Are We Losing What We Love in Android?

Posted Apr 02, 2012 at 7:04 pm in Threads > Opinions

We loved ya'.

As Android users, we take pride in our freedom. Freedom to swap out batteries at will, and to add more local storage. But is this slipping away?
Like most on this site, I’m an avid Android fan. I was disappointed Motorola’s Droid Razr did not include a removable battery, even if the explanations for why not were understandable. In addition, Google’s own Nexus series did away with micro SD card expansion. Then HTC took it a step further when when it announced the One X would not have either of these beloved features. Don’t get me wrong, these phones are all fantastic in their own respect. It was simply, for lack of a better word, a bummer to see these features omitted. We are in a power and data hungry world. Not having a replaceable battery or expandable storage only limits us.
The openness of Android is one of its best aspects. Let’s hope manufacturers don’t keep following this pattern. Thoughts or arguments? Let others know in the comments.

  • Cole Loomis

    The freedom that Android provides its users is what led me to buy my Droid, and that is what has kept me with them. Even with these more recent shortfalls on that freedom it is not nearly enough to make me think about abandoning Android.

    For me the ability to have access to your battery and storage is certainly a plus. The more important of the tow is the battery, even though I typically don’t need to change mine out. I do not use that much storage on my phones. I keep just a small selection of music, apps, and pics/video. This easily fits on 16gb, so the sd slot is not necessary, but it is always nice to have.

    Overall hardware setbacks are not nearly as bad as possible software ones.

    • CJ LaFleur

      Yea. What’s your alternative? Windows phone? Blackberry? Lol.

  • Bryan Stoner

    HTC is offering a ton of cloud storage with the HTC One X isn’t it?

    Anyway I agree completely. Android has always had the convenience of commonly used hardware modules like the micro sd and removable battery cover. I really really love that about Android devices.

    And there is a but. But not many people realize the potential or have a clue of how to utilize it. I’m sure a lot of people do not store any documents whatsoever on their phone and thus eliminating the micro sd port. There are also a ton of people who do not use HDMI out and thus eliminating the mini HDMI port. Moral of the story: dongles are shit and we should have the ALL THE PORTS!!

    The one thing that is A HUGE ass deal breaker and should be for anyone is a removable battery. If they are following the general public then they sure as hell know how stupid they can be. If a battery gets worn out and cannot be replaced you just effed the customer up real bad.

    Now here’s the think tank part. Are they removing these modules for style, trends, or price?

    • orangestrat

      Packaging and labeling the battery, the opening/locking mechanism of the door, contacts, ect are all more space than just soldering a battery to a board and screwing that to a metal/plastic shell. space turns into thickness. A non-removable battery doesn’t waste all that space, and is an easy shortcut to a thinner device
      The SD card is out because they are unreliable, overpriced, and not better than just having enough storage in the phone in the first place.

      • Bryan Stoner

        Get your panties out of a bunch.

        The point is that some manufacturers are opting out of Android hardware flexibility. That’s what has been a beneficial factor in regards to the Android platform. You can still have a stylish and thin device even with those features.

        And mother fuckin damn. You think 5$ for 16GB is expensive!?!?!?

        • androidindia

          so no check on profanity in these threads ?
          i totally agree with you , but language man :D

  • theDL

    Personally, the sd card thing isn’t that big of a deal to me since we’re moving toward cloud storage. As long as the phone has a large enough internal memory (read: 32gb), I’ll be fine without a removable sd card.
    But the battery thing is definitely an issue for me. I realize manufacturers always include a way to kill the power if you start bootlooping or the phone freezes for whatever reason, but pulling the battery is just so simple. Plus not having the battery be removable means no option for extending the life of the phone; you have to make the decision like Droid RAZR vs RAZR MAXX. You shouldn’t have to. I must say, though, having the back be stationary makes for a nice lookin phone.

  • thekaz

    Keep in mind that Android is an OS, not hardware. If anything, the variety of hardware choices speak to Androids freedom and openness. It is an open source OS, so there is a difficult balance for Google to keep it free and open versus dictating hardware requirements to manufacturers.

    I think users need to vote with their wallets. That is the only way to get the manufacturers’ attention.

  • GRAW

    The way I see it, as long as it doesn’t run iOS, I’m happy.

  • orangestrat

    The things we really love about android are still here. You can still buy a device with almost any screen size, processor and maybe even a keyboard. Its just well designed software now, and it comes in well designed hardware too. you won’t miss the removable battery and SD card, they were only there to make up for deficiencies in storage and battery life anyway.

  • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

    I think the evolution of wireless technology has partially led to the demise of the microSD card. Now that people can stream music effortlessly (especially with 4G/LTE devices), have plenty of affordable (and free) cloud storage solutions, manufacturers (and possibly Google) are starting to leave it out on phones.

    I just hope they don’t do that to tablets. Especially if a tablet is wi-fi only, you might need the expandable/swappable storage.

  • McLovin

    Absence of the removable battery and SD card have been deal breakers for me on phones.

    On tablets we don’t have as much choice and I’ve had to capitulate.

  • Trevor Cameron

    I think the beauty of Android is the amount of choices that we have in phones. If you want a phone with a removable battery and an SD card, it’s out there! With iOS, you don’t have any choices. Sure, sometimes the phone that you covet doesn’t have exactly the features that you want, but that is where a very important word in the Android experience comes into play… CHOICE!!!

