18
Apr
dutta

Koushik Dutta, better known as "Koush" to the Android power user community, was one of the original Cyanogen, Inc. employees when the company incorporated last year. But he's been giving Android users some great stuff for much longer than that: most people's first exposure to his work comes from ClockworkMod, still one of the most widely-used custom recoveries available, not to mention various tools like ROM Manager, ClockworkMod Tether, and DeskSMS. Lately he's been expanding into more general apps like Helium Backup and AllCast.

Dutta left Cyanogen, Inc. last month to focus on his own professional app development under the ClockworkMod brand. He was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about the company, his upcoming plans, and Android and Google in general.

DSC_0021.1

Photo credit: Koushik Dutta, Google+

What sort of development work did you do for Cyanogen? Will these items continue under different developers now that you're gone?

Koushik Dutta: Day to day development work was actually not a large part of my activities at Cyanogen, actually. I certainly missed that aspect. I was responsible for recruiting, product and project management, technical guidance, strategy, et cetera. When I did have time to code, I'd primarily help out on GalleryNext and CM Installer (recovery/device bits). Voice+ was built by me, and that is complete. I also did the initial prototype of PushSMS (succeeded by WhisperPush). All those projects have been actively developed by engineers other than myself.

And of course, I'll continue contributing on the open source side of CyanogenMod.

Android Police: Do you have any projects in particular that you're going to be focusing on as you leave Cyanogen?

Koush: AllCast and Mirror for the immediate term. I have to start on a ROM Manager rewrite, which is long overdue. I also want to explore some ideas I've had around icon packs and widgets, and making the experience around them better.

AP: Can you detail your further plans for AllCast features? Where do you see the app going in the next year?

Koush: My vision has been a device and cloud agnostic solution for viewing photos and videos on a TV. I love the idea of being able to be at my friend's house, and then casting a movie from my Dropbox or Drive to their TV. I don't know what is connected to my friend's TV, but they probably have something supported by AllCast. That's what I would consider a "wow" moment.

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At this point, I'm already covering most TV set top boxes, and will continue adding support for different cloud sources. The UI around folders/pictures needs to be cleaned up a bit. I am also writing a AllCast Chrome extension that lets you view media on your computer, even if you are not home. Beyond that, I think automatically downloading movie/tv metadata and subtitles would be a great experience.

And with root, I can experiment with a few more fun ideas: mirror to a Apple TV or Fire TV, send your Android audio to your Sonos, etc. Add an AllCast button to any app using Xposed.

AP: What do you think Google did right and wrong about the Chromecast launch and the way they handled independent developers and modders?

Koush: From my lunch with some of the Chromecast team members, the success of the Chromecast completely caught them off guard. Given their odd whitelisted SDK process, their closing down of undocumented APIs, and lack of communication, it initially made me wonder how open the platform would really be to developers. I wasn't prepared to invest a large amount of time with no clarity on the future of the platform.

nexusae0_CR5

There was a lack of communication here, and that made me suspect they didn't know what their policy would be, and they seemed just as unsure during our chat. They had an unexpected hit on their hands, and were unprepared. In any case, everything has turned out for the best, and I'm a huge fan of the direction they are taking with the Chromecast.

AP: ClockworkMod Recovery has been largely surpassed by TWRP. Will you be continuing or expanding your custom recovery at this point?

Koush: ClockworkMod serves a purpose: disaster recovery and backup/restore. I don't plan to expand it beyond that scope, as I want it to remain a simple, portable, recovery. I'm content with where it's at, and as a project I consider it to be "done". That said, there are many power users that want something more advanced, which is where TWRP fills a gap.

I think a separate product (like TWRP) could arise here, should I choose to build it. I've joked about booting Android in recovery. This need could also be met by allowing TWRP flashing through ROM Manager, for example, and I'm considering doing that as well.

AP: You've been an enthusiastic early adopter of Glass. What do you think of Android Wear - is Google's approach better or worse than Pebble, Sony, or Samsung, and why?

Koush: Google realizes that wearables are a new platform, and unlike the other companies mentioned, they have a storied history of building successful platforms: Chrome, Android, App Engine, et cetera. Google will win over the developer mind share (something Samsung, despite all their efforts and market dominance, still struggles with), and probably have the dominant ecosystem as a result.

nexusae0_Moto360_Hero_full-view_Leather_RGB

Though I'm not a fan of Glass in its current incarnation (I don't wear glasses), I like the direction it is heading. At this point, Google is held back by what is technologically capable in hardware right now. Once they have a Glass contact lens, I'm on board. What Google is doing right here is evangelism. Glass, by all rights, has the potential to be very creepy and controversial. With Google's exclusivity, marketing, and their trickle-based referral rollout, they are making sure that the right Explorers are getting glass, and championing it to the world on Google's behalf. They're doing an excellent job at gradually gaining societal acceptance, which needs to be recognized.

AP: What's your position on the SD card access situation in Android 4.4?

Koush: The SD card needs to go away. It's a nightmare for developers. There's too much variability here. SD Cards can be slow, resulting in poor app performance. They can come and go, or be swapped, and that results in unpredictable behavior if an app was expecting an SD card. One contiguous block of data needs to become the standard here (with different OEM SKUs for more/less storage), as it has been on iOS since the first iPhone.

AP: How do you think that Google could be better serving Android developers?

Koush: They're doing a pretty awesome job. I don't really have any suggestions here on the developer side. On the design side, I'd like to see them deprecate Holo dark.

What are your most-wanted features from new versions of Android?

Koush: As mentioned before, a new revision of Holo. Current Holo dark/light system themes are monochromatic and dull. Google doesn't even abide by the "Holo" defaults provided by the system, as evidenced by their Play apps. There's "Holo" as seen in the system apps, and then there's "Holo" as seen in Google Apps. I'm not sure which is the real Holo. Google's design is bright and playful, no pun intended. I want to see that bleed into AOSP.

AP: Do you have any tips for aspiring Android developers who want to achieve independence and do Android development full time?

Koush: Boy do I. I'm actually thinking about doing a talk at the Big Android BBQ on exactly this topic. I've had a few successes and many failures during my 5-year journey with indie Android development.

My main advice is teach yourself to become a full stack engineer. Learn Android, learn web development, and learn design. There are plenty of opportunities to make a high five- to low six-figure salary by attacking projects that would typically not be worth the time of a small engineering team. One person with a broad skillset can tackle it economically.

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Koush at the 2013 Big Android BBQ. Image credit: Russell Holly, Geek.com.

My other bit of advice is to fail quickly; don't spin your wheels on a project that will never take off. And keep trying.

AP: Can I take your yacht out for a joy ride? How many yachts do you own?

Koush: ...

AP: Thanks so much for your time.

You can follow Koushik Dutta on Google+ and Twitter... or right here, since most of his work ends up on Android Police in some way or another. If you want more in-depth insight from the Cyanogen, Inc. team, check out our interview with recent hire François "Supercurio" Simond.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • mustbepbs

    Android Police: Do you have any projects in particular that you're going to be focusing on as you leave Cyanogen?

    "Koush: AllCast and Mirror for the immediate term*."

    *Until I get bored and leave paying users with a bug-ridden mess of an app that has many features that barely work.

