The future of Smartphones and Microsd card

Posted Dec 08, 2012 at 3:04 am in Threads > Smartphones & Tablets

With consideration of major android flagship releases, the trends seems to be that most manufacturers are choosing to abandon microsd cards. Thinking of recent HTC releases (One X, V, S…), Xperia line, and most prolifically, the Nexus line, it appears as if the future for expandable future in upcoming smartphones is bleak.

With the exception of Samsung (staying true with removable battery AND microsd), it seems like all the other manufacturers are choosing to leave it out in favor of overpricing internal storage upgrades of the same phone at $100 intervals.

Personally, I was secretly hoping (really praying actually) that the Nexus 4 would tank and get no sales…I know it sounds bad, but I want Google to take a hint that forcing people to use their cloud services by eliminating choices is BAD for consumers.

Anyway that’s my opinion. Let me know what you guys think about this trend? Are you worried as a consumer and Android fan? Do you seeing this pattern ever changing or is this the end to expandable memory on Android (as removable batteries are all but already dead)?

  • dino13

    Well LG also has an microSD slot, also the flagship of the xperia line the t version has a microSD slot, so it’s not all bad. Please don’t forget that integrating the slot means having additional costs and nowdays it is cheaper and wiser to give the average user right away 8gb instead of some few mb with an microSD slot.

    The nexus line has never had a microSD slot. That’s not going to change anytime soon.

    • MC_Android

      Uhh…well the Nexus One did. It was arguably the best Nexus phone in comparison to its time. I find it a problem that the Nexus devices does great on every aspect but to get it, one would have to compromise with a usually lackluster camera and the inability to expand very limited storage.

      • dino13

        Oh sorry, totally forgot that the One had a slot. I still think that for the most of the people it is more convinient living without any additional slot. Well and since Nexus is trying to be more of a referencephone then mainstream that is mainly bought by techfreaks it should include a slot.

  • bellken

    Android OS does not natively support external SD cards (none of the Nexus devices have them). It is the device makers, that hack that in. Personally, I like the option of microSD slot, but, I think they will likely be gone from most new devices in a year, or, two.

    • MC_Android

      Thanks for confirming that. I believe Google’s stance is if you want Nexus certification, one requirement is that the device does not support microsd expansion. I really don’t understand this choice.

      Expandable storage was always one of the biggest differentiating factor between Android devices and iOS. With Flash no longer supported moving on, batteries being built-in, and now microsd quickly being filtered out, I’m starting to see increasingly less differences between Android and iOS devices (hardware-wise).

      • WlfHart

        Sad but true… I hope Android devices don’t continue this trend of internal batteries and lack of microSD slots.

    • thymeless

      I don’t think that’s correct. The US Xoom was a Google Experience Device, running stock Android Honeycomb. Initially, it didn’t have uSD access, but it did come, I think at 3.2 as I recall. And it has had that support from Google since.

      Outside, the US, Motorola themselves added in support for uSD from the start, but it wasn’t a GED outside the US.

  • titanium man

    it saddens me that they are excluding this option from new phones nowadays, they should always let you have that option so whenever you want to switch our cards or add more storage you can. especially if your phone bricks or something, you want all your stuff to be backed up. it’s one of the major reasons keeping me away from the Nexus 4 and the tablets.

    • reddawn

      I feel the same way. Its so nice to have all your pics, vids, and whatever else, on one SD card, and use it on different devices.

  • cutiyar neriman

    its wired , if they think we should go to cloud services its false , because iam from Iraq so we don’t have that perfect Internet speed that help us to quickly upload docs,videos,musics ..etc to cloud , my Internet is one of the best internets in Iraq and it has just 256 Kb/sec , and some times goes down to 100 KB/sec.

    • MC_Android

      As a student, I am constantly riding public transportation (primarily underground subway). You can’t get service down there; how is cloud service going to help me there? Conceptually, the idea of cloud service is awesome but not enough countries have to infrastructure or money to support this shift. Again in Canada, we pay some of the highest rates for mobile plans. I’m lucky with 6gb but I struggling to get by monthly. I could imagine that mobile data plans aren’t cheap in Iraq either.

      Anyway, I think Google was being closed-minded when they made this decision regarding expandable storage.

      • dino13

        I don’t know, here in Vienna I have constantly service in the underground subway, guess I’m lucky. How do you reach such a high limit? Don’t you use Wi-Fi on the campus and at home? How is it handled in Canada when you go over your limit? If you reach the limit here they just slow your internetspeed down.

        • MC_Android

          I think Bell just charges you per megabyte used. The fee could definitely rack up significantly.

