x PhoneArena is hiring! Reviewer in the USA
  • Options

Why Google wants to kill SD cards, and what's holding them back

0. phoneArena 22 Nov 2011, 15:30 posted on

Many have been curious as to why Google has left out SD card slots in the last 3 flagship devices, and while we don't have the official answer, we have a pretty educated guess...

This is a discussion for a news. To read the whole news, click here

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 15:30 16

1. hunted (Posts: 403; Member since: 21 Sep 2011)

one drawback of not having SD slot is, if our phone is affected from virus the entire memory should be formatted. But if we have dual memory(like sd card) at least we can protect our data.

posted on 23 Nov 2011, 01:25 1

44. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)

Don't you guys back up ur data on your pc? Lol.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 15:41 26

2. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

the answer is already out there in the SGS phones. Large internal memory + memory card. Everyone is happy that way. Its not like that little card reader costs more than a few cents to make, and neither does a memory chip.. espeically when your the manufacturer of said devices like samsung.

Thats one of the main reasons i cross my eyes at the iphone pricing scheme. Even at retail there isnt more than 10-20 bux between 16-32gb and 64 probably isnt even that much of a difference either. Do it at mass production whole sale and ur looking at a few cents to a few bucks per chip. And that brings me to a idea about the lack of memory slots that wasnt brought up in the article. Retail pricing schemes. Like it or not, apple is leading the way in a (what is to me a..) grotesque price gouging scheme and they are seeing massive profits off of it. It wouldn't surprise me at all if other manufactures wanted to try their hands at that.
After all, if Samsung can get even a $50 difference between a 16 gig and 32 gig version of the phone, that is almost all extra profit for them as the chips have very little price difference on mass wholesale. Add in the fact that they actually manufacture those chips, and its going to be an even smaller difference. (internal memory is nothing but an sd card buried in the phone most of the time, in case you didnt know)

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 15:59 5

5. tacohunter (Posts: 408; Member since: 06 Nov 2011)

Yeap, agree.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 16:04 8

6. MikeG77 (Posts: 402; Member since: 24 Nov 2008)

remixfa i'd rather have either a 32 gb nexus or a 16 gb with a sd card slot. I think thats a reasonable request. Like you said it doesn't cost that much to add in a sd card slot.

Apple is seeing massive profits because of how there supply chain is setup and because all there products are made over seas where they can pay there people a lower wage, no wonderful unions and or environmental protection laws.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 18:08 2

27. belovedson (Posts: 988; Member since: 30 Nov 2010)

i dont think you guys used the nexus s. if you did your opinion would change. having an sd card is annoying. its slow, causes force closes, and used unnecessary space.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 20:36 3

40. MikeG77 (Posts: 402; Member since: 24 Nov 2008)

Actually belovedson you are correct I have not used the Nexus S but that doesn't mean my opinion would have been any different had I used it. Anyone who really uses there smart phone wants all the options they can have available to them.

Now in my opinion having an sd card is a good thing that gives us options and hell even if there is a slot for an sd card you can choose to not use it. All of the other issues you have mentioned could be related to a host of other factors such as defective sd card, error within the app etc etc.

If you don't want a phone that has an sd card slot get an iPhone....but I bet you'll complain about that as well.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 21:39 2

42. CRICKETownz (Posts: 980; Member since: 24 Oct 2009)

i use both Android & iPhone, which obviously i'm used to not having a SD card slot on the one. to be honest i think ppl on this site over-complicate the buying process when it comes to smart phones. i fall under the category of someone who really uses their smart phone & SD card slot is well...tomato/to-mah-to. i think to only rely on one type of storage is not that secure but if you do have various back up options that further reinforces that an SD card slot in this day is age is not as significant as it use to be. I would much rather Google come out with a physical sync software similar to itunes or blackberry desktop manager vs. only having the "clouds" available. now that would be a viable option.

posted on 23 Nov 2011, 10:13

59. Goldeneye (Posts: 419; Member since: 22 Jan 2011)

Yes is nice to have the option of a removable memory, but Google is backing what Apple always thought "no SD cards necessary", hate to say it but Apple is leading this industry from just about every angle, Flash first, now SD cards, what's next? I think removable batteries, ahem Moto, about "ot liking SD cards slots in your phone" comment yeah get an Iphone or a Nexus, lol

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 10:26

70. TenshiNo (Posts: 3; Member since: 01 Mar 2012)

Just a quick point of note: Flash on Android isn't "going away". Adobe decided to stop making new versions of Flash (PC and Mobile) in favor of moving towards an HTML5 development suite.

