruity" (see what I did there?) all the time and are becoming more and more like the controlling evil empire they say they're not. Multiuser or not, SD card support is going to be one of the main factors I consider when buying a phone. Microsoft have even implemented it on their Surface for **** sake! As times go on Google gives me more reasons to dump Android. I'd love a Nexus device, but WON'T be getting one until we have SD slots. Give corporates the option to disable SD slots if phones/tablets are shared. I've got a million other ideas on how to better secure media on SD cards. Google if you're listening, get in contact ;)

  • goonie

    I really want to buy a Nexus, but with the lack of flash player and killing off the sd card I dont think I can. Those were 2 of the reasons I felt that Android would fit for me. Now its like were trapped and everytime google says something is bougs we have to loose it. Whats next the headset jack?

    16 gb + the OS is not nearly enough space and the way the carriers act about data use the cloud is not feisable. Its actually a joke to use the cloud. Sure I can store crap in the cloud, but I download a couple MP3s and upload a video or 2 from my kids softball game and I have hit the cap and start to either get throtteld if I am lucky or incur fees.

    This could have been my first nexus overlooking flash, but a mere 14gb of storage after the OS I cant do. I can do it with tablets becuase I use them on my network. I can move and share data over my network and to the cloud easily from home. Not from my phone though I need the 32gb card now. Especially when they are only 20-40 bucks.

    Ah well excellent try google otherwise I love all 3 of the devices and Ill probably get 2 just not the phone.

  • Truth

    Gradually, the big G is threading the path of the fruit and we are still defending them. Firstly, the big G stopped flash support and now SD card. These are some of the most trashed out non features of the iproducts. Soon Google will make phones and tablets that won't have removable batteries and we will be quick to defend them again. Nice one bro. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

    • John Kiser

      Google didn't drop flash support adobe did and without adobe updating for use with newer versions of android there are bugs that pop up

  • JoeInMO

    It's all ridiculous. How many smartphones or tablets have true multi-users? Virtually none. People might want multiple profiles on the device, but not multiple owners, etc. The concept is baseless and flawed logic.

  • http://www.BaloneyGeek.com Boudhayan Gupta

    Windows 98 did have multiuser support. The profiles stayed in the WINDOWSProfiles[username] folder.

    • Scott

      It did, but everybody could access everybody's stuff. It was not secure at all. Then along came NTFS.

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

      But there was only one My Documents, and it wasn't really set up well for sharing. Think back to Windows 95.

  • FornuftFTW

    I don't like TouchWiz or the lacking developer support of Samsung exactly, but there's still not a better phone than S3 out there. SD-support and removable battery are absolute requirements. It's so incredibly nice to never have to worry about running out of space or battery. It's like a massive weight removed from my shoulders. I can download basically whatever I want on my S3 and run whatever I want without ever worrying. GPS and LTE always enabled - no problem.

    4200 mAh lasts quite long and if I run out for some weird reason (have just happened once when I forgot to charge during the night), it's really easy to change back to the origianal battery.

  • blakeow

    This seems like a huge mistake to me. I spent a long time trying to decide between an android device and an iPad and the thing that finally swayed me was the extra connectivity options and expandable storage. Now I can take a photo on my camera, pop out the SD card and look at it on my pad. Without any card slots I couldn't do this without a computer. Just seems like a huge step backwards.

  • kelpa32

    off topic : where is the FM Radio?

  • kojack

    I am using an Archos tablet with a 250gb ssd inside. That's the way Google needs to go. Screw the small storage. That would cause quite a stir in fruit land. We offer 64gb Max on tablets, Google says we offer 500gb built-in.

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

      But your Archos tablet is bulky and heavy - that's not the where OEMs and Google want Android tablets to go.

  • Andrew

    They really do need to properly address the complaints of the power users. 16Gb just isn't enough for the hardcore crowd, no matter how you look at it. I noticed today that The Bard's Tale alone is 3.35Gb, that is one giant game. It's a tablet game, sure, but who's to say we won't get more games of that size in the next 6 months? We will, bet on it.