          I have a pretty long commute so I am often browsing the web, on youtube, etc. It keeps me from getting bored :P

          • orangestrat

            Bell has pretty decent service on the LRT in Edmonton, I dont’ think I could watch youtube, but its enough to listen to music and read articles in Pocket for me. you can always sing, dance and read physical books or something

  • jbcooley

    Skipping the sd card seems to be an easy way to avoid the Microsoft FAT patent. Between that and a trend towards thinner phones, we end up with sealed boxes except for where a sim card is needed.

    • r90a22

      That is a poor excuse for not having a mirco sd expansion slot. What would be wrong with ext2 or ext3. I think they would work just fine. and they should have been used from day one on any android pohone.

  • Nicholas Rynjah

    I think manufacturers should include expandable memory and removable battery in their phones. Look at Samsung their phones are selling well largely because of this reason.

  • orangestrat

    Getting rid of the SD card lets them lump all of the internal storage together and use the ext4 filesystem. Managing where my apps and data were stored and low memory notifications were my least favorite things about Android in the 2.x era. This isn’t about pushing you to cloud services, its about improving the user experience. If the nexus One hadn’t had an SD slot, it would’ve been updated to ICS. SD cards are a crappy alternative to just building phones with adequate storage. The One X+ has 64gb and is $200 on contract. If we’re lucky, that ought to start a trend.

  • kelltrash14

    As long as companies are determined to overcharge by insane amounts for expanded internal storage ($50 for 8 gb? 100 for 16?) SD cards will be a very popular feature…it’s the only way to fight back against the pricing insanity. Once pricing gets in line, SD cards become far less useful.

    • MC_Android

      Problem is how long is it before “pricing gets in line?” I wouldn’t hold my breathe that manufacturers will be willingly lower profit margins

  • DroidPower

    I think in a few years when the manufacturing price of flash memory goes down, we’ll see larger flash memory preinstalled on the devices so that people don’t need to buy more. Since we want thinner phones with better battery and features, the micro sd slot doesn’t make too much sense.

    In terms of the current pricing scheme for adding $100 for doubling the storage (led by apple), that will not last because other manufacturers are already reducing their prices for doubling storage (led by Google).

    Also, as cloud computing becomes more prevalent and data infrastructure improves over time, we are going to do a lot more with cloud and need less physical storage (this is me thinking way way into the future when all this is also affordable).

  • redraider133

    I think we are going to continue seeing SD card slots, just not on the nexus line. I think there is always going to be that option( maybe not a nexus sadly) but samsung doesnt seem to be going away from the sd cards anytime soon. I hope they continue doing it until they at least start making 32gb the minimum internal storage if they offer it without an sd card.

    • Jeffdwisc

      I agree. I think there will always be a desire to be able to expand the storage in one’s phone.

      Also, while they may be at different rates, the size of the operating system will rise just as the size of the storage does. In fact, I think that having larger base storage will in the end encourage software designers to increase the features their systems contain on a base level.

      And the OS is not the only thing that is going to change. With better chips and memory, more complex programs will be written which will need more storage.

      It is all relative and because of this expandable storage will always be in demand in my opinion. I see cloud storage playing a part in this, but I feel it will always be a minor part. I think that SD cards or their predecessors will always be in demand.

      • SGB101

        My desire had less than 75mb of usable app storage, and that was top of the line 2.5 years back.
        Back then that was plenty of room, apps was 1 and 2 mb each, then they started to balloon, ands apps to sd came to the rescue. But alas, in the end even a2sd,wasn’t enough to save the storage issue.

  • MC_Android

    +1 Now if only they stopped developing Touchwiz…

  • rewagner

    It is sad that you buy a phone or tablet that you can double your storage with a SD card only to find out that you can’t put any apps there. Guess it’s still good for storage of other media and documents.

  • cliffy223

    I like having the option of expandable storage but I understand its reasons for not being on the Nexus line. I really believe that either Google has spent too much money in cloud storage (i.e. Drive, Play Music, Picasa, Google+, etc) and this is their way of making the investment secure. Or Google just sees that physical storage is a thing of the past.

  • Phil

    micro SD cards in phones especially cause many problems for users when trying to move files between devices. Many solutions are offered on pages like and related blog post with comments, but often the only fix seems to be a new card.

  • SGB101

    I’ve never had an issue moving a card to a new phone. All u need it one back up app, install that, then restore apps from the back up app, then said apps find all the data.

    End result, in 5mins,it looks identical to the first device.

    Google has even simplified this now by restoring your caps for you, on log in. Tbh it isn’t as quick as the restore from sd, but it is fool proof, and then once all apps are down loaded, they will find your data from your sd card.