    • Laszlo Demeter

      Like Helium....kinda agree with you.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        And ROM Manager

        • ᕙ(⇀‸↼‶)ᕗ

          ROM Manager is pointless, overpriced app (referring to the premium key I purchased in the GB days) that charges extra for flashing a touch recovery. I'm happy with TWRP :)

          • Jeremy Martin

            You do know you can go to http://builder.clockworkmod.com and build your own touch recovery right? You do not need to pay for the premium app for that. I bought the premium app just to support his work. Guy puts in work for apps we use why not support him?

          • ᕙ(⇀‸↼‶)ᕗ

            I bought the app back when I was an android noob in 2011 and this builder wasn't available at the time. I guess if you want to support the guy then go ahead and purchase rom manager.

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            well that's pretty much the only reason to buy the premium license... I haven't actually ever used the app once, but hey - it's always nice to have such a tool available, and I appericate that by giving a few bucks to Koush

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            ROM Installer by Jrummy FTW!

    • Gaurav Arora

      Frankly, that's like any other developer out there. If one thinks that this is what he practices (which he does lol), then they can choose not to buy and contribute towards his apps. Agreed?

      • mustbepbs

        Trust me, I don't. I don't support Kovdev anymore either because of the Tersus 2.0 BS.

        • brkshr

          I'm guessing there was a 1.0 and he made everyone pay again for 2.0?

          I've been using 2.0 for a couple months and he seems to update more frequently than I thought he would. I'm happy so far.

          • mustbepbs

            Yeah, he "lost" 1.0, and for some reason he decided it would be a good idea to make the people who paid for 1.0 pay for 2.0 because of his mistakes of not backing things up properly.

            That's the day he lost me as a customer.

          • Nathaniel Webb

            He did not lose Tersus. The .keystore file used to sign the app became corrupted meaning he could no longer upload updates to the developer console. Since you can't submit updates with apk's using different signatures, he was left without a choice. Might not wanna talk outta your ass on that one.

          • mustbepbs

            He didn't do proper backups.

            "A few weeks ago, we encountered a data loss during a system migration. Unfortunately, the keystore for Tersus was corrupted and unrecoverable. Before we go into what this means for you, let’s talk about why this matters."

            Straight from the horse's mouth: http://www.kovdev.com/tersus-2-0-an-unexpected-journey/

          • Chapa

            That is what he did for Tersus 1.0, and now it doesn't update it anymore (you even have to take it from your App History at the Play Store because a simple search won't do)

        • Milind Shah

          What happened?

    • http://techsym.com/ cubanresourceful

      That's a very startling and scary trend software development has always had and is getting worse (I'm not particularly singling out Koush, the only app I have of his is AllCast Free and I use it to test whether a product (ATV, Chromecast, etc.) has been set up correctly on a network). For example, in other fields, it is NOT acceptable to have egregious errors and issues (for example, look at how much trouble GM is in because of their bad starters in cars in the early 2000's), yet somehow, it's become "acceptable" in software development. Imagine a world where hardware/appliances had the same mentality as software development....

      Anyways, I agree.

      • Pratik Holla

        Having a faulty engine or a misbehaving appliance can have a pretty hazardous effect on you. Are you saying that Koush's lack of motivation to complete his app is threatening your life?

        I am not saying that his attitude towards development is excusable but your examples are a little overblown.

        • http://techsym.com/ cubanresourceful

          Just because some software development doesn't affect lived it doesn't mean all of it doesn't (research into racing bugs in cancer/radiation machines, many people got huge overdoses due to racing conditions).

          Anyways, just because it doesn't negatively affect your health is no excuse to not demand perfection.

          Lastly, I was talking about software development as a whole (the field) and not Koush in particular (haven't had an issue with his AllCast Free app).

          • John Smith

            I've worked on medical devices (ultrasound in particular) and those software engineers get paid better and stick around even if the work gets "stale". A company knows that they must pay well and their products are more expensive as a result.

            Entertainment software is a whole different beast and a company's mindset is to pay as little as possible for at least a decent product.

      • didibus

        It's different though, an app is not a whole car, it's a single part of one. All problems related to the part not properly fitting and working with your car aren't the responsibility of the part manufacturer or car manufacturer. I'm pretty sure most warranty on products fall apart once you've modified it, as soon as you install a 3rd party app, you modified your phone.

    • c00ller

      I would have liked to see an interview question regarding this topic of (the perception of) "abandoning" projects.

    • Will Tisdale

      Isn't that the whole philosophy of the CM mob though? Feature masturbation over stability and usability?

      • mustbepbs

        CM has the least amount of features out of the current ROM landscape, though.

    • black

      When you purchase an app, there's no guarantee on future support, specially if it's an individual's effort. I think that's a given fact and cannot be blamed on the developer.

      • mustbepbs

        You're right, it's just the decent thing to do and it helps you make money by keeping a happy customer base.

        But who wants that, right?

        • didibus

          I don't know though, how does it help you make money. If you've paid for the app, you are now in the pile of people who will never pay you again. So what's the incentive in keeping you happy? The only one I see is maybe marketing, in word of mouth and stuff, to lure in the new customers. But there's not much more you can do.

          • mustbepbs

            Most app developers don't create one app. Therefore, if you create many helpful apps, your business practices will be taken into account when people consider purchasing your other apps.

          • didibus

            True, but isn't this a bit contradicting. You're basically saying once they made an app and sold it, their only source of future revenue is making another app and selling it to his customer base. If your only one dev, at some point, you're going to be spread really thin between maintaining your old apps that don't make any more money, and working on building your newer app. When that choice comes up, I bet most of them will choose to put their time in the new app.

    • didibus

      Where's the incentive though? I feel this is a problem on Android apps, the money is made in the initial sales, support is assumed to be provided forever for free. Why would they keep updating and supporting apps given that everything is a pay once payment. Most Desktop apps don't follow this model, you either pay for every major version, or you buy a servicing subscription.

      Sure I would love for all apps that I bought to be updated and maintained forever without me having to pay any more, but I also realise this is a failing long term prospect. Given this model, I expect most of my apps to be abandonware eventually. The only thing that keeps them from updating for the first 2 or 3 years are new prospective buyers, but there's not always new batch of users, especially if you've lost that initial "New Wow Factor". So it's better for them to just move on to another app that will rack in a lot of money at launch.

  • EH101

    The only thing I'm using from this guy these days is Helium just because it's a slightly easier/faster way to do adb backup/restore on my not-yet-rooted Verizon S5. Even so, it is a very crash happy app and I'd rather be using ROM Toolbox or Titanium Backup.

    A dev hinted at root coming out soon, but I don't think they have a way to not trip Knox, so Helium will do at least for initial device setup.

    • RTWright

      I absolutely detest Knox, it's why I'm not buying Samsung next round. Going for the Sony Z2. I love the specs of that phone and looks to be promising.

      • EH101

        While I would rather the device be as open as my old Fascinate, I don't really care for ROMing anymore these days. I'd still like root, but it also isn't necessary anymore. Other than keeping backups of my apps more easily(I.e without the need of a PC), the only thing I can say I want root for is to revert Google's sdcard policies. After that I'd probably try some Xposed mods for theming purposes.