I'm with you and everyone else, though: Large internal memory so that we don't need an SDCARD is great, but still at least give me a slot, so that I can add one if I want. I guess the problem is that the noobs would add an SDCARD, not realizing the complications, and then complain about how "crappy" Android is. The sad part is that most people won't take even 10 minutes to learn what the problems are. They just whine an complain to anyone who will listen, never even realizing that the problem is because of something they have done.

posted on 23 Nov 2011, 06:11 1

51. Fallout09 (Posts: 421; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

Thats why I have a 32 GB class 10 micro sd card my friend. Lightning fast transfer speeds. I see no difference in the intermal memory reads and sd card reads.

posted on 23 Nov 2011, 09:37

57. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

lol, thats because the internal memory is just a memory card itself, and it sure isnt a high end one. :)

posted on 23 Nov 2011, 11:24

61. deathgod (Posts: 122; Member since: 23 Nov 2011)

As a current Nexus S user, having an sd card slot would be a godsend for me. I'm constantly having to delete stuff off my phone just to make space. I hate it. That's one of the reasons I'm skipping over getting the Galaxy Nexus and will most likely be getting the SGS3 instead.

Also how is 16GB internal storage considered large nowadays. I'd consider it minimally adequate.

posted on 23 Nov 2011, 12:28

62. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

its amazing that I have not had those issues. :) And I have seen very few if any complains about SD card force closings. .lol

posted on 23 Nov 2011, 13:04

64. fervid (Posts: 183; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

I've used Nexus S and various other phones with SD Card. Nexus S is somewhat of a hybrid though using its partitions to emulate an SD Card and still have access to it. I have Linux on my laptop and transfer things all the time which while possible on Nexus S would not be on the Galaxy Nexus until Linux is updated. I don't even really put apps on the SD. Usually Music, Images, or Video. On WinMobile I always had cab files for install too. Would be nice having the same type of things on Android to recover apps instead of using my data plan to redownload it all from the Market again. The 4-8GB internal memory just isn't enough for internal. I loved the design of the HTC Status, but the phone was useless with the memory it had. We need minimum 16GB internal with SD capabilities to have a fully functional phone.

posted on 23 Nov 2011, 08:43

53. Kease (Posts: 36; Member since: 30 Sep 2011)

"wonderful unions"?

posted on 23 Nov 2011, 09:22

55. MikeG77 (Posts: 402; Member since: 24 Nov 2008)

Im not sure if you realized it but i was being sarcastic and im not a big fan of unions but thats a topic for a different time and place.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 19:33 1

33. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)


posted on 10 Apr 2012, 06:46

72. dr.sosua (Posts: 3; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)

is it buried in the galaxay nexus please tell me i can upgrade bought mine in thailand only 16 want 64 already full

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 15:43 9

3. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

btw, this is a fight i hope google and the manufacturers lose. VIVA LA REMOVABLE MEMORY! :)

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 18:19 1

28. bossmt_2 (Posts: 449; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)

Would much rather have wifi and hook up either an external to the router or a wifi external or it run through my PC and have a folder dedicated to android apps, call logs, etc. A true cloud backup or my alternative would be much preferred to an SD card simply because it's one less thing you need to worry about.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 19:41 3

35. thepeartree (Posts: 3; Member since: 13 Nov 2011)

Obviously you live in the center of a large city where wi-fi and 4G are available 24/7/365. In many parts of the country (including mine) there are dead spots where we don't even have PHONE service. Where then do we find a place for a phone that relies on cloud storage and wi-fi connections? Give me good old removable storage!

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 20:00

36. bossmt_2 (Posts: 449; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)

It wouldn't rely 100% on cloud, it would be cloud data management. So say you have a Galaxy Nexus with 32 gigs of storage, on your Galaxy Nexus you have your music, contacts, call logs, messages, apps etc all saved on the phone, when you go home it lets you know you're connected to your home network and do you want to back your data up you say yes, you can then go through and swap data like say move a picture from your computer to your phone and the other way around.

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 10:31

71. TenshiNo (Posts: 3; Member since: 01 Mar 2012)

But what happens if you're someone who frequently finds themselves in a location where the "Cloud" is not an option due to signal strength?

