Oct 30 AT 9:24 AM Taylor Wimberly 119 Comments

Matias Duarte responds to questions about on-screen buttons, lack of SD cards

Matias Duarte

Matias Duarte, Google’s head of Android User Experience, took to Google+ to answer recent questions about Android 4.2 and the Nexus 4. He gave some pretty in-depth responses, and he is still taking questions, so head over to the source link to engage. Read on after the break to see his answers on the lack of SD cards in Nexus devices and on-screen buttons in Jelly Bean.

Why did you make the system buttons and status bar consistent across all devices in Jelly Bean?

“This new configuration is based on usability research we did on all of the different form factors and screen sizes that Android runs on. What mattered most of all was muscle memory – keeping the buttons where you expect them, no matter how you hold the device.”

Why don’t Nexus devices have SD cards?

“Everybody likes the idea of having an SD card, but in reality it’s just confusing for users.”

Source: Google+

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • William

    I personally think that “sdcards” being confusing is filled with bogus. It is not confusing at all, sdcards are optional. No one has to put a sdcard in.

    Nexus 4 should of been 16GB/32GB just like what they did with the Nexus 7, not 8GB/16GB.

    • Nate B.

      To be honest the average customer doesn’t think about half if what we think about. They don’t even contribute to mobile blog sites. They go with what’s hot. If a phone comes with expandable memory the average customer will not buy a SD card. They’ll assume all is in. If you contribute to any mobile blog site, look at tech specs and understand the beneficial detail, xda member, then your not an average user. Average users are very high compared to tech savvy. An average user can get confused thinking something was on their physical phone not knowing it was saved to a SD card. So in reality yea, it’s not needed.

      • Adrien C.

        Unfortunatedly it is the truth. Ater all this SD debate I started to think. I adapted pretty well to not using sd.
        It’s an extra slot, prone to dust and fail, stuff run on it and you can’t simply unmount.
        So for most users, we just throw a card there and that’s it.
        I’d just prefer that we had native 16,32,64 options.

        People compare price increase between versions with cheap microSD class 2, but we have to consider that internal memory is top notch, high speed.

        Anyway, if they had a 32GB, i’d be fine with it and USB OTG.

        • ionorov

          Sorry, I have to call you out on your 2nd point. It is misleading. Case in point: $50 for 8gb (Nexus 7) vs $45-60 for 64gb (SanDisk UHS-1/Class 10).

          The SanDisk is capable of full HD video recording and “HD still consecutive recording” according to Wikipedia. I’m guessing its fast enough for whatever you throw at it. You are being disingenuous by saying comparisons are only with cheap Class-2 cards.

          > Anyway, if they had a 32GB, i’d be fine with it and USB OTG.
          Good for you. But there are others who rather not have to worry about extra dongles/adapters and a 64GB usb-stick. Also, you can encrypt your mSD card _natively_ in Android. Last I checked, there isn’t a flexible and inbuilt solution to protect your data on a USB-OTG.

          > It’s an extra slot, prone to dust and fail
          I’ll agree that it may not be pleasing aesthetically but there are covers and dummy cards you can use to prevent dust build-up. Also, how much dust can get into the _internal_ slot of a GS2 or GS3?

          > and you can’t simply unmount
          Ever wonder why you can’t simply unplug a hard-drive from you computer? Or USB-stick for that matter? Its a cheap and easy way to expand storage… not hot-swap cards in and out like Nintendo cartridges.

          Finally, from a Tab 7.7 user:
          - No dust as I keep the cover closed
          - Settings -> Storage -> Unmount, wait 2-3 seconds and boom, I can take out my mSD
          - I paid $45 for a 64GB mSD…

          Now I have ALL my family photos and videos, 2 seasons of tv-shows, a couple of HD movies and 5GB of music. Then I use the inbuilt 16GB storage for apps and HD games.

          See how it works? :)

          • Danny

            really? ALL your family photos AND videos? YOU care about having that at the ready obviously. TWO season’s of tv shows?? EYE (cuz a capital I doesn’t give as much emphasis) don’t have to watch tv shows over and over and over and pull out the phone to prove someone wrong about what jerry told kramer. see how a 1percenter works?

          • ionorov

            You see Danny, I don’t go around asking Google to take out mSD slots. I don’t go around saying: “Why no 2GB version?! I barely use 100kb of data! mSD slots are stupid! *rabble rabble rabble*”

            That’s what people like you keep doing here. I can’t understand it… but there are some Nexus fanboys who vehemently oppose mSD. Don’t know why, maybe their cats choked on stray mSD cards and they were traumatised.

            Point is, lots of us want a Nexus. And lots of us want cheap storage. I accept that YOU only need say 4GB, but *EYE* need more. More importantly, I don’t go on an anti-mSD crusade… trotting out half-assed facts and say things like:
            - “the general public don’t care about mSD cards”
            - “we only need 8GB”
            - “you are the 1 percent storage snobs”

            I stated all that to show that THERE ARE USES FOR CHEAPER mSD CARDS. I would have ran out to buy that killer Nexus 10… but have to think twice because of the lack of mSD. I venture that there are a few like me.

      • Chad

        I definitely agree but at the same time anyone who carries a Nexus or keeps up the Nexus brand are usually not average users. Let’s remember the Nexus device is ultimately a developers device it’s when carriers such as Verizon makes it available to the “average” crowd where things get mixed up. However, I agree with you I don’t feel it’s needed, people tend to forget about the cloud or just don’t use it wisely.

        • phor11

          What “average user” do you know that bought an unlocked phone?
          I don’t know a single one.

          I don’t personally need more than 16GB, but there are PLENTY of use-cases out there that do. Leaving them out in the cold for the sake of some perceived confusion in a market segment they’re not even targeting is just silly.