        I personally believe Samsung needs business and consumer models of their devices. Main difference being Knox vs no Knox. Never going to happen, though.

        S5 will be exactly what I need until Project Ara becomes real.

  • darkdude1

    We are not the usual Chinese wholesalers

    You are the usual type of spam bot though ;).

  • Sabaru

    Always a cue for skepticism when one of the top billed crew members jumps ship. I continue to have doubts about the viability of CM Inc.

    OTOH, Koush is famous for abandoning whatever he's involved in half way pretty much every time. Either way, CM Inc. has a long way to profitability/brand recognition outside of the tech enthusiasts world.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Cyanogen Inc. has still really yet to tell anyone what their actual business strategy is. I think we will learn some more about that when the new OnePlus One launches later this month, though, so I'll reserve full judgment until then.

      I agree, however, that even saying they're "unproven" is being generous at this point. I question the notion that their product has any real commercial appeal - the community's love affair with CyanogenMod has long been on the wane. Aside from popularity, I don't think CM brings a lot to the table in its current incarnation.

      I suppose my real concern would be that, going into this privatization, their product didn't in and of itself present as an obvious business model. They have to come up with a way to monetize it, and the only answer we have so far is that this will involve "services."

      We'll see what happens later this month, but after the Oppo N1 with CM proceeded to generate roughly zero excitement, I can't say I'm crazy optimistic.

      • brkshr

        I completely agree on all accounts.

        I also feel that CM and other ROMs are becoming more and more irrelevant as Android matures. I've been a nightly ROM flasher since the OG Droid days. But ever since I have had my Nexus 5, I have been stock.

        Maybe they can find their market making custom skins/features for hardware manufacturers. I guess we will see.

        • Chapa

          Xposed Framework is also there to suple for some modding cravings whenever you're not using ART... One more point against full blown ROM flashing.

        • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

          +1, I have been flashing stuff almost daily back on my Desire S, both stock-based (Sense 3.0 - 3.6) and stock ports (Sense 4 & 4.1), and even AOSP (CM9, AOKP)

          But ever since I got a Nexus phone, and later two Nexus tablets - I really don't need Custom ROMs. At all. The stock firmware provides me with pretty much everything I would need from my device, except for a couple of things like quick settings modification but that I can live without and maybe it'll develop on further with evolution of Android itself

        • http://googleplus.VoluntaryMan.com/ William Thieme

          When I got my Nexus 5 I flashed Paranoid Android right away but have since gone back to stock. Other than taking a while to get bugfixes to users (in which they remain better than most other OEMs), AOSP has come a LONG way since ICS.

        • http://about.me/jovanphilip Van

          Agreed. I don't know of a single Moto X user who uses a custom ROM. Considering how stable and *gasp* usable these factory ROMs are becoming, I'm less likely to flash a custom ROM ever again.

          • HolyFreakingCrap

            The main reason for using custom roms was to get updated Android on older devices. Manufactures are starting to finally understand they will lose customers if they dont keep their devices updated. Too bad samsung still doesnt understand this.

        • Al McDowall

          Just wanted to add in here that I too had no need to flash a ROM on my Nexus, until 4.4 came out and my phone was not 'promoted'. At that point I flashed CM since I considered it to be most likely to be stable and provide a decent experience of KitKat on my GNex. Breathed new life into my phone and still came with (what I assume are ) a few extras like color control for the display (which has made a HUGE difference).

          So as far as I'm concerned, there's still very much a place for custom ROMs, even if it's just a question of providing updated software when the phone has been left behind.

          • brkshr

            I agree. If I wasn't on a Nexus, I would have a ROM on my phone to get rid of whatever UI/Skin is on the phone.

            My point still stands though. As Android is maturing, there are less and less reasons for ROMs to be necessary. Android keeps giving us the features we love as time goes on. Manufacturer's are lessening their UI/skins. I would be perfectly comfortable leaving the Moto X stock.

            There will always be a market for ROMs/Mods. It just seems like it's getting smaller and smaller.

      • Freak4Dell

        I feel like they haven't told anyone their business strategy because they might not really have one. It seems like they just saw they had something a ton of people use, and figured there had to be a way to make money off it.

        • http://blake.pm Blake Mitchell

          Their business model is likely the same as a lot of silicon valley startups. Get users. Get investors. Figure the rest out later. I also think that is an okay strategy as long as you keep working hard and improving your product. The investors know there is a risk in investing and some are willing to do it based on talent alone.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Perhaps the OnePlus can save the situation? Judging by all the hype there was building ever since the announcement, it must be some kind of a really hot device + preinstalled CM

      • Will Tisdale

        When I think of CM - I always remember the attitude a couple of years back of them calling other developers 'kangers' when they were at it themselves left, right and centre, with no attribution to the original coder.
        Then they decide to close the source for the 'bringing up' of new devices - basically to stop other developers using that work to release a derivative ROM before they released their first buggy nightly.
        It's really not in the spirit of open source, which they *claim* to support - but only when it suits them.

        I don't think they have ever bought much to the table other than a lot of attitude after they became 'popular', which outweighs the good stuff that they did in the early days of Android. Their work is becoming less relevant all the time - and the very long stabilisation time for a release doesn't help. Even the OEMs are beating them now...

        I think the negatives outweigh the positives when it comes to them - and I can't see them surviving as a business.

  • Anotherworld

    Him and his stupid sd card hate. Idiot doesn't realize that the cloud doesn't solve the storage problems. When they make a 128gb phone then we can finally stop using sd card.

    • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh

      Its not hate, its sense. SD cards are a data and security menace, and need to stay away from smartphones.

      • Christoffer Hulthén

        I agree SD cards needs to move away from Android and the manufactures also need to make 64GB as choice and soon even 128GB.
        It is not that expensive to buy the chips they just decide to take a lot of money and put in their pocket for the extra space.

      • Anotherworld

        Then where are the 128gb phones? Sd cards can be used for other purposes besides installing apps to it. This guy doesn't see it that way. For videos, photos and media. Also for nandroid backups and roms where you cannot fit it on your 16 or 32gb phone.

        • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh

          Media storage breakage also causes data errors and screws up the system. Also, the security risk of unencrypted SD cards and relative ease of possible data theft and placing malicious code on them is a major flaw. SD cards have no place on today's smartphones that contain a lot of sensitive info about the user.

          • RTWright

            You really do need to learn more about computing..... Multiple drives have been around for decades and this is no different. Do you feel the same on your home computer? Oh wait, you probably don't own one, you probably are Tablet only by now.... Wait! Most tablets have external SD's... ;p

            Hate to tell you, but your main internal storage can be just as a security issue as external if you don't take the time and make it secure. Wireless is always the #1 most secure network in the entire world..... NOT!

          • rmkilc

            Who said phones don't have multiple NAND components? SD cards don't work because FAT32 doesn't support permissions.

          • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh

            Umm, I need to learn more about computing, sure! Everyone does!

            Multiple drives serve different purposes in different applications. Equating today's smartphones to a general home computer doesn't shine you in a very intelligent light. I'll leave it at that.

            I run a professional editing studio. We run the whole place on iPads and Galaxy Tabs.. /s

          • Mike

            If it weren't for lazy ass windows users, proper security and ACLs would be no problem on the SDcard when using a proper Linux filesystem.

          • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh

            ORLY? Please elaborate smart sir.

      • Steph Chi

        Security, confidentiality and reliability are better on the cloud ... Really ?

        • abobobilly

          Let these people have the illusion of security on cloud lol.

        • nikira

          I might give the cloud folks 'reliability'. Its not -that- reliable, but more-so then the crappy cheap sd cards most people purchase for $20. :) (mind you, i'm on the 'give me an sd card or give me 128gb' boat, as well)

      • Matthew Fry

        App2SD needs to be gone in all future devices. No argument there. Caching to the SD card, well... you can't guarantee that devs will restrict that to non-sensitive data so maybe even that needs to go away. Explain to me how my audio and video collection are a huge security risk though.

    • thriller

      That's one of the statements Koush makes that actually holds weight, actually.

      • RTWright

        It holds zero weight, he is just as much as an idiot in his ways of thinking as anyone that believes and agrees with him. Learn more about proper coding and computing before making statements. External drives have been in use for decades across mainframe servers, people accessing and running large programs and files from them. You think the internet runs it's backbone off of a single drive??

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          You think an external drive and an SD card are really completely analogous? Android inherently treats SD storage much differently from internal storage, because SD has essentially relegated itself to being a FAT-only storage medium, about the least secure standard possible.

          If SD cards could be locked down and secured in a way that didn't make them, you know, inaccessible to most computers on earth, you might have a point. But as things stand, your analogy is definitely flawed. SD cards != external hard drives.

          • RTWright

            Think about what you're saying, it is able to be done. You can make them more secure, it's GOOGLE that fails here in this. Again, is your home computer any different? Do you have more than one drive on it? If so you shouldn't by this way of thinking. You can secure anything through the OS and Software ( The Right Software that is, properly written ). So I find your way of thinking a bit skewed and misdirected.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

            Ah yes, the old "it can be willed into existence" argument. No getting around that bulletproof logic!

          • RTWright

            Wow, does AP run on a single drive? Does their service use just one drive? I bet not....

          • Arthur Dent

            The storage that AP runs on is very likely abstracted so that what they develop for the site doesn't have to handle individual volumes at the low level. Not a good analogy.

          • RTWright

            No what I mean is the people hosting their site, I'm certain any site hosting has backups being done on other drive locations so that if something fails it's easily restored without a 100% loss. Which would defeat this argument all together because this is why a lot of companies across the world use more than one drive in their mainframes etc... Granted we are talking about SD's and phones but the same principal applies.

          • Arthur Dent

            I don't think the same principle applies though. Server development and maintenance is very different from mobile. Not even in the same ballpark. Applications developed to run in a server environment are specifically coded to handle large amounts of resources (CPU, RAM, storage), and often high availability with failover scenarios.

            Look, I have always liked having an SD card option on my previous phones that had only 8GB or 16GB. Since having my Nexus 5 32GB, I have found that I could largely live without it.

            I'd suggest that Google actually make SD cards be for media only. That would be a happy medium where people could use the extra storage for movies and music (freeing up their internal storage), while devs wouldn't really have to worry about it. All they'd have to do is, if if their app uses video for example and there's an SD card, then scan the SD card for video files and use them if available. If not, no big deal. Other developers of apps not using media wouldn't have to even worry about an SD card being there or not.

          • RTWright

            No I'd suggest Google do the damn OS right and stop fucking around. Seriously, set the OS to use a more secure system and format the SD cards for that system as well. Don't do it different than the main storage, that's stupid. That was a bad design from the start with them. This is why I would prefer to use Ubuntu on my phone over Android and will if they ever get it all worked out. Then you can set things up properly so that the card isn't an issue at all. Right now I use it primarily for major file storage, music, movies, photos, work related files and so on. I have ran apps off of it before, but found I'd rather do it like I do my home computer ( Which by the way, you format the drives with the same File System the OS uses on the main ) and I've never had any issues. This is no different, the only difference is, Google refuses to do it RIGHT! They just do what they want and screw things up more.

          • Andy_in_Indy

            The ability to have it removed and read by another device (phone, computer, etc) when the phone is damaged or dead is the number one case for keeping removable storage.

            All of the issues except speed can be addressed with a simple design change: all of the internal storage except the bootloader on the phone is the removable storage device.

            SD cards are a security gap, but any security systems has to balance the users need to access with the difficulty to secure it. But until there is an easily accessible, fast way to transfer 4-128 GB of information from one device to another after the old device will no longer power up, I will continue to request removable storage for my device.

        • gh0st

          If you think your logic outweighs that of Google's or Koush's or any other experienced developers, you arre wrong

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Whoa, I never realized Koush left CyanogenMod until this article... Bad sign?

    • Kenny Griffin

      Same here. I saw the title of the article and though WTH?

    • black

      No. Only bad manners.

  • http://techsym.com/ cubanresourceful

    So...about that yacht....

  • Harold Goldner

    Ugh. The sdcard needs to go away because it's a nightmare for developers? That's like saying hearts should go away because they're difficult for cardiac surgeons; the "unified theory" should go away because it's a challenge to quantum physicists. Come on. Figure it out.

    • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh

      It has been figured out: Keep SD cards away from today's smartphones. Inbuilt/secure memory is the only way forward. This isn't 2005 anymore..

      • http://si97.com/ Saif

        I love the idea of internal storage but the minimum has to be 64 GB these days.

        • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh

          Of course. I'd say 128 should be the norm given how cheap manufacturing flash memory is these days. But leave it to Apple to set a price trend and a lemon would cost as much as a vineyard..

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      No, it's like saying the carburetor should go away because it's unreliable, finicky, inefficient, and outdated.

      Just because the alternative (in my example, fuel injection) is less user-accessible, modifiable, and more expensive, doesn't mean it's not the inevitability we should all be demanding at this point.

    • andrewkam

      I understand your sentiment and agree with you, but that's a terrible metaphor.

    • Christopher Robert

      Love SD cards. Don't care if they make programming harder. Its not always the best way just because its easier. There are infinite ways to use SD cards for backup, switching out files, or massive storage that NO PHONE offers currently. To say they should do away with them is ignorant. About as ignorant as quitting a company shortly before it launches its first big product partnership, "just because you are bored".

    • John Smith

      I want 64GB in my phone... possibly, even 128GB.
      I only buy high-end phones, and why they're still farting around with 16GB or *maybe* 32GB is beyond me.
      Until they get the balls to stuff a decent amount of non-volatile memory into high-end models they'll have to take my micro-SD card from my cold dead hands.

      Also, charging over $100 more for a 64GB model is a load of crap when a 64GB micro SD card costs (for a single unit) $60. Keep in mind that a manufacturer buys the parts in bulk and gets bulk discounts !

  • RTWright

    This really irks me....

    "Koush: The SD card needs to go away. It's a nightmare
    for developers. There's too much variability here. SD Cards can be slow,
    resulting in poor app performance. They can come and go, or be swapped,
    and that results in unpredictable behavior if an app was expecting an
    SD card. One contiguous block of data needs to become the standard here
    (with different OEM SKUs for more/less storage), as it has been on iOS
    since the first iPhone."