    • John O’Connor

      I have this one and a few other memory hogging apps

  • http://twitter.com/Darkmyth_pt Darkmyth PT

    you know what i say to you google? Bullsh*t! if you really wanted you could make it work

  • http://twitter.com/Darkmyth_pt Darkmyth PT

    http://samsungtomorrow.com/3504 sammy is only talking about 16/32 in this pic

  • http://twitter.com/ptc_ ptc_

    Sorry, but that arguments seem all like bullshit to me:

    - Google could simply format an SD-card using ext4 etc. Google could even encrypt it by default afterwards to hinder users from pulling it off the device and get unauthorized access to data.

    - You can't really inter-operate with desktop computers, when using a Nexus device because of that MTP crap. So nothing would change at the end if the SD-card had an ext4 fs on it - simply go on using MTP.

    The thing is, that Google on the one hand tries to push their cloud-based solutions and on the other hand does not want to throw away with the other companies like Samsung, HTC, Sony. Cause: If Google sells a nearly perfect device no one is going to buy other devices.

  • gladgura

    Here's an idea. If the MicroSD cards are a problem for consumers keep the all Nexus devices as they are without the card slots. But then offer a developer version of the Nexus line that offers the MicroSD slot at a slightly higher cost.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      A small part of me wants to yell.

      The Nexus line is the developer version. I know it doesn't look that way anymore, but that was the reason for the Nexus program. Nexus devices are intended to be open source (as much as possible) and feature unlockable bootloaders so that developers can easily flash multiple versions of Android onto the hardware for testing purposes.

      Funny enough, I was thinking earlier that the Nexus line is exactly what needs to have sd slots so developers can properly test support for devices that do include memory cards.

  • Theo Ntogiakos

    I don't mind the non-expandable memory as long as they give me enough options. In my case I can probably just make do with 16GB if I backup and remove my photos and videos regularly (probably not a bad thing either ) but I would like to have at least 32GB for when I go abroad (or to places with no 3g coverage which is not uncommon) and the cloud is not an option and I want to have movies, music and other stuff on the phone.

    I really want to buy the N4 but I think I might hold off because I reckon the 32GB won't be far off, kind of like the N7... I got the 16GB version in July and now I could have gotten the 32GB version for the same money or spend a bit more (which I would) and get the 32GB/3g.

    I applaud Google for keeping the prices remarkably low which means that we don't have to commit on a 2-year contract with no stinking carrier, but they should learn a thing or two from Apple on how to launch products!

  • Pb

    But sd its very cool to save / share our files, it's like /best a usb host, and when you change your phone don't need restore this files....

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Werner-Salinas/707962640 Werner Salinas

    We need sd cards!!!!!!! Ok

  • http://www.gmachine.net GMachine.net

    Everyone is turning mobile devices into storage banks. I stream my music from Google, I sync my pictures to box (then syncs to home), and movies I swap out a few every trip. This has always kept my space usage down and left my external usage to a minimum. I completely understand everyone's complaints, but with a little reasonable maintenance current on device storage should be acceptable.

  • Mr. Mark

    This is 2012... computers and technology run this world and as such people need to start getting familiar with them instead of staying ignorant by always choosing the option that is the absolute easiest and less thought-provoking for the consumer (ex: everything works straight out of the box without any user intervention or thought [read: apple devices]). They're rewarding those who don't want to put any effort into cognitive thought or reasoning and punishing those who do.

    If Google is so interested in giving us options with it's Android system, then give us options with SD Cards, too; stop forcing it on us. Giving a simple warning such as "Warning: All files stored on your SD Card are available to anyone who uses this device. Click here for more information." is plenty. We're not idiots, and most people who buy Android tablets are not idiots either and are at least more technologically inclined to do their fair share of research than most Apple users. I'm not saying to ignore those people who can't understand items such as this, I'm simply requesting Google not enable this whole "it should just work the way I want it to without any thought" mentality. Consumers are getting stupid because of it and it's preventing product innovation (isn't that the point of bringing out new products?) which in turn is limiting what I can buy.

  • V3dran

    Great article, thank you!