My previous job (just switched a few weeks ago) was in the bottom floor of a concrete building which was "recessed" so that the bottom floor was literally almost completely underground. I was lucky to get a signal at all most of the time and streaming music, etc from the Cloud was *completely* out of the question.

And even just going to parts of the city is a problem. I dated one girl for about 4 months who lived in a more rural area of the city so, while at her place, 4G was non-existant and 3G was extremely slow. On several occasions I tried to upload a video to YouTube only to have it either take 8+ hours or bomb out entirely.

The "Could" as a solution only works if you have access to high-speed data at least *most* of the time.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 15:53 8

4. Shangri-La (Posts: 71; Member since: 04 Oct 2011)

I love buying huge SD cards and sticking them into my phones/cameras even if I dont even actually need half of the capacity.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 16:06 17

7. nicodek (Posts: 4; Member since: 18 Nov 2011)

The problem with relying on the cloud is carrier limits on data. Unless you constantly use wifi you will start to his those 2gb limits fairly quickly streaming your music and videos and syncing all the apps and data to the cloud. Yes wifi is more common but its not everywhere and so not everyone can rely on it. The best solution for users is the higher memory plus sd card.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 16:08 4

8. MikeG77 (Posts: 402; Member since: 24 Nov 2008)


posted on 22 Nov 2011, 16:29 3

14. beatsandmelody (Posts: 109; Member since: 01 Nov 2011)

That's true. And thank goodness ICS has built in data control on an OS level, down to specific apps, with both warnings and actual caps.

It's a shame that the carriers essentially started charging us more money for even less data ($30 for 5 GB, now $30 for 2 GB) at a time when Google and even Apple are moving ever faster towards cloud based solutions. Combine that with Verizon's great LTE speeds and... Basically I see it as someone swapping out a square puzzle piece for a circle puzzle piece, when it's down to the last few pieces. :\

posted on 23 Nov 2011, 06:14 3

52. Fallout09 (Posts: 421; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

Dont forget times you have no cell access.... Airplane mode anyone? How would I access the cloud storage for my muisc, videos and apps then?

posted on 23 Nov 2011, 08:54 1

54. vette21man (Posts: 351; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)

Not only reaching data limits, but streaming video/music is a battery sink.

My battery lasts at least twice as long when playing high-quality music locally vs streaming low-quality pandora.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 16:13 1

9. rockstarlive (Posts: 307; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)

Not many people use them anyway. I have about 3 SD cards, 2,2gb and one 16gb.

I use the same SD adapter for all of them. Only time I used one was testing out Dodge Charger that has SD card input

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 16:15 2

10. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)

And you guys should STOP ROOTING YOUR PHONES.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 16:46 1

18. MikeG77 (Posts: 402; Member since: 24 Nov 2008)

Im not sure what your point is BUT rooting our phones has nothing to do with the size of internal memory a manufacturer decides to place in a device.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 17:57 5

25. LewsTherin006 (Posts: 140; Member since: 18 Nov 2011)

maybe you should stop being such a downer.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 19:12 1

31. nickjjay (Posts: 79; Member since: 10 Oct 2011)

That is possibly one of the dumbest posts i've ever seen on this sight. How embarassing. Dont root your phone?

posted on 23 Nov 2011, 12:29

63. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

why would we ever stop rooting our phones? please elaborate.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 16:16 1

11. warlockz (Posts: 156; Member since: 10 Oct 2011)

Very well written article. Bought some inside to understanding how efficient apps run on the Android os. Still one can't comprehend why not have a large internal storage and still have an option to have an sd card. With regards to cloud I understand the concept what I don't understand is how secure is your information isn't it just sitting on a server somewhere, again I have not done my research on the security flaws of cloud so I don't know.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 16:28

12. rob5150 (Posts: 161; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)

Perhaps trying to eliminate the sd card is that the majority of people that buy the phones never actually use the extra storage. So by cutting it out. They can save space to slim down the phones at the same time expand battery. Or expand other things to make the camera better or \"beats audio\" chips or things like that. I am a power user.. And I admit I can get by without a sd card

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 16:28 7

13. Rotate (Posts: 26; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)

people always run out of storage, no matter how big it is... killing the sd card is just sounds bulls**t for me... you can't rely fully on cloud storage, not only because the data can be limited, but there can be allways problems with the coverage.. let's say going through a tunnel, or in a desert, or places with little to no coverage, or whatever... cloud storage is great, but it's greater to have a backup...

and if your memory card is full? you can buy another, and just swap them, you can carry with yourself unlimited storage, which easily fits in your wallet...