        • glennw

          Exactly. People who buy Nexus phones are not your average users (although those who buy the tablets might be). It really doesn’t make sense for the Nexus phones to not have microSD slots when the vast majority of Android phones that are being used by average users do have microSD slots.

          How is a developer on a Nexus phone supposed to test external memory compatibility on the phones, when it’s not available?

        • ionorov

          > people tend to forget about the cloud or just don’t use it wisely.

          People know about the cloud… and how it doesn’t work underground, in the subway and elsewhere you get poor reception.

          People know about the paltry 2-5GB on offer (dropbox, gdrive, sugarsync) and are wise enough NOT to pay $10 a month for more.

          • Jesse

            Drive costs $2.50 for 25gb storage. Stop exaggerating.

          • monk

            try to use the cloud services outside US. good luck. most cool services (google music, books, movies, magazine, hulu, spotify, etc.) are not available outside us.
            the rest of the world is waiting for the cloud. in the meantime put a f… slot on the phone. no-one is confused

          • ionorov

            Ok, my apologies. $10 for dropbox and Gdrive costs $2.50 a month. That’s $30 for just ONE year.

            Gdrive = $30 = 25GB = 1yr (+ $$$ for a data plan)
            mSD = $60 = 64GB = FOREVER (with lifetime warranty to boot)

            Should I tell you how you need constant internet to edit a google doc? How the gdrive app on my ipad flips out and stops me from editing every time I go into a tunnel? At least Dropbox keeps a local copy for me to continue editing.

            Yes, $2.50 is cheaper but it still costs more in the long run.

          • ionorov

            @ Monk

            I hear you man. These guys keep saying the “cloud” is here… I sometimes barely get a signal just 4-5km from the CBD.

            Just you wait: I predict a gSheep (yes, its a term now) will swoop in and mock me for living in an area with poor coverage… and how I should man up and move to NYC or something. Sigh.

        • Esoth

          I think the point is that they’re trying to make Nexus phones more appealing to the “average user”. Before the Nexus 7, hardly anyone knew what the heck a Nexus device was, but the Nexus 7 has really boosted public awareness. They’re now in a prime position to take that and launch it forward.

          I personally would love if they had a microSD slot, but I can also appreciate where they’re coming from. Everything they can do to simplify their phones will increase their appeal to the mass public.

      • mitcoes

        Average user is not as idiot as engineers use to think.

        miniSD cards are a GREAT ADVANTAGE for Android devices over others.

        Not having it wil cost this NEXUS a lot of market share, and probably if users can choose to pay for the SAME MODEL with SD almost all would pay the difference.

        • ionorov


          Man… the look on my friend’s face when I told him it’ll cost him hundreds to upgrade his current iphone to the 64GB version… and only $60 for me to upgrade my ancient SGS2.

          The disappointment on his face… it was delicious :D

        • iamXiV92a

          What market shares? The Nexus line (phones) were never meant to be popular devices and Google knows this…

          So you’re honestly telling me that someone who wants the AT&T version will pay $600 just to have the SD slot? Don’t forget… AT&T will now control the updates, not Google…

      • monk

        your needs are not everyone needs. try to use most cloud services outside US. good luck. most cool services (google music, books, movies, magazine, hulu, spotify, etc.) are not available outside us.
        the rest of the world is waiting for the cloud. in the meantime put a f… slot on the phone. no-one is confused

      • rsanchez1

        Yeah, that’s why SD cards sell so well, because they’re confusing to the average customer.

        Get over yourself.

      • Counsel Dew

        Here is my thought…

        Apple iPhone users, my wife included, love their device. They, generally, upgraded from a non-smart phone (think flip) and simply keep getting new iDevices. I know some of them who, after being introduced to the tech, now want more to do with tech.

        I want SD cards. I use my phone to read, browse, listen to music, watch movies, etc. With an SD card (or other memory card) slot, I have options. Have you tried to fit your iTunes or other music library in 32G? Perhaps mine is HUGE.

        Wait, you say, music and other content is stored in the cloud…

        Sure, as long as you have a connection… Many are off-line (even on Verizon or US Cellular). I paid for my content, I want my content local. This is right for me, and everyone else might find it wrong for them.

        I find people, after some experience with technology, like more options rather than fewer…

    • Marvin

      I personally think that it is a bit confusing for new Android users.
      Usually when an SD card is supported, there are 3 different storages:
      Phone storage, internal SD card and External SD card.
      Additionally some apps can’t be transferred to an SD card adding more to the confusion of a a New Android user. Then apps that support widgets must not be transferred to an SD card so it will continue to work. Other phones that also support SD card tends to use only a portion of the storage for apps.

      • n25philly

        If it’s confusing it’s Google’s own fault. Apps like quickpic and mxplayer finds all the appropriate files no matter where they are located quickly and easily no matter where they are located. If google would make their file system work well then there would be no confusion. But then how would they force you to do things their way. The
        Nexus line is obviously for the google sheep which is why I won’t buy any

        • domi1k

          What a bullshit comment full of contradictories.
          Poor filesystem and capable of fast file lookup through entire system?
          Google forcing you? I thought you where an iSheep till I read this.

          I do agree the folders are not very well organized but it’s *nix based, just like IOS and that’s where they origin from.

    • Paul

      Probably Apple’s reasoning as well huh. Sure, let’s not focus on setting ourselves apart by offering microsd expansion, mechanical keyboards, a D-Pad, interchangeable batteries, etc. let’s follow their path.