  • Tim Harper

    I don't know much about programming, but couldn't you have multiple sd card slots for separate users? And low storage options divided between multiple users becomes a significantly larger issue. it's just not enough to share...I sure as heck don't want another monthly bill so I can use cloud services. The push to cloud is frustrating. I understand they need to make money, but if you push me into a corner with no other options, I'm going to rebel and move somewhere where choice is offered.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      How would manufacturers know how many slots to include in a device? Even more to the point, with more than a couple of slots, manufacturers are ultimately going to have to make devices thicker to accommodate multiple cards. If OEMs weren't willing to make devices thicker to allow for larger batteries, they'd never go for this.

      Seriously though, the better way is to organize personal data into separate folders for each user (the same way it's done on every other OS already) and encrypt anything that is considered private. When this whole thing works itself out (and it will if Google ever wants Android to move onto the desktop), that's how it will inevitably have to be.

  • IncCo

    Multiuser support doesnt exist on PHONES! Doesnt explain anything. Just another excuse. However, id be perfectly fine with the lack of an SD card slot if the nexus 4 came in a 32 gb variant.

  • Stewart Higgins

    Multiple users on a phone? Why is this needed?

    • Scott

      Good question. I'd rather have the ability for encrypted, removable storage.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      I feel like I'm cheating, but @archon810:disqus gave a good example about 3 months ago.

      http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/07/30/multiple-user-accounts-are-coming-miles-of-code-is-already-in-aosp-and-some-of-it-is-quietly-working-on-devices-right-now/#comment-603194229

      I will grant you, I don't think it's an actual 'need' as much as it is a feature that might be convenient to a few people. I can think of a few other scenarios where it might be useful. I know a couple that don't have much money to work with and when they got their first cell phone (just over a year ago), they were sharing it. I doubt they would have set up multiple accounts, but the option might have been nice for them.

      I also think it would be very useful for some developers, especially indy developers who use their primary phone as a development device. With this feature, they can active a developer account for testing things that might alter their contact list while switching over to their personal account when they are done working for the day. I've personally had this need in the past, so I'm confident that it's quite real.

      • Stewart Higgins

        Convenient to a few people, eh? Much in the same way that expandable storage is convenient to a few people. Sorry, but expanadable storage is going to be useful to a few more than multi-user support.

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

          I agree, I don't feel that multi-user support is going to see nearly as much use as expandable storage already does, even on tablets. I'm just saying there are reasons some people would like to have multi-user support on phones (in addition to tablets).

          It's absolutely absurd to believe that having one feature excludes having the other.

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

      I really wanted this ability when I wanted to give my wife the Nexus for her trip to Europe (she's on Sprint with an incompatible phone). Rather than resetting it or removing all my stuff, I'd rather create a user for her and bam - problem solved.

      • FrillArtist

        How often does that happen to warrant multi user over SD card?

  • JCB

    Speaking as a consumer, and one who has just bought a tablet, I regard a card slot as a necessity. I bought my tablet shortly after the Nexus 7 was announced. Because it did not have a card slot, it was eliminated from my shortlist. For years now, all my devices have had SD or microSD - MP3, camera, DVD, laptop, PC, everything except the TV which only has USB, but then the DVD is always connected and that does have SD.

    If SD slots are eliminated from Android tablets, then I will but something else in future, maybe an Aliyun device. Unless of course something better comes along, like cloud access with guaranteed 100% access, or a memory chip grafted into my hand and NFC.

    The arguments raised against SD slots are all non-issues for me. I don't want a multiuser tablet. Android tablets are cheap and getting cheaper. My tablet is for my use only, except to let someone read an article I wish to show them.
    Anyone who wants to make serious use of a tablet will want one of their own, and that is an affordable option. A tablet is much more personal than a PC ever was. The issues raised against SD slots have never had any traction in the personal computer world. In cases where slots are a security risk, like banks, they physical disable USB and card slots, by filling them wich glue in some cases.

  • mike stanley

    You could have another settings checkbox where the sd card port is disabled by default and you have to click 'i'm not a moron i can use this thing' to enable it.