    Because that's bs! What I want to know is, how does anyone make use of multiple drives on their computers? And I'm not just talking about SSD's either! I have, since my first real computer, have had two HD's, my latest has three. Want to talk about old tech? How about the spindle based HD's, they are finally, still slowly getting replaced by higher capacity SSD's, which I do welcome. Thing is, a SD card is nothing more than a miniature SSD without certain cache boosts and the like, but it is still a Solid State technology with no moving parts.

    What makes them slower is their 'Class' ( ie: Class 5 is slow compared to a Class 10 ). Now depending on Hardware, you may be slow or you may never noticed a dang thing ( Like me, I run and store things off of my SD a lot ). Every phone I've ever owned, has had the slot and this really says that Devs are lazy if they can't handle programming for an OS to handle SD's properly. This is why I can't stand Google's current direction with Android and can't wait for Ubuntu to be available more widely.

    I can't see how it's any more difficult to program this with Android than it is with Linux, Android, Windows, OSX ( By the way, Apple computers can handle multiple drives flawlessly, their phone would to if they offered it ). Problem here is, people that are stuck in that bs way of thinking that all you need is 16GB of storage or even just 32GB, have forgotten just how far these phone devices have come and where they're going...

    Lets take this for example. Everyone buys a new device on contract or whatever, the thing comes with 16GB of internal storage, almost half if not over half of that storage is used up by junk, bloatware on top of the OS and the overly bloated stock UI that most companies shove on their phones. Now you have around 8GB or less ( most of the times it is less ) and that fills up fast when you have videos, photos, music all filling it up quickly.

    Oh, SD's are slow! CLOUD IS SLOWER! You have to know that Cloud is nothing but a more fancy term for FTP. You access a server and stream ( use ) a file that resides across wireless airways and THAT is never as good as using them locally. You can have all kinds of interference with using these file access. Ever have Netflix stop on you? Yeah because you had a drop in connection quality for whatever the reason. Don't get me wrong I use Cloud based storage, but not to stream from and I don't pay for music streaming because I have thousands of Audio CD's that I personally own and have them made into MP3's for my phone for listening to.

    I can agree that not everyone cares or wants the SD cards. But it does not hurt to have that option there for those of us that DO want and ALREADY use them. People like Kouch need to realize just how stupid statements like his really are and how backward thinking this really is. Your phones are nothing more than Hand Held Personal Computers now days, they're not just for taking phone calls, they're not just for reading the web, they do everything your home computer does and need a LOT more memory.

    SD Cards give us, the consumer, the ability to put a card in our phones and upgrade the storage as we see fit. Samsung and Sony, even HTC's latest has it, what is the big damn deal with all of this Negativity towards something you have a choice to use or not? If you don't want to use it, then don't! That is your right and freedom of choice, but for stupid remarks about wanting them to just die, go away, well Kouch, coming from you I think you should do the same. Just go away, because your outdated apps and lack of wanting to keep them up to date for whatever your reasons are is why a lot have stopped using them. That includes myself, now that I see how you think? I'll keep it that way regardless of what you do in the future... Bleh!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      While I will freely admit to not reading your entire secure-digital manifesto, I think Koush's point is more from the position of a developer. Users of your apps with SD cards demand that you support them, and then when something breaks related to the SD card, it's obviously the developer's fault for being an idiot and not doing it right.

      I agree that it's still a choice, for both users and developers, but I also agree with Koush's basic assessment: at this point, Google is making SD cards more trouble than they're worth. They are actively trying to discourage their use.

      This does limit user choice and freedom (or raise costs to the user), but Android and the SD card have never had a particularly happy marriage - it was a shotgun wedding forced by the cost and availability of eMMC storage back in the early days.

      No one's happy about the current SD situation, that much I think we can all agree on.

      • RTWright

        Koush is a crappy developer though. I mean that is purely laziness on his part. Any GOOD dev can handle it. Windows, Unix, Linux ( Which I believe Android is based off of this is it not? ), OSX and several others have been making use of this tech a long time. Servers across the world all have multiple drives in them. You going to tell me that they should all stop and move to a single HUGE drive and hope nothing ever goes wrong?

        I recently had an issue where I was glad my games on my home computer are not installed on the main drive. Because of this one game's current state upon having to uninstall it and reinstall, it erased the entire directory in which it resided. Granted I only lost games and their data, but this is a prime example of what can happen if you're not careful. Imagine that happening on your phone....

        • Tíghearnán Carroll

          "Koush is a crappy developer though."
          *Sigh*

        • nikira

          Maybe we shouldn't name call developers unless you want to post a few of your apps and we can see if they're better and go down that rabbit hole? From a users perspective, I can't say he's a crappy developer since I've purchased both Allcast and Rom Manager because at the time there was nothing better. If there are 'good' developers, they aren't making those kind of apps. I actually purchased a few streaming apps in the past and the other day I had to break down and purchase allcast because I couldn't get the other ones to work as well or as easily. I also sent it to a friend who purchased it as well, for the same reason.

          • gh0st

            koush is a genius, though he has a habit of abandoning things when they are at their worse

        • http://blake.pm Blake Mitchell

          You are an idiot and you obviously have no idea what you are talking about.

      • unsivilaudio

        I stopped reading here.

        "I think Koush's point is more from the position of a developer."

        Exactly the problem, the reason people subscribe to the fact that SDcards should stay is the user experience. It's a much more flexible medium, and honestly the easiest way to transfer anything across any platform. Google got this wrong with their Nexus devices, and consumers pay the price.

    • Kesey

      holy, get a grip man...tl;dr?

      • RTWright

        Eh then don't read it... I have a right to express my concerns in detail as much as anyone else does...

    • rmkilc

      SD cards are formatted as FAT32, which doesn't support permissions. Your analogies comparing SD cards in phones with multiple disks in computers is flawed. I'm sure there are many phones that have multiple NAND components making up their internal storage, and those work just fine.

      Android could require SD cards to be formatted as ext4, but then they won't work in cameras, etc. and the non-tech savvy crowd would be confused and complaining. Remember, this crowd is bigger than our crowd.

      • Mike

        So, there's the big crowd on Windows complaining that they would need to install a filesystem driver, though they need to install drivers for pretty much anything else.

        Then there's the crowd who doesn't want to lose their SDcard for imho understandable reasons.

        Probably the biggest part of the latter group is also part of the first group, so essentially they are shooting themselves in the foot. And because they are lazy, everbody else has to suffer?

        It's no problem to solve this from a tech standpoint. Just use a decent linux filesystem as is already done for internal storage. On top of that, use symlinks and or transparent mounting like with f.e. aufs. Job->done.

        • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh

          That's cool, except the fact that over 90% of the world's computer users are on Windows. The "everybody else that has to suffer" is a tiny minority and most of that minority is made up of pretentious evangelists of either Mac or Linux.
          Android has to cater to the larger majority for obvious reasons. Apple doesn't even give you a filesystem to access on the iPhone! That hasn't stopped people from buying it in millions, has it? So it's not really a case of overwhelming user demand either!