      I love Android but can’t stand it becoming more and more like a certain other phone. I loved what set them apart, having options and choices. MicroSD gave me the option of choosing my memory size, 4gb, 8gb, 16gb, 32gb or 64gb in addition to whatever’s built into the phone. Having a D-Pad, mechanical keyboard, etc. all stuff I could get that Apple users couldn’t. But I guess that’s all changing now and Google’s realizing Apple’s original approach of consistency and lack of options is the simplest and “best” way to do things? No thank you. At least some companies are still innovating with Android, like the Note II. It may not be for everyone but at least the stylus is an attempt to change the ‘norm’, even if it is old school. My wife still has a Captivate Glide because she can’t give up her physical keyboard, I don’t blame her, I can type 3x faster on her phone than I can on my Galaxy S II, no matter which software keyboard I try. She can’t wait for the Galaxy SIII with mechanical keyboard they’re supposedly making.

    • Jesper-SB

      On top of that “the average consumer” has been using memory card for quite a few years now in camera’s and other consumer electronics. If Duarte’s argument would be valid then cameras could not be sold at all. Clearly that’s not the case.

      I’d expect such bogus nonsense from Apple, but IMO it’s a first from Google.

  • OnIn2

    “Everybody likes the idea of having an SD card, but in reality it’s just confusing for users.”

    Huh ? Everyone wants it. Customer Right ?

    • Marvin

      I don’t want it. I used to want it but after using a Nexus device, I think No SD card support is better.

      • Paul

        Until you run out of space. Especially with the 8gb model. You know who had an 8gb model phone with no MicroSD? Apple, in 5 years ago. Yes the cloud is better now and the Nexus 4 is crazy cheap off contract which is awesome, but it’s still a slap in the face to Android. Offering people a 16gb model for $15 more and a 32gb model for $30 more and a 64gb model for $50 more (than the $300 base price) would have been better. I’d only consider giving up my 64gb Class 10 MicroSD card if the phone had the equivalent storage. But the Note II I’m getting has 32gb on board and add in my 64gb MicroSD and I’m set. Fill up my MicroSD card while on vacation taking videos and pictures? No sweat, switch to a backup 16gb I have in my laptop bag.

        • Marvin

          I don’t run out of space. I uninstall apps that I don’t use. I don’t hoard apps, I don’t hoard musics and movies. I only put what I think I’ll need for the next 7 days. Not only that it saves storage space, it makes my phone faster and less cluttered with icons. And all my music, photos and documents are stored in Dropbox and Google Drive so whenever there is an Emergency all I have to do is access dropbox then download it.

          • glennw

            Bully for you, Marvin. If smartphones only need to cater to you, then they’d be all set.

            My phone has 16GB internal storage, and I have a 32GB microSD card installed. With music, photos, and HD videos that I shot from the phone, I currently have 8GB available internal storage, and 15GB left on the microSD card.

            With my music saved in the SD card, I can listen to them without relying on cloud storage, which (1) requires additional subscription fees to have sufficient storage space, (2) cannot be accessed if my phone has bad or no reception, and (3) uses up my data, which Verizon and AT&T like to charge premiums for.

            But, if I wanted to, I can also keep my music in the cloud. I have that choice. I can decide for myself if that’s what I want or not. Without an external memory slot, that choice is no longer my own.

          • rsanchez1

            That’s way too much work.

        • Marvin

          it’s been more than a year now but my Android phone’s 16GB of storage is only half full.

          • riz

            dude its not just for the storage. it is also very versatile and gives many advantages to many users which outweighs the minor confusion. for some of what i am talking.
            - when i am traveling i like to keep my media (songs, movies…) in my device. were a cloud storage is not an option
            -when i switch devices
            -when i need to transfer big files to someone without data(faster and easier)
            -when i need to segregate my files (all work related files in one sd card or all kids animation movies in one sd card or)
            -nope cloud storage is not an option for all especially when taking into consideration the limited plans and how expensive it is in most parts of the world.

            what i said are just some of what sd card is usefull there are many many more scenerios its not just for having cheap expansion of memory.

          • Anthony E

            All I’ve read there was, “it’s been a year and I’ve been micromanaging the small amount of space on my device. I don’t keep music on there, because I’d run out. And, I uninstall every app after i use it, then re-install it the next time I use it, that way if i need to download a big app, i won’t have to uninstall a whole bunch at once.”

          • ionorov

            @Anthony E
            Lol! The nightmare some people go through… when there is a really simple, really cheap solution just there beside them.

            It’s great you only use 8GB. Seriously, congratulations. But don’t expect others to live by your standards.

      • rsanchez1

        Only because of the stupid way Android handles SD cards.

  • zdogbone

    Why don’t Nexus devices have SD cards?

    “Everybody likes the idea of having an SD card, but in reality it’s just confusing for users.”

    ugh, if I wanted my hand held I would have bought an iPhone.

  • Dezzy

    How is having an s/d card confusing?

    • heat361

      I think he means that people will get confused by having two storage systems to look for their files through.

      • Paul

        While I’ll admit this is kind of frustrating on Samsung devices, /sdcard /sdcard/exteran_sd/ on stock ROM’s and /emmc and /sdcard on AOSP ROM’s, it’s something I’m willing to live with if it means more storage. Samsung’s approach is built in memory and no MicroSD card in the box. Most users will go with this configuration. But power users, like me, will choose to add a MicroSD card and then users like me will know how to make use of it.

        That’s like saying “We’re going to sell laptops with no memory slots, all on board, because adding memory is confusing to most users”. “We’re going to solder the hard drive onto the motherboard because most users won’t want to upgrade the hard drive or find it too confusing”.

        • mdw

          Not a power user here But I have to mention my only complaint with my g_tab 10.1 and that its the lack of storage space and flexibility.
          Being a regular traveler, the Sammy has its limitations. A flight overseas will eat all your movies quickly and easily.and you need PC if you want to put new movies in.some anal folks on here claim they only need 8GB after a year…whatever…that will not even take you to Japan…

      • rsanchez1

        Then they should work on making it less confusing. If SD cards really were so confusing, they wouldn’t be a market. But SD cards offer a cheap and easy way for people to transfer photos from their cameras to their laptops. Smartphones took advantage and offered users option to transfer photos, videos, apps, whatever to their computers, but they didn’t take a cue from desktop operating systems. Pop the SD card, and file browser opens up to the SD card. You know where the SD card is and what is in it. It’s not complicated at all, Google is the one making it confusing with Android.