  • http://www.marciobm.com/ Márcio Matielo

    About that second part, multiuser:
    - I'm pretty sure lots of computers out there have, let's say Windows, Mac or Ubuntu installed
    - I'm pretty sure lots of computers out there have only one HDD installed
    - I'm pretty sure lots of computers out there are being used by an entire family and they all have their system files separated from each other, on windows, personal configurations of files are separated and isolated by the use of user folders, if you want to you can encrypt your user folder with your files, if you want, at least on Windows and Ubuntu computers.

    I'm pretty sure that its more a matter of just wanting to do, then a problem, it's pretty doable.

    About the first problem:
    - All it takes is force the user to format his card using a file system that protects him better. NTFS or EXT. Other thing that is pretty doable either. And I'm not sure, but I think Android can already write/read on a EXT formated memory, but I could be wrong.

    And please, correct if I'm wrong ;)

  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ootpapps.saving.made.simple&feature Out of the Park Apps

    For me, not a huge media consumer, the cloud is sufficient. I also use a network drive at home for my own cloud, it's great.

  • Odoyle

    DLP (Data Loss Prevention). SD should be treated the same as a thumb drive in a computer... If you need secure data, your company should be providing a means to secure it on your phone, regardless. MDM is a growing tech, and the issue of data integrity/security is being addressed by every major competitor.

    Also, as the need arises for personal use, developers would be wise to create a product for those of us to secure our own data..

  • jlschulz098

    I cant seriously believe that having multiple user accounts is a massive neednin thenreal world. possibly a couple tablet users might like it, but for a phone ???? Between the two, Ill take the sd storage every time. the real reason is simple, money. they want to sell you a monthly plan for cloud storage, its that simple. They see it as their next major revenuenstream and they will force you into it by reducing onboard memory and not adding sd card support face it folks itsma transparent money grabbing scheme

  • Matthew Fry

    Good golly, if it comes to it, I'll take a soldered in 64GB microSD card if it'll quadruple my storage capacity, Google.

  • SoWhy

    If the problem is multi-user, just store the files that shouldn't be shared in a way that only the user creating them can access them - like encrypting them based on the account used. Can't be that hard to figure out

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/no6969el Noel Barcellos

    I do not know why this conversation has gone on so long, seriously if they would have just offered a 32 gb option for preorder they would be able to determine how many people really do want it and problem solved.

  • Anton Gl

    May be using SD card occurs some issues - media scanning, some undefined methods and file systems (ext3, FAT), others. Okay, I ready for using only onboard memory, but, if it will have more reasonable prices. I suppose, that pay for additional 16 GB onboard storage is cheating, 'cause it costs less than 10 USD for manufacturer.

  • jj14x

    Just thinking aloud - if the security and separating user data are the primary issues, couldn't Google provide an option to encrypt the SD card, and create expandable partitions for each user (user directory/profile - similar to how windows does it on their desktop OS)?
    Users would have to let go of FAT formatting, fine. (If user needs to copy/paste files, and doesn't want to use wireless, use a USB cable). User won't be able to move the SD card over to another phone. Ok - restrict that. (it should certainly be possible to back up app data to the cloud or to a connected computer, but that is a different issue).
    (or do it like some windows phone do - the user doesn't have the ability to choose where the data is stored - the SD card blends in with internal storage - indistinguishable. Just adds on more storage)
    My two cents

  • John O’Connor

    lmao @ "trying to rescue files off a phone that no longer powers on after taking a dive into my dog's water bowl."

  • Eric G

    Can't Google make an Android driver for the PC which makes a handshaking with the active users, so that only the SD content of that user is visible, in let say Windows Explorer, and if somebody hasn't this Android driver or place the SD direct into a PC, it will see only a bunch of encrypted files on a FAT partition?

  • Michel

    Okay, say it's not possible to combine multiuser with an SD card. Why on earth does a phone need MU support? MU for a tablet is great so just include more internal flash, that's okay. But a phone simply does not need MU suppor. No one needs that, Google! ...or am I wrong? Tell me!

  • JeffColorado

    Fine...restrict any phone with multi-user support on it to internal storage only. The SD slot is still there if we don't want MU support.

    Ta-daa..I have just solved your problem for you Google. You're fucking welcome. Now stop taking away all my fucking options.