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 16:31 8

15. akhi216 (Posts: 61; Member since: 01 May 2011)

I don't like it. Why you ask?

iPhone 4S (16 GB), dual-core processor, 512 MB RAM, 3G connectivity - 199.99
iPhone 4S (32 GB), dual-core processor, 512 MB RAM, 3G connectivity - 299.99

DROID³ (16 GB), dual-core processor, 512 MB RAM, 3G connectivity - 199.99
MicroSD Card (16 GB) - 16.99

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 16:32 4

16. 14545 (Posts: 1527; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

many problems with this. First being multimedia. I currently have a 32 gig SD card and it is almost full. I have no problem with large internal memory, but it really needs external memory also. Also, cloud storage is great and all, but when you're traveling, its not always the best. Especially with all these new data caps, or lack of cell service. So if I want to carry my tunes while hiking or whatnot, I can't. Because either A) I might not have service B) I might have data caps that prevent me from being able to use those cloud services. Last is the ability to back up data. So if unless El Goog wants to go to bat with the service providers to ease up on the caps, then cloud storage won't be a viable option. Then, you have the issue that you have to pay monthly for cloud storage, where I can just buy the SD card once. I already pay 200 a month for cell service, I don't want to pay another 10-20 a month for cloud access more than 5 gigs. Or the extra for data overages. All around this is a HORRIBLE idea. And with this idea, I will either find the manufacturers like HTC that will continue to support external memory, or I will find another phone to buy. I REALLY wanted the Nexus, but not now. I planned on buying at launch till I found out they decided not to add external support. This is about as stupid as non removable batteries like the RAZR. These are things that Android users have come to love. GOOGLE, I HOPE YOU"RE LISTENING.

posted on 23 Nov 2011, 09:36

56. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

to correct you on one thing.

with google you dont have to pay for storage unless you exceed 20k songs.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 16:35 2

17. downphoenix (Posts: 3165; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)

one problem with sd cards is that not enough apps use them. A lot of androids are light on internal stoarge, then you have the fact that ALL of the google apps dont save to sd card, at least all of the ones I have on my phone. Then several other essential apps like Facebook dont either. With a few exceptions, every app should be savable to SD card. Another problem is how several apps on android market, etc. for larger apps like games, etc. will save directly to phone by default then you have to manually move to SD card, for example Plants Vs. Zombies on my phone took about 75mb, a lot of internal space, and there has to be that much free to save to it. Afterwards it can be moved to SD card and take a paltry .96 or some MB on the phone.

On the other hand, The Sims 3 is over 150MB of data, but EA did it smart by making a small install/executable and have the rest of the game install to SD card, IMO the right way to do large app installs. All Google seeks to do here is to further fragment the market even more and obsolete devices that need SD card storage to storage significant amts of apps, which is... most Androdi phones.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 16:55 2

19. doubleD (Posts: 78; Member since: 13 Dec 2010)

As others have said, the cloud is not the end all solution, nor should it be. Not only do you have to have a connection and use data to use everything from the cloud, you have to invest all the time to put it there to begin with. The upload speed on my ISP is ridiculously slow, so taking a lot of time uploading movies to the cloud to view on my phone, rather than the few moments to transfer to an SD card is out of the question. Also, viewing movies on a streaming feed and trying to skip ahead is a real pain. The cloud is a fine alternative, but it's not as great as the author of this article makes it out to be.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 17:03

21. downphoenix (Posts: 3165; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)

another problem with cloud is carrier data caps. Cloud heavy solutions would only really be acceptable with sprint's data network, because T-mobile throttles down to very slow speeds and you'll get charges tons on Verizon and AT&T if this became the standard. If the carriers got rid of draconian caps or at least make them very reasonable then fine.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 16:59

20. sinple (Posts: 132; Member since: 04 Nov 2011)

phone should be like n8, droid etc. large internal plus memory. I usually prefer to store photo and song on memory card. you nv know when your phone might spoil, losing your content

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 17:04 3

22. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)

I want a 32GB internal memory storage on an ANDROID and 32GB more option for external - cloud service is nice, but what if it goes down? What, is GOOGLE trying to be more like APPLE? If so, I will move on....

