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Many Chromebooks, especially cheaper ones, have microSD card slots to augment relatively puny internal storage. However, because that microSD card slot is configured by default just to act as a piece of ejectable media by Chrome OS, it's not accessible to a key storage use case: Android apps. When you're rapidly filling up your Chromebook's remaining space with downloaded episodes from apps like Netflix or music from Spotify, it can start to become painfully obvious just how limited your laptop's internal storage is. Fortunately, there is a workaround.
Samsung’s T series of external SSDs have made a name for themselves owing to the compact, pocketable design and the USB-C interface. The last-gen T5 wasn’t the fastest SSD around with transfer speeds topping at 540MB/s, but its rather uncompromising overall package garnered general approval. Its follow-up—the T7 Touch—debuted at this year’s CES sporting a fancy fingerprint reader for hardware-based security and, of course, faster transfer rates.
You know how Google hates microSD cards and everything they stand for? Well, Android M might signal a change of heart. In the dev preview, there's support for adopting removable storage as part of the system and treating it as internal. You can also plug in and use USB drives on stock Android without any additional apps.
According to the changelog for version 1.6, the work-around should function for Samsung devices that have been updated to Android 4.4, though the new Galaxy S5 is a notable exception. We've had limited success in our own tests: on a KitKat-equipped Galaxy Note 3, Artem was able to rename and copy files on the MicroSD card without any kind of root-enabled trickery, but deleting files on the card didn't work.
These aren't the first USB flash drives we've seen that double as detachable storage for Android devices - that honor goes to the Leef Bridge from way back in June. But darn it if Sony's new 2-in-1 flash drives aren't a whole lot slicker, combining MicroUSB and standard USB 2.0 plugs into a tiny package. From the single press image, it looks like the entire device is barely bigger than the two plugs put together.
Sony's new flash drives will be available in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB capacities starting in January. They'll command a premium over standard flash drives, of course: the 8GB version will retail for twenty bucks, the 16GB will be $30, and the 32GB version will be a whopping $62.99.
The MicroSD card slot seems to be a dying feature on later Android phones (at Google's insistence, no less), but those of you who still have one will want to check out Amazon's daily Gold Box deals today. Among an appreciable smattering of other Transcend flash storage deals, the site has three great prices for MicroSD cards starting at just ten bucks.
On the lowest tier we've got a Transcend 16GB MicroSD card for ten bucks. You're unlikely to find a price that low at a brick and mortar retailer, especially since this is the very speedy Class 10 UHS-1 standard, which will be useful for gamers and media enthusiasts who store their apps on external storage.