      • mcnegro

        couldn't they already be formatted as ext4 on most phones? You couldn't pop it out and slap it in a reader connected to a windows PC; but you should be fine to access it by connecting the phone with USB and using MTP [just like you do with internal ext4 storage]

        • rmkilc

          Do you know how much confusion that would be to the average Joe? SD cards come formatted as fat32. Imagine a person using it in his cameras and other devices. Then he sticks it in his Android phone. Android formats it to ext4, and now it no longer works with his other devices. Most people don't know about format types. SD cards are not the solution.

          • unsivilaudio

            Is this not as simple as a prompt when its inserted into the phone? "Your SDcard needs formatted for use in this device, please back up any and all files before use."

          • http://blake.pm Blake Mitchell

            That's great for me. I would not trust my wife to do it and not lose all of her files.

      • http://twitter.com/rluik Rafael Luik

        About what frigging non-FAT32 permissions are you talking about?? The OS defines the permissions! There's a permission for apps to read/write to external storage a.k.a. SD Card in Android already, and more granulated permissions to specific folders could be added BY THE OS. So what are those permissions?

        • didibus

          I guess he is talking about the security that anything you save on FAT32, you can open somewhere else and just bypass all permissions. Like if you put it in a camera, it would read all photos. But, I'm pretty sure this would be the case of all and every filesystem, unless encrypted.

      • didibus

        What about USB Keys, External Hard-Drives and SD-Card readers on desktop computers? I don't see no one having problems with those.

  • lensgrabber

    that N1 is huge

  • Cuvis

    The SD card is a "nightmare" for developers? FFS, removable media has been part and parcel of development since the invention of the PC. I respect Koush for all he has done, but if removable media still gives you fits in this day and age, you have no business calling yourself a developer.

    • RTWright

      Watch it, you're about to get attacked for thinking this way....

  • Alexandre Leites

    I Agree with SD card point, therefore, if you take a futher look... OEMs use the SD card excuse for keep using low-bad-cheap storage on their phones, and I'm not talking just about space, but performance...

    • RTWright

      I've never had bad performance on my SD usage, but I guess having Class 10's over 5's is a bonus there and the fact the hardware on my current phone actually is good. Not great, but good. The only reason Apple never offered this was because they wanted you to spend more money on the higher capacity versions of their phones.

      • superlinkx

        Your reading comprehension is bad. He's talking about OEMs using SD Cards as an excuse for keeping internal storage in a subpar state.

        Also while I'm replying to you, you might want to rethink your strategy. You aren't being oppressed by those who think different than you, you just make bad arguments and attack those that don't agree with your side.

        Also, don't say someone is dumb when they know more on the matter than you. You obviously have no idea how storage works on a low level, or how android deals with external storage. Its all quite complex and Koush makes good points. Whether that means SD cards should really be abandoned in response is a valid debate, but the fact they are a terrible way to do storage on Android in the present form is not. Aside from speed issues (even uhs-1 is extremely slow compared to say an actual hard drive), SD cards use FAT, which is a terrible fs by modern standards. Sadly, there's really no way to fix that other than to have Android only SD cards formatted as ext4, and not really have a way to use them on other systems (aside from Linux), including Windows (the ext driver for windows can technically read ext4, but can't write and is a bit buggy) and cameras. And that's just one reason why SD cards are just not good for the Android ecosystem.

        • RTWright

          Android is nothing more than a tweaked up, screwed up, version of Linux used as a damn phone software that Google holds control over and is doing a shit job of it lately. They could EASILY switch it to NTSF if they so chose to, they can change it to anything the bloody fucking want to yet they don't. Why? Because they want to be a dictator like Apple is, you will settle for what shit we shove at you and like it or just don't use it. But there are really only two choices out in the mobile industry at this time and that's Apple and Android, Microsoft's is crap period and Blackberry isn't even in the running any longer, but they both can make use of this so called 'Extrenal' storage, which by the way is NOT external as it is located INSIDE the fucking hardware. EXTERNAL ( Look it up ) is connected externally to the hardware.

          That means, this is a secondary internal storage that should not be any god damn difference than accessing and using one in a standard fucking computer. If you think that I don't know shit about what I'm talking about? I've been building computers longer than most of the idiots that are on that fucking Android team. I've dealt with EVERY OS imaginable and every kind of software issue you can think of. I've worked as a Tech for several companies, which I'm glad I got out of it, because of people just like you. You don't know shit!

          • superlinkx

            I know better than to feed a troll, but you're too much fun. NTFS is a shit fs, rivaled only by FAT. Just by thinking that would be a good idea proves how little you know about actual file systems and how storage actually works.

            External is typically used in reference to whether the storage is part of the hardware package or an addon. But that's really just all semantics. In truth, SD cards are treated as external because they are typically attached via the USB controller, or some other controller that isn't the same as the internal storage.

            Also, if we want to measure who's tech dick is bigger, I'm a software engineer, and know quite a bit about low level intricacies, including storage. Being a tech means nothing, except that you can boss people around and feel like you know more than everyone.

            It's not that we can't have multiple forms of storage in Android simultaneously, it's that the current way it works is terrible, and for some decent reasons even. Forcing OEMs to ditch SD cards and use better internal storage is the best option long term. SD cards are nice short term, but will only delay the inevitable.

            Project Ara is what everyone that wants removable storage should be looking towards. You can ultimately swap out ANY component on your phone for something better.

      • Alexandre Leites

        SD cards never will get the same speed as the same as a good internal storage. The problem is that OEMs use crap internal storages and says "you can expand with a good sdcard"...

        I use sdcards class 10 (extreme pro from sandisk) thought...

  • brkshr

    If you ask me, which none of you are :-), he has changed a lot this last year. I have followed him on twitter and G+ since the original Droid days (well, when G+ started). I finally had to unfollow him because of the way he acts and the posts he's made. I used think Koush should run for president. Now I just think his popularity went to his head. Kinda sad really, because he has/had sooo much potential in the Android arena. I feel like this latest news just confirms my suspicions though. I still wish him the best of luck and I hope he can humble himself and bring some new ideas to Android in the future.

    • Koushik Dutta

      Hopefully I can win your vote back by 2016 :(

  • PacoBell

    Oh, man, Koush. You think SD card variability is a problem? I guess you haven't heard that Ara is going to be modifying Android so that potentially every hardware component will also be highly variable. How are your apps going to handle internal memory suddenly expanding or contracting without even rebooting?

    • wollac11

      I get your point but firstly, you won't be able to hotswap modules without a reboot because they are held in place by a strong magnetic force provided by electromagnets which is only released when the power is off. Also, performance will be less of an issue than SD card which are allowed to be much slower than the internal memory blocks for Ara. Additionally, if you swap the internal memory, the apps are gone along with their data - they are stored in the same location relative to each other the whole time. With SD cards you tend to have apps on the internal which may want to access SD data which can just disappear with an SD card swap.

      • Anorax

        Actually, the magnets won't release when the phone is off. If you go back and watch the recent video, you'll notice that the "phone" is on, they attach the module, you hear a short "buzz" from the electropermanent magnets, then they turn the "phone" off, and then they try sliding the module off the module holder, which it refuses to move.

        The magnets are always "on", aka they are always pulling. They lose their magnetic strength whenever current passes through them, which means that the modules could only be removed when the phone is on.