    • ionorov

      Because you can easily get 64GB mSD cards at $45-60.

      It confuses and terrifies iphone owners… who can’t imagine paying so little for so much value.

  • ranwanimator

    Sorry, I love and adore the SD card slot on my Prime. Granted it is difficult to find in a file explorer due to the way that Google has changed the file system, but the convenience of easily swapping out media far outweighs the negatives in my book.

    • mitcoes

      Instead of making a better the file system for teh average user or even include a gparted alike, and of course an easy way to move apps to the SD as Norton utilities or App2SD does, they cut this AMAZING way of buying cheap extra storage.

      Probably we will see the same hardware with SDs or even this same hardware hacked some way.

  • LukeT32

    Any answers about LTE?????? I understand the Gnex had issues, but tons of other phones have been released with LTE without issues. The technology and software behind everything has greatly improved the user experience/battery life. The biggest killer on my phone is screen on time…..

    I feel like the lack of LTE was just to make it out sooner with less work…. The silly iPhone finally has LTE and the Nexus line drops it?! Seems a bit backwards.

    I’m on VZW and now have no phone at the current time to upgrade to(Currently using Gnex). I was hoping a Nexus 4 was going to be in my future.

    • LukeT32


      I found this article, but it still seems like Google is limiting themselves, but not supplying a phone to the largest carrier in the US. Samsung seemed to have no issue to release a phone on every carrier with the S3……..

      • reddragonman

        Why pander to a company that makes it hard to upgrade software in a timely fashion? There may be one for Verizon in the future, but why not look at the bigger worldwide picture. You’re talking about one carrier that would require totally different radios in, along with software approval by Verizon. This is also a phone that will be available at a crazy cheap price, and is not subsidized at the moment. Perhaps Verizon will choose to have a subsidized version of this phone, but it won’t truly be a nexus, and I believe Google is trying to gain back the nexus image. Talk to your carrier, and ask them why they make it difficult to get phones on their network.

      • iamXiV92a

        You missed the biggest part of that article… Google would have to build 77 different version JUST for the US Market.

        LTE isn’t standardised yet and until it is, Google see LTE as not cost effective. They would have to work with and rely on carriers for support, thereby taking Android update control away from Google and leaving them to the likes of AT&T, Verizon and Sprint who ALL have to pick away and bloat up stock Android.

  • FA1SGL

    Those “confused” by SD cards are not in your target demographic.

    • Thomas Biard

      I agree. As was said in another article (sorry I forgot which one, and paraphrasing), “The nexus line is aimed at a niche group of people that prefer a raw Android experience”. I think that these customers are the ones that have the absolute least confusion about how an SD card works on the Android system.

      My guess is money. It costs 50 more dollars for the consumer to go from the 8Gb to the 16Gb with internal memory. If it had an SD slot, it would cost 10-15 more dollars to add a 16Gb card, and the manufacturer wouldn’t see any of that money. I guaranty it doesn’t cost 50 dollars to add an extra 8Gb to manufacture.

      • ionorov

        > I guaranty it doesn’t cost 50 dollars to add an extra 8Gb to manufacture.
        You’re right, it doesn’t. Sites like Anandtech regularly call out manufacturers for charging $50 for what is actually $6 worth of 8GB storage.

  • mattcoz

    Those are some BS answers.

    1. The buttons were always in the lower left on tablets, no matter which way you held them, easily within reach of your left hand. Now, unreachable by either hand. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    2. Confusing for users? Ha! Everyone knows the reason for it is because they want to push their cloud services. Why act like it isn’t?

    • Marvin

      Just don’t buy it. You don’t have to call it stupid.

  • josh

    If a phone doesn’t have an SD card slot, it should come with an OTG cable with ‘StickMount’ preloaded and a complimentary ‘Root’ kit out of the box

  • http://www.facebook.com/williamhester William Hester

    What most of you are saying is that having an external SD Card is not confusing. It isn’t – for people who know what they’re doing. For others that don’t know as much, it’s quite complicated, especially when you plug it into the computer and it mounds as two “drives.” The average user will get confused by this. It’s much simpler for the average user to have just one permanent storage space than two.
    Your next argument is probably something like “Well, the Nexus phones are targeted at developers.” You would be right, but the goal of Nexus phones is also, and probably more importantly, Google’s attempt to lead by example. They’re trying to show manufacturers what an android handset can be, and they’re trying to make it as simple as possible for everyone to use.

    • Marvin

      very well said.

      • http://www.facebook.com/williamhester William Hester

        Thank you!

    • Tangent

      Any user that is confused by an SD card and two drives being mounted would be be limited to plugging the phone in and hoping for a fully automated sync program to run. Even mounting a single drive and doing anything with it would likely be above their level of expertise.

      • http://www.facebook.com/williamhester William Hester

        Their goal is simplicity, and you can’t argue that having one drive is more simple than two. There are multiple times when you are affected by having multiple drives. Sometimes, when saving in apps, it asks you if you pick which storage device you would like to use. Really, this is no big deal, but the problem persists where it is not seamless. Being seamless is something that Android has had an issue with since the beginning. It is something that Apple has dominated in, yet Android seems to struggle still, years after its release. Don’t get me wrong, it is much better. I love Android; I have followed it since the G1, but it isn’t perfect, and that’s what Google is trying to do.

    • phor11

      You say they’re trying to lead by example, but all I see is yet another company charging $50 for 8GB of storage when I can buy a 64GB SD card for that same price.
      That’s not leading by example, that’s following Apple’s lead in gouging consumers.