  • grellanl

    Well put. I want to be able to use SDcards, for their proper purpose - external, removable storage. App data and per-user data should all be on secure, fast internal storage, and they've made big strides since Honeycomb (though we seriously need bigger options for internal storage) - but they still haven't fixed SD support; it's been a shambles since the Nexus One.

    AOSP based ROMs have had no problem implementing great ways to handle SD, it's certainly possible to do it right.

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

    Sorry, this one is sorta long, but I gave a tl;dr ending to it ;)

    There are a lot of people suggesting a switch to different filesystems as if it would solve problems for multiple users on a single device. Honestly, it won't, it can't, and it really never will. @marcusmaximus04 made a comment that really strikes at the heart of why it can't work, that user id mismatches are a problem when moving the memory card to another device. The problem goes deeper though.

    These are the important criteria we're going for with memory cards:

    1) Separation of User Data (making it multi-user)
    2) Portability
    3) File Integrity (preventing other people from deleting/modifying files).
    4) Privacy & Security

    If you already have a technical understanding of how filesystems work in Linux or Windows, or you just don't care, maybe read the next paragraph and then skip to the tl;dr at the end.

    The thing that separates most desktop OS's from Android is that all of a user's data is also stored on the same physical drive as their account information, resulting in the user's data following around their profile. In theory, you can always move a hard drive (or set of drives) to a working computer, boot up on that drive with your user account, and your files are working normally. Theoretically, if a user id is tied to a single device rather than your Google account (or some other recoverable number), you're screwed if anything ever happens to your phone. Your user account is stored in internal memory while data is on the sd card. I say 'theoretically' because it's not likely to be the case...here's why...

    Almost all current filesystems expect software to enforce permissions externally. The data about the file's owner and permissions are stored in the filesystem, but it's only extra data, it is only there so the OS can look at it and decide what to do with it. Think of it like a dressing room door that has somebody's name on it, but there's no lock or security guard unless somebody is paying to have the door guarded. If you move that sd card to a device that doesn't enforce those filesystem permissions, then there's no security in place. A super common practice with failed Windows machines was to boot up Linux with NTFS support, and all of those files were completely available (less common now that Windows does encryption). In all practicality, the only thing the filesystem permissions can do for us is to put a roadblock between a brother and sister to keep them from deleting each other's files. That might help a bit with Integrity, but it's not actual security.

    There are some filesystems that specifically support file encryption, but why switch to something that isn't compatible with all current OS's when the operating system and apps can support encryption at a higher level?

    The next reason people suggest an alternate filesystem is that it will magically solve collisions between files that want to be named the same. That's not how filesystems work. I don't want to make this super long in explaining it, so just look it up if you don't get it. It's really the job of the OS to help maintain some conventions. Filesystems exist to keep files from becoming corrupted or overwritten by unrelated data, they give us a way to track who is allowed to read/edit/execute files, and they might give us special features (like versioning and metadata). The solution to preventing filename collisions is simply to create folders that are distinct for each user and push developers to follow the guidelines for these folders. Hey, it worked for Windows...eventually.

    tl;dr
    The only way to solve multi-user in relation to sd cards (and internal memory too) is to have folders that separate each user's data. That is the 1st criteria. By keeping FAT32 as the filesystem, we maintain portability and meet the 2nd criteria. The one and only thing lost by remaining with FAT32 is the ability to prevent other users from modifying other people's files directly from that device. We can meet the 3rd criteria (keeping sis from deleting my save games) with hidden files. Every major desktop OS today is already doing tons with hidden files, so it's completely precedented and would easily give us a simple cheat to accomplish filesystem permissions. As for Privacy/Security, just encrypt anything that needs to be kept private. Android can add a few API's and a couple of security features (just like Microsoft did with Windows Vista, it's called EFS). 4th criteria...check.

    There are good reasons to change the default filesystem on sd cards. However, that change needs to be industry-wide and all major OS's need to be on board with supporting it. Nothing about supporting multi-user mode gives us any compelling demand on switching to a different filesystem.