        • wollac11

          Okay, having looked more carefully yes I miss interpreted how the magnets work however it is not the phone they boot up and shut down. They are electropermanent magnets so they have a natural magnetism which is reinforced while the phone in running: "the magnets are hit with an 'On' electrical pulse they will create a solid bond between the Endo and module". The end can then be made to give an "off" pulse to "release the bond and you can replace the module". The phone would not be on and booted when this takes place because you can't for instance just yank away the CPU with the phone running. So no actually the phone would have to be shut diwb but the endo can provide a pulse to remove the modules. My point still stands.

          • Anorax

            Your point insists that any and all modules will not be able to be removed at any point while the device is on, which is a ridiculous notion. Naturally you can't unplug the onboard CPU or actively used memory, but what we could be looking at with Ara is multiple storage locations, one strictly for system use (akin to a (C:) drive on Windows computers) which may very well be inaccessible or even not included as a module, and a removable storage module (akin to external or even flash/thumb storage) that can be removed from the phone while it is on. Secondly, they may design a mechanism within the software that allows modules to safely shut down for removal, especially if you only plan on changing one module, which would be impossible with the phone powered off as you'd be unable to disengage the electro-permanent magnet holding the one module in place. Re-engaging the magnet could be done through a command written into the module that activates upon installation, sending a command to the module board to activate the magnet.

            So, can all the storage be removed while the phone is active? No, it's a ridiculous thought, but Ara can always implement external storage safe removal protocols to allow storage moving while the phone is powered.

            (One way to look at that is you have two or more storage modules: one strictly for enterprise use incl. encrypted documents and data, and one for personal use, and you just swap them out on the fly when you need them)

          • wollac11

            All the Ara demo's I have seen so far release all the modules at once. But yes it is possible that if the right safeguards were put into place in terms of checking the function of the module in any given section of the Endo and if the Endo supports releasing the modules separately (which as of now I don't think it does, but maybe I've just missed something) and if you are able to use multiple storage modules then sure, theoretically some modules could be swapped while the phone is running and perhaps one of these could be storage containing data used by an app. That's a few conditions which may not may not be met by the platform as far as I am aware.

            However, lets say that is all done, it is still not a greater or even equal issue to the SD cards for apps as suggested by PacoBell, given that scenario of swapping a storage module would probably only happen if you were upgrading. I say this because the modules only fit into an Endo not other devices and are larger, more weighty and most probably more expensive than MicroSD cards so I don't think this event would be as regular as SD card removal which people would be more inclined to carry several of to swap out with or to move between devices. In the upgrade scenario you are also most likely to move your old data across.

      • http://blake.pm Blake Mitchell

        Get out of here with your logic

    • http://blake.pm Blake Mitchell

      Ara will also be on it's own standard, not the standard of an sd card which is used all over the place. By locking that down they can more accurately predict the behavior of modules.

  • Wfrandy

    Regarding SD Cards, It is sad to me to see a person who I respect buying into the Google model of ramming things down the consumers throat instead of providing a product the consumer wants. The fact is, phones and tablets do not come with enough memory for a large percentage of consumers. Additionally, relying on one block of memory in a device means that any failure is catastrophic, instead of just being a nuisance. Of course, Google and many others would argue that for backup and security the Cloud is a better alternative, and they are going to ram it down our throats, whether we like it or not. Unfortunately, the "Cloud" is, by far, the dumbest idea of the last decade. While cloud storage is useful for some things, as an alternative to local storage of often used data or secure data backups, it is totally useless.

    • rmkilc

      You are in a small but vocal minority. SD cards are not a means to add disk space to a computer. Fat32 doesn't support permissions.

      • Wfrandy

        Not really a minority, from my observation, but we could argue that all day and still not agree. As to the permissions issue though, that could be fixed, if it were not the case that the people who would have to fix it would rather ram their alternative down our throats. I suspect that the bottom line is, my SD card can't be monitized, but the cloud can.

      • Greg

        Like it was said upstream: give me a device with at least 64GB of storage (with at least ~54 available to the user), and I'll shut up about SD cards.
        When flashier games require a minimum of 1GB of storage, and media files can easily come in at several gigs, large storage is a must. And with limited data (both volume and speed), cloud storage is not yet a viable answer.

        FAT32 is not a must. The phone can format the card for ext4 and then expose its file system through MTP, like it does with internal memory. Enabling multi-partition support for advanced users would be a nice bonus.

    • primalxconvoy

      Ages ago, I used a picture sharing and cloud photo site called "Yafro". This was before the term "cloud" was used in computer circles. Anyway, I used it as I didn't have a PC of my own so I saved all of my mobile phone pictures of my life in Japan there. Then the site closed down and I lost three years of memories.

      Still, I suspect cloud storage has made leaps and bounds since then, right?

      Right?

  • b0b

    Moral of this story: If you ever get interviewed, make a controversial statement to make the anemic crowd react. SD cards are a hot topic. Everyone has an opinion on it.

  • rmkilc

    Anytime I hear the word "design" come out of Koush's mouth, I just laugh. He can't even make proper icons for his Android apps. When he makes his icons, he refers to iOS's design guidelines. You can't take this guy seriously.

  • Koushik Dutta

    I get it. People want high capacity storage for cheap. Google and I want something that is fast, non-removable, supports file system permissions, and reliable.

    These two requests are not mutually exclusive. There needs to be a better solution than the SD Card in it's current incarnation.

    • rmkilc

      Agreed. On another subject, Google and I want proper icons on Android apps. You need to get off of Apple's icon design guidelines webpage when you make your Android icons.

      • Koushik Dutta

        I'm not sure Google's icons are a defensible argument here either.

        https://plus.google.com/+ChrisLacy/posts/GzQdg6ZViXi

        • rmkilc

          I know, and I grill them for that. This doesn't give you the excuse though. Each icon should have a unique silhouette. Allcast did while in beta. Then when you released it publicly, you put an iOS icon on it.

    • unsivilaudio

      *non-removable is not a requirement for supporting file system permissions and reliability and speed

      Google has the power to implement any and all restrictions on SDcards in Android devices. They can dictate it in Android OS, which as has been proven extremely flexible due to its open nature.

    • John Smith

      I just want somewhere to store my podcasts, photos and other large media files. I have no need to put apps or app data there.

      • fanoush

        exactly, first they abuse it for apps and app data and then they complain it is not suitable for it and should go. there is nothing wrong with sd card as long as you store pure data there - audio, video, books, photos, pdfs, emulator isos, whatever. It is removable and can go away, yes, just like usb stick or cd/dvd or even network/cloud storage, so what? stop being lazy. Reminds me the time when system was booted from floppy disk, yes it was pain so hard drives were invented for storing OS and apps but it does not mean there is no place for removable storage

    • Jordan Pt

      My solution would be to treat Any External Storage device like how Cloud services are supported. Apps ask for permission to read/write to External Memory, user hits agree, Videos/Music/Photos can now be dumped there safely. Share menu gets an External Storage option(Which Devs can choose to Disallow), and the File Chooser interface has a section for External Storage. That's it. Devs don't have to worry where their Data goes, Google doesn't need to worry. Android Apps just get their Data siloed wherever the OS dictates by default and Devs don't have to worry, unless an app requests user approval to save files to the SD card.