      If they’re worried about confusion, simply don’t add an SD card out of the box. But don’t completely remove the option. SD card support has been a HUGE advantage for Android for years.

      • wow

        Seriously you think Google is trying to nickel and damn you when their 16gb version of a super high end phone is 350 dollars?

        Most high end phones when they come out are 600+. Seriously stop crying.

        • ionorov

          Talk to some Nexus 7 owners. I hear some are feeling burnt. 8-16GB worth of burning, actually :)

          If only they hadn’t waited 2-3 months before buying… oh wait… it was only 2-3 months since Google offered the N7.

        • phor11

          You can’t look at JUST the price of the 16GB model.
          I’m not complaining about the 8GB price.
          That’s a FANTASTIC price for these specs.

          But the fact is, they’re charging $50 for 8GB of flash storage.
          That’s literally the only difference between the two models.
          That IS nickel and dime-ing consumers for storage space.

    • mdw

      Really? And using iTunes is less confusing? ? ?
      Seriously, what is so difficult about 2 external drives? Every one I know has external USB drives next to their PC s.

  • noojAb

    Apologies in advance for my copy/paste, but here’s my question for Matias:

    +Matias Duarte In what android version will you address the multitasking UI which is currently terrible?

    In stock android 2.3, you’d have access to 8 recent apps on screen at once. (if you run CM, you can have 12 or 16).

    Why in android 4.0/.1/.2 can I only access 4 recent apps at once?

    This is particularly frustrating on tablets, but nearly as frustrating on phones as well.

    A the very least, TWO columns of thumbnails would be nice for phones, and maybe 3 or four columns with much larger thumbs for tablets.

    That would at least hold us off until you can address this more seriously.

  • Orion78

    Confusing? OK Mr. Duarte….whatever you say.

  • stenzor

    Nexus phones are going from the target “Android nerd” demographic, to the mainstream smartphone user demographic.. I agree with what Matias has to say in this case. As much as I would have liked 32GB on the Nexus 4, I haven’t filled up my 16GB on my Galaxy Nexus since I bought it a year ago.

    • Anthony E

      You must have a small music collection.

      • stenzor

        No, I have about 200GB in total.. I don’t remember how much, but a lot of it is on Google Music.. I rarely have “no service”, and in those situations I save some music for offline listening

    • ionorov

      Yay for you! 16GB is enough! Huzzah!

      Are you the final authority of the wants and needs of the entire world population of mainstream smartphone users? :)

      I want to support Google and Nexus. I try to promote Android to my “mainstream” friends. What do I say to turn them?
      - Android has LTE = my friends say: “so does the iphone”
      - Android has big screens = “iphone 5 has that 4 inch screen now”
      - Android has quad-core = “doesn’t really look faster to me”
      - Android has google maps = “nokia has maps too, apple will improve theirs”
      - Android has great camera = “like the Lumia 920?”
      - Android has widgets = “cool but not a deal-breaker, also Lumia has live tiles”
      - Android has colours = “oooo… HTC 8X comes in purple!”

      But when I say: you can buy a 64GB mSD for $50 and stick into your old SGS2, they go: “really? wow! I have to pay $200 extra to get the iphone 64GB!”

      Is that the “mainstream” user you’re talking about?

      • stenzor

        “Are you the final authority of the wants and needs of the entire world population of mainstream smartphone users? :)”

        -No, I never said I was.. I was just writing my opinion, which is the same as what you are doing.

        My comment about the mainstream users was in response to the unification of the UI and the removal of sd cards. I never said that 16GB is optimal, I just said it works for me. Manufacturers can have more than 32GB of rom without adding an sd card slot and without charging exuberant amounts for it like Apple does. Why they (Google and LG) didn’t, I don’t know.. but sd cards are not necessary.

  • jenskristian

    I personally have no problem with the absent SD-card slot. Give me 16GB internally and I have more than enough storage. The reason for this is that I stream all my music, and I don’t watch movies on my phone.

    On a tablet however I prefer a little more space when I’m traveling and want to put some movies and episodes for offline viewing. 32GB would be enough for me (currently only have 16GB though), so no SD-card necessary here either.

    With that said I do understand that some really need SD-card slots because of the need to store all media locally. Duarte’s answer about this I don’t think is all that bad. If they want Nexus devices to be for everyone dropping the SD-card slot will remove one potensial source of confusion. We might be seeing a shift from targeting only the “nerds” to targeting everyone. All you have to do is watch the Nexus 7 commercials to see that.

    • phor11

      Oh, they’re definitely trying to shift the Nexus brand into the mainstream.
      Which is fine, as long as they don’t abandon the users who have been loyal to the brand for years. Completely removing the option for SD or large storage options (as well as dropping support for MHL and other things) is an unfortunate step in that direction.

    • ionorov

      And we can argue all we want about what constitutes a “nerd” and a “mainstream user”. :)

      Simple fact is that mSD are a simple, cheap alternative. Yes, it may cause some confusion but that can be easily mitigated (e.g., leave the SD slot blank out of the box).

  • Jeffroid

    I’m sorry. I’m not happy with the response. Still does not explain what happened to Android being able to give people “choices” before.

    • Marvin

      What do you mean? It’s not like Google suddenly controls the manufacturers on how they have to make their phones. The choice is still there.

      • Jeffroid

        Here’s an easy way to put it:

        1) I want a Nexus device.
        2) I want Micro SD slot.
        3) ????

        4) I buy other phones. I cry because it is not Nexus.
        4) I buy Nexus 4. I cry because it does not have Micro SD slot.

        well sure, I have a choice of crying over one thing or the other.