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 17:24

23. EclipseGSX (Posts: 1717; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

wait for it.....

posted on 12 Jul 2012, 19:08

75. lyndon420 (Posts: 4366; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)

Move on to what?

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 17:57 2

24. Univice (Posts: 39; Member since: 15 Jun 2010)

The idea of "removable storage" is just that, it is storage that is removable and it gives the consumer options. Personally I have nearly 200 apps and they are all on my phone memory with plenty of room to spare. But personal files that I want full control of go on the SD card (there are some things I don't ever intend to put "in the cloud"). Also I am occasionally without connectivity, but music I own and have on my SD card is with me. And when I switch phones I can easily just place the SD card into the new phone and I immediately have all my files with me. The card is easily backed up either by using the phones cable to PC or by removing the card and placing it directly into the PC (with an adapter if PC doesn't have card slots). I can even have multiple cards (giving unlimited storage capability) if I want. In this way I am not restricted to what the phone manufacturer thought was best at one time.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 17:59 1

26. chack_fu (Posts: 46; Member since: 19 Jan 2009)

My Xoom has a sd card in it.... I don't know why you keep saying it doesn't

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 18:36 2

29. superguy (Posts: 293; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)

The Cloud argument sounds good, but it has some problems with it.

1. Many people don't have unlimited data. Do you want to keep burning bandwidth pulling down the same content over and over again? Or do you want to have to worry about swapping content in and out?

2. It also assumes constant connectivity. There are places where connectivity is either going to be limited, slow, or nonexistent. I wouldn't want to rely on the cloud to get every little thing, or try to cram what I can into a small space.

3. Cloud storage isn't free. Sure, you get a couple gigs here and there from places like Dropbox, but if you want more, it's going to cost you. You end up paying for it one way or another. In this case, you have to pay the storage provider for anything significant AND you have to buy extra bandwidth from the carrier. Or even worse, worry about roaming data if you're traveling outside your country.

This isn't hard. Just leave the damn SD card slot. Put enough storage in and allow for plenty of app space and give those who want the option to expand that option. Google still could have done the unified model like in the Nexus S and GNex plus give the option for more storage for those that want it.

I'm not discounting that storage space will still be available on the phone. I just don't see the cloud as a viable replacement for SD. A complement, sure, but not a replacement, as there are scenarios where it won't work.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 19:07

30. subzerohk (Posts: 2; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

I have a 32GB micro SD install to my 32GB Wi-Fi Xoom.... or mine... is not a Xoom?

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 19:25

32. denney (Posts: 98; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)

Maybe google should go the way of microsoft and give us a housed SD for data. That way it is still proprietary and keeps the SD issues at a minimum, but they can still be modified to accept more memory for the techies like us.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 19:35 2

34. Uzzelien (Posts: 131; Member since: 22 Feb 2011)

Face it guys SD cards in a phone is something that's been dieing for awhile now.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 20:04 2

37. downphoenix (Posts: 3165; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)

really? Because with the exception of the nexus phones mentioned here and iPhones, and really cheap feature phones, every phone has 'em. That's like saying 3G is dead even though every phone out there now has it except for some exceptions.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 20:14

38. Uzzelien (Posts: 131; Member since: 22 Feb 2011)

Also any WP7 ones, and yes 3G is dieing also.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 20:35

39. bigboss (Posts: 79; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

Both internal and external memory should be available. But he Google wants to make the user experience more streamlined them it should prevent the option of installing apps in the memory card. Then we can post our music,videos hassle free.both the consumers and Google will be happy. After all who wants to spent the precious time and data in syncing media contents. Cloud storage has not yet matured and high data speed required for it is not available everywhere.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 20:45

41. JeanAllTrekkie (Posts: 1; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

This article highlights a lot of reasons why Apple beats Google hands down. Apple's EcoSystem, iCloud, iTunes, etc. beats anything Google has or can provide. With iCloud everything on your phone is backed up... including your Angry Birds games ;)

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 22:30 1

43. BattleBrat (Posts: 1455; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

Run more than 1 device on the same account and see how much fun it is ;-) I speak from experience.
I feel the Market is more advanced (as a result of the freedom android provides) than the apps store, and I use both, being a fan of both iOS and Android. Face it, one can do more with a Google Account, than an Apple one.
My RAZR has 16gb onboard storage, and I recently purchased a 32gb HIGH Speed sandisk card. I need at least 24gb of total storage on a phone, I need to have ALL my music with me, with or without an internet connection

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Latest stories