  • Nashoba Darkwolf

    I was so happy they were releasing the Nexus 10 until i found it had no SD or Micro SD card slot. Sorry but I use my micro SDXC and my SDXC cards for photography in my Canon 7D. I have software on my TF700T that works with CR2 Raw files. I use those SD card slot and microSD card slot all the time when I am on the road doing photography and video shoots at conventions.

  • IDunno

    Can't Android simply require the SD be formatted EXT4 (or whatever) before it will use it?

    • ZeSoul

      Cant someone please recognize the genuis of Google?

      It gave to us a ferrari (The Nexus 10) limited to 160 Km/h ... Each time you exceed speed you get automatically charged... It brilliant... Just brilliant! ;)

      8 GB -> A fast planned obsolescence

      16 GB-> A (little less) fast planned obsolescence

      Can't you imagine hearing someone (hint... name starts with G) stating: " Why put octo cores or memory or flash space or change your smartphone every year when our servers have 100's of time more power there to work for you?..." ( Angel Halo floating here). In Android 10.x Caramel Soap (invented :) ) you won't event have to install apps... You'll just have to use it with wifi or 3G when on the road... You'll pay for them or be gunned with adverts like its already happening in 'free apps'!

      Here lies our fate... Those (like me) who still value petty things like 'privacy, 'control over my content', portability of storage when moving to another phone, freedom to operate away from the internet will soon be out of the 'game' in the same way Palm/PDA users are today... With no support, no manufacturer actively upgrading hardware and disapearing app development... Think of the hundreds of useful and working Palm apps 10 years ago.

      The Devil often lies in the detail! ;)

  • Asphyx

    All of these so called problems is easily worked around including the Fat32 issue.
    And I don't buy the SD cards as meant for media either because Android throws a load of crap onto them the second you put one in a unit that is NOT media and makes finding media a mess!
    First off to solve the permission and multiuser issues is pretty easy. Don't use the Fat32 format and reformat into a linux partition only. Then have androidOS share the space with other computers as a shared network drive (when connecteb by USB or BT) that other computers can send files to as easily as they send them to any server.
    That could easily allow Multiuser space via login to send files. This shouldn't be such an issue at all.
    What is more likely the problem is they would prefer you don't carry around your own media and instead buy it all from thier store instead.
    I say either they need to start putting more ram in the units or get with the program and allow us to expand the available ram via SD card.
    Confused or Inexperienced users is not an adequate excuse for denying experienced and POWER users from using the units the way they should be used.

  • Lennart

    Oh for crying out loud.
    Google, just use EXT4 instead of FAT32, and combine that with intelligent encryption and key management.
    I'm sure the fella's at TrueCrypt would help if you asked nicely and remembered to give them some kudos.

    There, problem solved and no reason to ditch SD-Card slots.
    Now EVERYONE's happy and eating cake while wearing silly hats.

    Just do it already, no If's not but's DO IT!!

  • Erik Patrón Coral

    Just as with my cellphone i'm saving my money for a tablet with the right price and the right specs, Google or not Google. I bought my Xperia Neo because of the balance with price and specs. If Google doesnt put a 200-250 dls with SD slot and a decent processor on the table i wont buy it, i'll wait for another manufacturer, it's just as simple as that, i'm the client i have the money and its my choice, Google can continue with more excuses but i dont care, i want SD storage.

  • Pedro

    I like android devices because you can increase the storage on most of them

  • Jack Wills

    Why don't Google disable the apps2sd feature on the latest phones (4.2 and above), and then have the SD cards available just for multimedia...... Especially as modern phones have more internal storage just for apps..... The SD card is still used on other phones, so why doesn't Google restrict apps from accessing them, unless its media related ie video player

  • huygens

    I call BS on all this. If fat is not secure develop a secure file system....if there is a path issue, solve it with links or penalize developers that break the rules going forward. It's google, they created an interactive electronic earth for heaven's sake. On top of all this, I call BS because it's a phone. These are personal devices typically not shared at a level needing multi users. I know of no ruckus being made over not having multiple users on cell phone. Now that would be confusing to end users. Tablets, ok, some will want this....mostly business environments. Phones.....no. And even on tablets, I want a damn sd card. I have been a fan of google for some time. Bought the original Nexus 1. Still have it, use it as a google house phone now. Waited for their tablet....almost bought it till I found out there was no sd card slot....bought a competitors....same now with Nexus 4. Google, fix this or I will keep buying from vendors that are not being stupid.