    Even my wife can do it. That isn’t a ‘sexist’ thing, its a ‘my wife’ thing!

  • Ankushpm

    Expandable storage is a must. ……may be that’s one of the reason y samsung rules the smartphone market. ….

    • amIT29

      i fail to understand how come htc omit a feature given by current market leader about losing leverage

      all is not lost though htc recently added fm radio to itsphone likesamsung

  • sonicdeathmunky

    I’m not too bothered by lack of SD card in devices. I don’t store a huge amount of data on my phone or tablet. I don’t want my entire music collection on my phone at once (and usually prefer to use 8track or Pandora anyway). If I start to run out of space, I backup savegames and uninstall whatever games I haven’t played in a long time.

  • amIT29

    well samsung will keep sdcard if not for anything else than to get edge frm when compared onshelf ..also i find external very useful for data transfer to and from my phone.

  • sachin_goral

    Well my mobile memory gets full pretty fast considering the videos I record. So I have to back up data on my friends PC then backup that on a DVD drive so that when my friends PC deep sleeps I’ll have backup ready. If there was a memory slot on my phone then I can afford to buy at least 3 memory cards and juggle those for backup.

  • leemy

    It’s plain ridiculous when I try to install a game (NFS Most Wanted, TOP game on Play store), and it wants 2 gigs of internal storage. When I have no card expandability option, I’m screwed.

  • thymeless

    I think the replaceable battery and uSD card are critical design features of a mobile device. They also contribute to the green-ness of using the device (less radio requirement, less interference issue, lower battery use), and recycleability of the device. Being able to replace a worn battery extends the useful life of the device as well as separates items in the recycle stream. It would’nt otherwise get separated because it’s too expensive to pay someone to take the device apart.

    The cloud is a security problem for many businesses as well. Important documents need to never traverse that part of the system. Adoption of tablets and phones for business purposes will be hindered if the cloud is the only available option.

    No, more options is better than fewer.

    • thymeless

      Google pushing cloud services lets them show you more ad copy as you access them, and ups the data usage on your plan, possibly making you more profitable as a user to the cell companies.

      There is a follow-the-money argument to be made in all this….

      • tkarel

        Absolutely! I forget where I read the following, but I never forgot what I read.
        “If you don’t pay for something what’s being sold is you.”

  • pliu.2014

    I like the tough of having a mirco sd card but i could do without the hassle. For the manufactures it saves space and for the consumer it is something that they don’t have to add on. I like the bottom line specs because then to go buy a chip to expand memory is a hassle.

  • ibap

    There are some of us not connected to data all the time. As far as I’m concerned, the major reason for removing sd cards is so the phone can be sold with amped memory for a higher cost than a similar sd card. The non-removable battery scenario is similar – they want to sell you a new phone rather than let you replace the battery. And with poor battery lives, the option to put in a larger battery from the secondary market is also eliminated. The “embedded SIM” follows the same logic. What is the point of that, other than making the phone even less transferable between carriers.

  • Shazam

    I don’t think i’d buy a phone that didn’t have a microsd.

  • Ezy03

    Cloud storagee!

  • redraider133

    Its sad especially with unlimited data plans going away not everyone can rely on the cloud. Hopefully Google mobile will come about and bring back unlimited data plans and then I think most wouldn’t care as much about being forced to rely more on the cloud, although expandable storage would be a more secure and less rely on having a cell signal.

  • Bryan Stoner

    I think Google and other manufacturers either 1. want buttloads of money when people start to rely on cloud services or 2. they truly see a world thats so advanced it’s beyond our comprehension right now.

    There was a discussion in the class I was in. And the basis of the said theory was all computers would basically become dumb terminals. Terminals that access all of their processing power and storage over the internet. If that becomes true then I quit -.-

    • thymeless

      That’s been threatened for a long time, but has not been the model that people have wanted to really use.

      Some of it has happened with Office type programs being run off a server rather than installed to each box. A little of that in Outlook too.

      Linux has had aspects of that with the client server architecture.

      But for interactivity and responsiveness as well as personal and corporate security, its’ not been an acceptable method of working or playing.

      • Bryan Stoner

        Whew, that’s a huge relief : )

  • VerticalCobra

    I’d be ok without an external SD card if (a) there was over 30GB FREE space built-in, (b) cloud usage aka data plans werent so expensive, (c) you could always be connected. Till then you’ll have to pry the SD card from my cold dead hands!

  • greg

    It’s bad thing for people like me because I can only use 500mb a mouth!!!