    You can choose to buy a phone with the exact features that you want (i.e. battery / SD card), you can can choose to wait until a newer phone with those features comes out or you can look for a phone that’s already out there with those features.

  • Samar

    I guess That might happen, if they keep coming in Lots like there’s no tomorrow. They need to be more exclusive with much better support.

  • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

    Love the post image.

    • Dan13

      Thanks for the complement! I thought it fit pretty well.

  • Dave Clary

    I’m firmly in the camp that doesn’t miss SD cards but wants a replaceable battery. I bought the Seidio extended battery for my G1, and did the same with the G2, EVO, and the Galaxy Nexus. I would want to have that option with any phone I buy.

  • Gabriel

    What the heck has to do Android with replaceable batteries or not?

  • auronblue

    As has been stated above, i love Android because of the flexibility of the OS. I feel that it is still improving with each iteration.
    On the hardware side though I do feel the lack of removable batteries and SD cards is a step backward. Power users need the ability to swap batteries, especially with power sucking LTE phones. And while there are many options for cloud storage, those without unlimited data plans are going to feel the crunch if they are constantly having to upload/download data that could have otherwise been stored locally.
    Time will tell if these become bigger issues, but if they do, i can rest knowing I will have multiple handset options.

  • Derrick

    Boot to gecko may be able to succeed if Android keeps this up. I love Android to death but the restrictions are just making it like Apple now. Google needs to regroup

  • Nate B.

    This post was not needed. I don’t think its that serious to complain over. I mean what do people need to have on their phone to take up a full 32gig? People are walking around with a countless number of apps and movies? Delete some _____ when your done. Do you need 5 year old photos on your phone still? Cloud storage is the way to go. You can access that anywhere without taking up memory. I’m sure one day when we have a breakthrough technology on battery life that can have us go through days with the power we use now, people will still complain because they can’t remove it. I honestly think this complaint leads to picky consumers that complain over things that aren’t even noticed if gone but want it anyways because “MORE” sounds better. Maybe we could still go with removable batteries but when we reach a breakthrough I’m sure it’ll be a cry baby.

    • erikiksaz

      I agree. All the space just isn’t needed on a smart phone. Most people have tens to hundreds of gigs of music, but I’d wager that virtually none of them actively listen to more than 1-2 gigs of music. There just isn’t enough time in the day to utilize that much music. Same argument goes for videos.

      I’ve been overseas for the past month without any internet connection, so I have not had a chance to take part in cloud streaming. I use a Nexus S, so I’ve only got 16gigs at my disposable, which has still worked wonderfully. You load up 5 gigs of music, maybe another 5 gigs of video, and save the last 4gigs for apps/recordings. Do you really need that much more?

      In addition, android has always been an open SOFTWARE operating system. The fact that more manufacturer’s are willing to cooperate with developers (EX HTC unlocking bootloaders, Sony actually providing resources) is a great sign and it means that Android is going exactly where it should be headed.

      Hey, if the phone you want doesn’t have a removable battery, then (A) choose a different phone, or (B) instead of carrying a spare battery, carry around a portable charger. Both are kind of DUH arguments to me, but it seems that people bitch and moan about rather trivial things sometimes.

      • yankeesusa

        How is carrying a charger going to help you if your in a theme park or outside event? Having spare batteries is what helped me keep my phone running on vacation. My friend with an iphone kept saying “have to conserve rest of battery life” while I was still going full blast due having a spare battery with me.
        At this point having a bigger battery in a phone is nice but if its not removable it still is not as good as being able to swap. Right now I have an external charger with 4 batteries. 3 at home and a spare in the car for emergencies. Unless an internal battery is going to give me 12-18 hours of battery life after running several apps all day and checking texts and emails constantly then an internal battery is a horrible thing.

  • redraider133

    I think they are removing the sd cards because 1. they are really pushing cloud storage, not to mention sd cards can get screwed up and cause more issues with the phones. I wish they would give you an option but the fact is this is where android and others are moving towards.

  • Blue Sun

    I know I’m coming into this discussion 4 months late, but just in case somebody reads the thread again, I should mention outside battery support.

    I have a Droid RAZR, which has a 1780 mAh Li Ion battery. Not a lot of juice if you use the phone a lot. So, I have three NEWTrent external batteries/chargers. The small one that my wife carries in her purse, an iTorch, is small and light and provides an additional 5200 mAh. It connects to the Droid’s MicroUSB port and its own USB port (just reverse the cable to recharge the unit. It doesn’t cost much over $30.00.

    I usually have a 7000 mAh iCurve in my back pocket. It cost me about $40.00, and has dual ports, so I can run my Droid and a tablet or mp3 player at once. There’s a 1.1A USB for phones and a 2.1A USB for pads.

    I also keep an 11000 mAh iCruiser around. It’s overkill for daily use, but is handy to stick in my laptop case or briefcase if I’m going away and might be away from chargers for a while. It carries enough juice to fully recharge an iPad2 more than twice before the iCruiser needs recharging (don’t worry Android fans, the iPad is something my current client requires and it is just on loan to me. I’m a Galaxy man, myself).

    They also have at least one more powerful battery rated at 12,000 mAh, with two ports, but I rarely strain the 5.2 mAh and never the other two. In addition, new companies providing external pocket battery support are springing up weekly.

    Also, there are now detailed instructions on how to convert your RAZR into a MAXX by substituting a MAXX battery and rear cover (disclaimer: don’t try this unless you are used to working on electronics).