  • Trevor Hayes

    All I can say is if Android stops supporting SD cards I will be pissed…

    I need an SD card

    Max Payne
    Bards Tale
    Generation of Chaos

    Those 4 games right there would fill my entire internal started rage on the Nexus 4

    • Marvin

      Android in particular will not stop supporting SD cards. It’s there already. Now it is up to the manufacturers whether they will put SD cards on their phones or not.
      You are not forced to buy anything that has no SD card support. It’s a matter of choice.

  • chicagobob

    this kind of babble is why i don’t have any apple gear. what a goof. My suggestion is get some one that wears normal glasses and van make a device we geeks want.

  • whyzor

    an sdcard can be optional, like 8 GB internal for apps, but have the external slot for storing media like music. It’s not confusing at all. It’s a lazy answer.

  • Ben

    As a very deeply entrenched developer, I very much appreciate the direction that the Android team is taking with the omission of SD cards in devices. It’s not that they are not useful, they are, but they also carry with them a legacy that the shift to mobile has the opportunity to change for the better by offering simpler usage models when dealing with data. Thankfully, with the innovations trending with Android, we generally need not worry about closing applications, saving data to files, performing file maintenance, performing OS maintenance, loading software from physical media, shielding ourselves from malicious software, etc. These are carry overs from the PC era that served that style of UX quite well, but not now; it is certainly no coincidence that we are not running desktop Windows or some flavour of Debian Linux on our tablets. External storage is yet another of these carry overs, and in the face of the cloud, they are certainly legacy and quickly becoming antiquated notions that greatly complicate management, security, and maintenance.

    This follows the real world. How much of the population keep their money in safes? Certainly banks offer a number of advantages. Data storage is quickly becoming a similar service.

    • ionorov

      > External storage is yet another of these carry overs, and in the face of the cloud,
      > they are certainly legacy and quickly becoming antiquated notions that greatly
      > complicate management, security, and maintenance.

      While I generally agree with you, I do not think the cloud is there yet. Local storage will always be important, especially now where we have
      - expensive data connections
      - expensive extended storage plans
      - unreliable wireless network access

      The cloud may be the future, but you cannot say it is ready now. Maybe when LTE is as cheap and ubiquitous as electricity… then I’ll swallow my argument. For now, I disagree.

      > How much of the population keep their money in safes?
      Yet safes are still around. They serve other functions. They are still useful and for some people, they are much cheaper and convenient than banks :)

  • Sid

    Confusing eh? Then offer 32/64 gigs inbuilt storage. Make it simple!

    • iamXiV92a

      That still won’t be enough for some people ;-)

  • Gary

    This guy sounds like a tool. Nexus devices are targeted towards developers/techies, you know, people that understand how SD Cards work. This is like Apple or Microsoft removing ports on their machines so users can’t connect external storage devices and saying it’s just too confusing for consumers.

  • Mix

    Power users buy unlocked phones especially Androids.

    Average Joe’s, usually, do not.

  • ibap

    Is this guy saying we’re too stupid to manage an SD card?

    And what the heck is he wearing?

  • Damien

    What’s even more confusing is a company not listening to their consumers requests and needs and thinking that they know best. In case Mr. Duarte has forgotten, these very same hardware omissions are a huge reason that web os devices failed. Remember the original pre with no external storage and cloud focus? How did that fare against the android phones of that time?

    Why not have the port there for the people that WILL use it? The ones who won’t will choose to ignore it and everyone will be happy. If it was a cost saving measure then have 2 models…one sealed with inductive charging and another with 16 gigs with removable sd and battery wothout inductive charging and lets see which one sells more.

    • Ben

      Actually, the android team actually does usability studies to validate their UI decisions. This provides insight beyond what may merely “sound” like a good idea.

  • n25philly

    confusing for users? Seriously, he couldn’t possibly think of a more BS answer than that

  • Cameron

    NO SD. FINE.

    But why is the internal storage getting smaller? Even with cloud storage services and a 32 GB internal card on my current Galaxy Nexus, I still struggle to find enough space for all of my installed games and apps. Higher graphics/ram specs for gaming means there should be higher storage for gaming. Seems like a step backwards. There is no way I will purchase the Nexus 4 with such a small storage capacity. Hopefully a third or fourth model with arrive with 32/64 GB… otherwise, this Nexus ship has sailed for me.

  • DivFil

    This is as big of a scam as making phone’s out of GLASS! This is insulting, first of all, Android is equipped with an awesome file system seemlessly integrating our media from both internal and expendable storages, such is evident when you enter the Gallery, music, Video apps. Search works seemlesly as well. Look, Matias,(where is Bubbles?) You call average consumer a monkey to use the tech that was around before it got into cellphones, like in digital cameras and PC’s, that it is confusing while using your awesome OS that knows its way around so we don’t need to. But to make this kind of remark, is to contradict ALL cloud based storage options, so heavily promoted, heck, forced upon us – services that aren’t even seemless or nearly as integrated with our devices. So far HTC Sense smartphones are the only ones integrating DropBox, etc, within the interface, its a start. All those saying expandable storage is confusing are full of shit, be it Matias or Apple. Expendable storage means you have the choice of buying a class 10 superfast mSD of 64GB for $19.99, instead giving Google an extra $50 for 8, or the King, no- Messiah of ripoff, Apple some $200. Not only that, you are FORCED to PURCHASE Cloud-aka-their storage for a monthly premium x infinity. For the final blow, you end up not even owning your media, it literally belongs to them. You’re renting your own shit. People are paid $10 or less a day to make thousands of these brain friers on an assambly line a day, think about it people. We fund these companies, he can’t come out and say vommit like that.But Matias has no choice, this is above his head. He has to defend it. Oh yeah, another one, this is brilliant LOL : “IN ORDER TO MAKE THE DESIGN SO IMPOSSIBLY THIN, WE HAD TO SECRIFICE(ALWAYS) WITH EXPENDABLE STORAGE”, bollox! G.L.A.S.S screens and Storage shrivels are their way of squeezin the chicken !