    • Steven Hanson

      Porque no las dos? (Why not both?) Until OEM's start offering larger flash storage on device there is no future with out micro SD's. And with project ARA coming out it's something developers and Google are going to have to get used to anyways. With people having the choice to hotswap memory modules the same problem is going to be there and if Ara gets to be as big a Google wants it be the "problem" of removable storage is here to stay for a long time.

    • didibus

      There might be better ways to deal with SD card. But how did Desktop App developer deal with removable, external storage and even most of it being hot-swappable, for years without it being a mess, and you guys can't?

  • PuzzledObserver

    Eh super cool interview thanks. It's surprising on the SD card piece but now I see the technical justification for not having SD card. I respectfully disagree on Holo dark however. On a small screen, I find dark is better than light.

  • unsivilaudio

    No idea he had left Cyanogen, but good luck to him. I really like what he's done with Allcast.

  • Fonce Falooda

    "Koush: The SD card needs to go away."

    Fine. Then give me the option of buying a phone with 128G in it. Oh, that doesn't exist? Well, then, I guess we have our answer, don't we?

    (Otherwise, keep up the great work. :) )

    • Arthur Dent

      Fuck, I'd be happy with 64GB as a common option. Almost no phones even ship with 64GB in 2014, when flash storage is getting heaper and cheaper. It's just Insane.

      • Fonce Falooda

        I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle. :D

        • nikira

          Samsung phones will find a way to use most of it anyway. :)

          • Arthur Dent

            Samsung Galaxy S7, now with 128GB* storage!!!

            * 25GB available to user for apps, media, etc.

    • josuearisty

      I wish min size for storage would be at least 32gb now and that phones with higher capacity dont be too expensive.

    • Al McDowall

      Surely there's a middle ground where the SD card can be used to store music, videos and photos. That way we still get the benefit of the extra space, while developers avoid the potential headache.

    • didibus

      Saying the SD card has to go away is dumb. You've never had a dev say the DVDs, Disk Drives, Cd-Drive, Hard-Drives, USB Keys, External Hard-Drives, SD-Cards, etc. had to go away on a Desktop computer. If they can deal with it there, what's the big fuss on mobile.

  • clibou

    Terrific. Cast community dev is in good hands.

  • Matthew Fry

    I honestly can't understand the war against holo dark. What is so offensive about people wanting a dark interface? Programmers of all people should understand a darker interface is much easier on the eyes.

    The SD card thing is really not that hard. You either need to stop putzing around with 16GB/32GB and put some serious storage in or you need to allow SD cards. 16/32 is *usually* sufficient for most people to store apps but nearly everyone can agree that it is not enough space for content (shut up about the cloud for a moment).

    The accessible app data storage (read: cache) on card is totally great for normal apps such as games or things that work mostly with web content. Any content consuming apps such as audio players, video players, comic viewers, emulators, file managers, etc. need their own permission that is clearly stated as having full access to the SD card. The end.

    • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

      Whenever I hear anyone say "use cloud storage" for your content, I want to bitchslap that person. No, I don't want to be dependent on the cloud and my connection speed (or lack thereof) and pay data charges for accessing them. I want my media files to stay on my device. Period. Either give me a big internal storage or give me sdcard.

      • Jordan Pt

        Exactly. I can't afford a Data plan to accommodate streaming my media when I'm not using WiFi. I need 1 of 3 things:
        1) Internal Memory that exceeds 64GB
        2) Decent OTG Drive Support Built into Android
        3) MicroSD Support

        Right now I'm coping by using a Root app to accomplish #2, but that's hardly acceptable to anyone who doesn't want to void their warranty.

        People don't care about putting their Apps on the SD, they just want to be able to Download/Play their Media off it. That's hardly complicated. Linux on my PC handles this perfectly fine. SDcards and USB drives can be completely sandboxed as far as I care. As long as I can read media from them, and also download content to them, nothing else needs to be done. A simple dialog asking if it's okay for a certain app to store/read data on External Memory is all the security and safety people need. Internal memory could then be whatever Google wants it to be. It's not a hard concept and I'm flummoxed as to why Devs and Google have to make such a big deal about it. Just treat the SD/USB storage like you do with "Cloud" storage. Make it a section of the File Interface and be done with it.

  • FuckyourSister

    Stop sucking the bisexual dick of koush. Nobody gives a fuck if you are a gay nigger.

  • Fuckkoush

    Sorry I see this as a good thing! , I personally don't like the guy , he's a sneaky ass when it comes to charging $$ with his in app purchases , he doesn't reply to emails when u have issues , none of his apps work right but he's quick to charge u money for them , all around bad person ! I seriously doubt he left cyanogen ,a project he's been a part of since almost day one , more likely cyanogen got tired of his bad code and found him useless . anyone that disagree with me I don't care ! I've been using cyanogen since day one and been wasting money on koush apps that long also , I'm qualified . ( I'm not coming back to see dumb replies so don't bother playing captain save a hoe )

  • boonesimpson

    Random idea with regards to the SD Card.

    An issue many brought up is "fat32 doesn't have permissions, but to format to ext4 would confuse the normals"

    Since the want for an sdcard is typically for "bulk" storage (music, movies,photos) couldn't a virtual ex4 volume be made on the card?

    My thinking is a fat32 card would have a file called "Android Media.ext4" (would dynamically resize like a vm image) that would be unreadable by windows without some sort of driver,visible to Android as "sdcard-external."

    That way you get security, you get usability (have an android option to view the fat32 files, or auto import them into the ext4 volume for those who sdcard load file).

    The only issue i see is performance, the "virtual" volume could introduce added delay, but a few more milliseconds to load the next song or picture isn't a big deal but it would make big game installs terrible. So maybe a "you are installing this app to slower than recommended storage, would you like to proceed" prompt be added during the apk install.

  • hyperbolic

    Great interview.

  • HolyFreakingCrap

    Aww, SD Card to hard to support for koushy? Poor baby. He needs to go away.

  • primalxconvoy

    " I don't know what is connected to my friend's TV, but they probably have something supported by AllCast. That's what I would consider a "wow" moment."

    That's what I would call a "convergence" moment, but each to their own.

    Anyway, I stopped reading after our lad here rubbished SD cards. Silly, silly, silly.

  • FuckKoush

    STOP SUCKING THE FAGGOT DICK OF THAT SAND NIGGER KOUSH. WE ALL KNOW HE IS A PIECE OF SHIT. HE ISN'T EVEN RELEVANT. HE SCAMS ON NEW IDEAS AND COPY/PASTES THE IDEAS FOR MONEY.

    • black

      Sand nigger? Is that like, sand paper?

  • ezeuba

    To paraphrase, "Koush: The SD card needs to go away. It's a nightmare for developers. There's too much variability here. SD Cards can be slow, resulting in poor app performance. They can come and go, or be swapped, and that results in unpredictable behavior if an app was expecting an SD card. One contiguous block of data needs to become the standard here (with different OEM SKUs for more/less storage), as it has been on iOS since the first iPhone." So, by this I understand that the primary focus of device manufacturers is now the developer, and not just any other developer but Koushik Dutta, instead of consumers? This guy always get a bit too full of himself without any consideration for others, and yes, always whining about how Android is not like iOS...