  • http://twitter.com/CesarsColony Cesars Colony

    After reading as much as possible on the web I finally got a copy of ES File Explorer off Google Store and edited my platform.xml and I am now delighted to say my removable media is now writable. Full details here http://www.basic4ppc.com/forum/basic4android-updates-questions/26219-make-external-media-writable.html#post151701

  • http://twitter.com/PraeGuard Flemming Jacobsen

    My problem is that at 64 gig I would max out my phone right away even as i got it in my hands. I got the 16gig S3 4G and a 64Gig SD card in it. A 32 Gig card wasn't enough.

    What i suggest is to keep the app data etc on the phone as they presently do, and then allow people to use the SD card like a kind of removable storage. Ie for audio books, movie files etc.

    That way you can keep the security in the multiuser environment. The only thing people would then have to make sure, was that any audio/video files on the real SD card was supposed to be accessible to all :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/Sylve5ter Sly Cooper

    I know what I am talking about when I say that it is lazy engineers at work here (or not at work).

    All of these problems could be solved.

    I am not going to let Google tell me how much storage I can have and in what form it is.

    16 GB is ridiculous in a world where a music collection verges on 200 GB.

  • bite me

    Utter Bullshit! Who shares there freakin highend phone? nobody...
    I get this arguement for tablets, but on my phone? Combine this with google play not "allowing" music you purchase to be downloaded to sd & it is obvious they want to own what you "purchased" & control what you put on your phone...
    Fuck them they promised to be anti-apple bullshit.... For shame google is headin down the steve jobs infonazi path

  • bite me

    Also, adding your own data (music) to g.play gets it altered changes album art, and i hear it changes it to clean version tracks so who is to say they don't delete your ripped files, report you for copyright bs etc (on your own data)
    Besides, don't be niave, everything you upload to google is added to there greedy info pool (google hates private info)

  • kugu

    Google wants us always on line. Simple.

  • mschwanke97402

    Phones and tablets are powerful, yet simple, personal devices. The intimate relationship between user and handheld device plus the ease and simplicity compared to computers and laptops are why the devices have caught fire. Adding multi-user support is adding complexity. Do really really need this?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-Tarantino/1717872026 Anthony Tarantino

    Bullshit. PC's have multiple profiles, yet we can still use external hard drives and SD cards. The solution is partitioning the hard drive. Each profile uses a different partition of the hard drive.

    Microsoft and Google blocking SD cards for app storage is a huge issue that needs to be rectified. Internal storage on tablets and smartphones is minuscule, so having an SD card for app storage is the next logical step to solving this problem.

  • Nika

    if they wanted to add sd card support they would managed it easily
    just format sd card to appropriate file system which android support ( make simple tool for that in device or pc ) and forget permission stuff
    its removable storage how it can have permissions ? no matter what permissions you do it will be still accessible from other device unless you encrypt sd card
    does usb flash drives have problems with multi user on different linux devices ? NO!
    so there's some benefits for google for not doing that otherwise they would have done that easily, it's clear that google is changing its politics and don't really want to see google ending up crap like apple

  • Lauren Glenn

    These reasons are idiotic for preventing SD cards..... Want to know how to do it? Mount the SD card with a folder that corresponds to your Google ID and make it so the programs don't know the difference..... problem solved.

  • Douglas Walrath

    why not have apps stored on internal memory and things like mp3's and videos stored on the sd card and share between users?

  • nigratruo

    FAT does not support file permissions? Well, change it then to something that does. Use ext4. Get support for ext4 in Windows and Mac then, what is the problem? Or make sure that the SD card can be shared over the device, instead of popped out and inserted into a card reader. The problem is going to only get bigger and bigger, FAT sucks already so bad, that is not going to get better. I can't believe we are still using something as stupid and half baked as that.

    Also, formating a 64 GB with FAT seems as dumb as taking your bicycle on a 120 km/h road way, it just cannot satisfy that task anymore.