  • Genjinaro

    “Everybody likes the idea of having an SD card, but in reality it’s just confusing for users.” – Such bull***t, if thats nice and confusing, the notification bar is nice & confusing.

  • Tesla Coil

    Given the option of an sdcard slot, I’d take one. I’d pay extra for one. But I’m totally 100% fine with fixed storage only. But give me the option of enough! It should be 16/32 minimum. 16/32/64 would be better still. I’m getting it anyway because it’s so awesome in other respects but 16gb is a disappointment to me, I’ll have to actually sacrifice aspects of how I typically use my device to go down to 16gb.

    I personally think matey on Google + is flat out lying regarding the motivations for the storage choices because whilst a lack of removable sd is 100% plausible given his stated reasons, that doesn’t explain why 8/16 exists over 16/32. I can’t believe it’s cost because the components are so cheap.

  • Charlesbrown79

    So the phone that is bought directly from Google will have no LTE, no expandable storage, and no removable battery? I know they want to directly compete with the iphone 5, but this is crazy. With the exception to the LTE, since not available around me, the other 2 features are classic Android features that I’ve come to love. Even through my bitching, I’ll still probably buy it.

  • boooooooo

    who is this dork and why does he hate more than half of america?

  • Toha

    I was surprised about the SD card explanation. Normally Google have constructive answers/feedback. This was just stupid. Everyone likes it…..but confusing.
    How can you like something, becouse then you know about it and what you like but at same time its confusing???

  • SimonSays

    If it is confusing for people, they aren’t going to use it, hell they might not even know it’s there – what the fuck is the problem?

    That was the ultimate copout answer.

  • YMS123

    I’m a user, I’m not confused, just sad

  • Chris

    It is not the SD card that is confusing. People are generally unsophisticated enough to operate them properly.

  • Mike C.

    Google seems out of touch with reality. Every Nexus device is shipped to too little storage and no way to expand it. Putting stuff in the cloud is nice, but coverage is not perfect (and will never be) and I don’t like to pay more to the greedy carriers than absolutely necessary.

    With the next Nexus I hope we will get 64GB storage and a microSD slot. Unfortunately google seems to be headed in the wrong direction.

  • perlowin

    I LOVE Google and their products, but I’m VERY frustrated that they don’t put an SD slot in their devices. I have a Samsung Tab 2 7″ with 8GB, so I bought a 32GB SD Card — Guess what, I can’t use it for my applications or Movies I rent from Google Play (unless there’s way I don’t know about). I had a long plane flight and wanted to download a few movies, but could only fit 2 of them and that was after deleting a bunch of other stuff. And Samsung makes it confusing by calling their 2ndary storage SDCard and the SD card ext_SDCard. When I moved my SD card from my EVO to my Samsung phone, my picture’s all disappeared since the new phone was putting them on the 2ndary storage instead of my SD-Card. Someone else said the SD card isn’t just for storage but also to transfer your stuff from phone to phone to tablet to tablet (my words, their idea), but when one manufacturer uses SD and another uses Ext_SD, and another (Google) doesn’t use it at all, yeah it gets confusing, or frustrating more likely.

    I understand that Google (and Amazon) want you to use cloud storage and stream everything, but there are times, believe it or not, when one DOESN’T have access to the internet. Yes, even in this day and age!!! For me it’s mostly on an airplane where I don’t want to spend more money just so I can watch a movie I’m already paying to rent. And who knows if you’ll get the speed you need to stream a movie!

    I really wish Google would adopt the philosophy of the SD card and create a standard that other would follow.

    • ionorov

      Wow… I think you just simultaneously attacked his and Google’s no mSD stance… and validated it at the same time (by saying its confusing). I’ve up-voted you… I think… hmmm.

      Are you a politician? :D

  • jamal adam

    If everybody likes the idea of having one then there is no question why it shouldn’t be available. In what reality is it confusing. I need more storage space for games, music, and photos because the cloud isn’t mature enough at this point for me to completely go that route.

  • glennw

    So here’s his FULL answer to the lack of SD slots decision:

    “Everybody likes the idea of having an SD card, but in reality it’s just confusing for users.

    If you’re saving photos, videos or music, where does it go? Is it on your phone? Or on your card? Should there be a setting? Prompt everytime? What happens to the experience when you swap out the card? It’s just too complicated.

    We take a different approach. Your Nexus has a fixed amount of space and your apps just seamlessly use it for you without you ever having to worry about files or volumes or any of that techy nonsense left over from the paleolithic era of computing.

    With a Nexus you know exactly how much storage you get upfront and you can decide what’s the right size for you. That’s simple and good for users.”

    I don’t know about other Android phones, since I’ve only had HTC phones, but in my camera app, there’s a setting called “Storage.” In it, I can choose either “Storage Card” or “Phone storage.”

    Now, regardless of if the pictures are in phone storage or storage card, the pictures I took with my phone all show up in my gallery under “Camera shots.”

    I don’t really see how that’s confusing.

    When I upload the pictures to Facebook, Dropbox, Google Drive, Flickr, or send them via email or MMS, whatever, I choose from the gallery. No confusion there.

    When I want to transfer the pictures from my phone to my computer, if I’ve already uploaded them to Dropbox, Google Drive, or some other cloud service, then they’re already synced with my computer… Otherwise, I personally use AirDroid and look in the DCIM folders. If I don’t see it in the ext_sd folder, I look in the sdcard folder. It’s not rocket science.

    If I connect my phone to my computer via USB, I see two new drives. It’s either in one drive or the other, under the DCIM folder. For me, it’s always in the external card, so I always look in that one drive, but it’s hardly any more difficult to look in the other drive.

    So, what happens if I swap out a card? Personally, I’ve never had to do that, but I would imagine it’s the same thing as any digital camera that comes with some amount of internal storage–Use the internal storage if there is no external storage; if there is external storage, and the setting was already set to use the external storage, then use the external storage. If the setting is to use the internal storage, then use the internal storage.

    Seems like a pretty simple if… else… if statements that would take maybe 4 lines of code.

  • D

    If you don’t know how to use a micro sd card then you should not own a smartphone unless your an isheep they don’t know about expandable memory unless they pay Apple more to get the 64gb iPhone

  • rsanchez1

    It’s not confusing to users, but apparently it’s confusing to Google. In fact, they probably only think it’s confusing to users because of how badly they handle SD cards in Android. Really, there is no reason for such poor SD card support in Android. All other major operating systems handle SD cards with ease. Even “dumb” cameras have no problem with SD cards. Android doesn’t know what to make of SD cards. I’m tired of having to resort to third-party solutions, often requiring root, to have to make Android move apps to my SD card successfully, to have Android move them to SD card without telling me there isn’t enough space, even though there’s gigs more left. And then there’s all the other ways SD cards are annoying on Android, like what another commenter said about Samsung phones taking photos off the SD card randomly. FFS Google, I pop the SD card into my Windows laptop and it just works, why the hell can’t it be the same on Android?

  • mato

    Android is losing sight of itself, and degrading.

    I think Google and Android in general is forgetting what helped make them so popular : Options

    Keyboards, Expandable storage, all the stuff were losing, are the things that set us apart in the first place.

    But at the rate in which mobile phones are progressing, how are they gonna make any money by selling you phone’s that last forever, and have all the fixens to be upgraded forever as time goes on? They cant. They have to downgrade features to make the phone cheaper, and also to make you buy a new one faster. The numbers don’t lie.

    Ill tell you what though, My G1 wouldnt have ICS on it if it wasnt for the SD Card. In 4 years, lets see what i CANT run on my N4 because the lack of .. whatever its lacking.

    Google needs a legitimate “D” line – for DEVELOPERS, your making 4 nexus products, why not make it 5 and allow the devs that help make your stupid fucking Google is what it is today, to at least have the upper hand while developing the future apps of tomorrow

    I can see it now, a board meeting at Google, everyone being asked to vote for MicroSD or not.. and as ppl raise their hand saying they do want MicroSD, Andy Rubin looks over at them, and their hand’s all slowly lower themselves and they get that look. .. you know, THAT look.

    Your choice / opinion was made for you before you ever knew you had an option, THANKS GOOGLE! Now give me only healthy food as my only option for breakfast so i can shoot myself in the fucking face before lunchtime.

    • masterpfa

      We are all entitled to our opinions, just as we are all entitled to choice.

      You may want a keyboard others don’t. These decisions are not made by market men but by engineers and developers along with their market research,

      Developers have always been around to satisfy the needs for the likes of yourself and they will continue to do, that what DEV is about, but we can’t expect a company to pamper to the needs of the few.

      The number of members of sites such as Android and me, Android Central, XDA etc. probably total 1 Million or so with many readers/members being members of more than one site.. Considering that Android activations is in the region of 1.3M a day and estimates of approx 450M Android Devices, I would hazard a guess that less than 1% of Android users are keen on DEV their phones (Rooting etc) to the degree that most readers here would do.

      So IMO I can see why Google are not pampering to the needs of such a small minority and surely you can see this point too.

  • al

    So he’s saying we’re stuck with that stupid phone UI in tablets, and stuck without SD, just because the average muppet/lemming is totally retarded… WAY TO GO GOOGLE!

  • Paul Atreides

    Sorry Google, you’re doing it wrong.

  • masterpfa

    With regards to storage, some people will always want expandable storage, some will feel they need this.

    Personally I am happy with the package (Nexus 4, 7 & 10) and I would assume with the research that the likes of Google have carried out, they too believe the SD card is not essential.

    Don’t get me wrong ideally I would love SD expand-ability up to 64 Gb with on-board storage of 64 Gb, 13Mp camera, LTE, removable 3000 mAh battery, BUT with the prices these Nexus Devices are being sold at along with the high specs, I for one will be more than happy.

    For those who are not, they will have a choice to choose many of the current devices that do have these features.

  • lovethenexus

    The Nexus 4 seems like a great addition to the new Nexus device lineup. Just a point regarding the Nexus 4’s screen size though. It isn’t actually 4.7″ because the botton 0.4″ is taken up by the on screen buttons. Since the buttons are very much required, people will prefer not to hide them even with a mod.

    Soooo ….. it looks like we are stuck with a 4.3″ screen instead of a 4.7″ one. If anyone is interested in seeing what a 4.7″ screen looks like with capacitive buttons, please compare the Nexus 4 with an LG Optimus G (side by side photos).

    Just wondering why Google would take half an inch away from a user instead of using capacitive buttons in the bottom bezel?


    • RobBull75

      There are two reasons I can think of: uniformity with tablet UI’s – Nexus phones and tablets have no physical buttons – and cost of production/repair. Capacitive and physical buttons are an added cost on products that have thin margins compared to its competitors and they break. Google has shown that its ability to deal with warranty exchanges/repairs is not up to snuff (Nexus 7).

  • al

    “I would have ran out to buy that killer Nexus 10… but have to think twice because of the lack of mSD. I venture that there are a few like me.”

    +1, i think this need a poll

  • Tritaru

    WHOA you totally clipped what Matia swas REALLY SAYING:

    “Everybody likes the idea of having an SD card, but in reality it’s just confusing for users. If you’re saving photos, videos or music, where does it go? Is it on your phone? Or on your card? Should there be a setting? Prompt everytime? What happens to the experience when you swap out the card? It’s just too complicated.”