    The problems with multi-user support as a excuse for not wanting to provide a SD card slot is really really dumb and unbelievable. A Tablet or Phone that does not have a SD card slot is a K.O. critera, a total non-buy!

  • dannzy

    Google knows damn good and well what They are doing. They will put the least amount of storage on phones because they want you to use their cloud service and make money ,look at more of your information you gladly hand over.....its bullshit....I've had android phones work fine that have external SD cards.

  • ZZ

    It would be nice if android phones have 2 micro sd card slots -
    then android can run RAID type array or even a stripe array.
    -
    if android phones have 2 micro sd slots the phone would be much usable for power users.
    the phone could use 1 micro sd card for active use i.e. photos and videos would write to it
    and the 2nd micro sd card for backup and storage of apps videos games and stuff.

  • aahfeekiee

    if Google is so worried about hackers and about their money running away; why don't they create SD cards which are only compatible with Nexus devices? One that cannot be hacked on a PC but can be transferred to the next Nexus device that you use?

    I only use my 2 SanDisk Class 10 microSD 64 GB cards to store music and videos (filled to the brim) on my Tab 2 7.0 and Xperia Z. I don't fancy using cloud service because I'm not online all of the time. Turning on 3G mobile data consumes too much battery; I'd rather not leave it on when I only use it for Twitter.

  • James LaBarre

    Let's put it this way, then. Removable storage is a non-negotiable requirement for any device I buy. If the manufacturer would rather make mealy-mouthed excuses rather than provide that removable memory (I guess feeble excuses don't intrude on the CEO's donut & sushi budget nearly as much as actually providing what the customer wants), then their device automatically gets disqualified in any purchasing considerations. It already lost them a sale last week when my brother was looking at tablets. He went with the Samsung, which at least provides the storage customers are demanding. If the Nexus can't do that, I hope they get **NO** sales of the units.

    • Todd

      They've already lost 3 nexus sales from me over this ridiculous stance. I bought the first Nexus 7 tablet, ran out of room quick, didn't and won't go back for another round.

  • Vinny

    I feel like Google removed the sd card from nexus devices because they wanted to make it easier on their developers, but the thing is, developers are the minority. We the consumers have never had a problem with sd cards and used the them to brag about to iPhone users. They provide almost instant file transfers from phones. And when had a developer ever said "This sd card is to hard to program around I wish it wasn't there. " Because there isn't an sd card, I chose an s3 over a nexus.

    • James LaBarre

      > And when had a developer ever said "This sd card is to hard to
      > program around I wish it wasn't there...

      Seems to me if they're that incompetent, they shouldn't be programming. We already have MSWindows, we don't need any *more* code developed by idiots.

  • Jesse Griffin

    The thought of buying an easter basket full of nexus 7,s crossed my mind lol jk........idk how to put movies on a SD chip using otg cable and nexus media importer

  • http://wp.me/Igbc Prattle On, Boyo

    So much bullshit from an alleged innovator...yawn. Multiusers are jus' too hard fer us to accommodate an SD card. Really Google?
    Sell it to the n00bs who can't distinguish between an Andoid platform vs. the vastly overpriced I-garbage.

  • Todd

    Yeah, I don't want a harddrive in my laptop either. I'll just rip that sucker out after this post so Linux doesn't run into any multiuser issues that they or Windows haven't encountered in decades. Android phones have much more functioanility of an actual PC than an iPhone does, so yeah, they NEED additional space. Most games take up over 1gig of space alone!

    So screw Google's products til they see the light, I'll continue buying Samsung who seem to be the only ones in the Android game with any sense left.

  • VampireDuck

    Ok, so having SDs formatted with FAT, may cause issues.

    So format with a proprietary system. Ok, it would not be compatible with desktops and other devices, but having no SD card slot also offers no compatibility with those devices.

    Also, Android as standard does not support apps running of SD, although I believe Samsung support it in alterations. Well, Samsung/Sony etc could give a choice, format in FAT to allow compatibility with other devices, or a new bespoke Android format to allow full feature set such as running apps off SD.