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Why there's no SD cards in Nexus devices

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#1
Zarch1972

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Followers of Matias Duarte (Director of Android operating system User Experience) on Google+ were treated to an impromptu Q&A session. Before his page got well and truly flooded he managed to answer a couple of the questions posted.


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

Consistency and usability are really important to us, and that’s something we strive to improve in every new version of Android. With Honeycomb we first introduced the idea of a completely onscreen navigation UI which gave us unprecedented flexibility in how that UI adapts and transforms - both when you turn the device in your hands and when the software changes and has different control needs. Now in Jelly Bean we've made the universal software navigation buttons and system bar consistent across all screen sizes.

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.

Phones are almost always used in portrait mode, flip sideways occasionally, and never go upside down. As screen sizes get larger though, any which way goes. Imagine the frustration you’d feel if every time you picked up a tablet off the table ‘the wrong way up’ you found yourself reaching for a home button that wasn’t where you expect it to be? That irritation adds up and over time like a tiny grain of sand in your shoe and undermines the rest of your experience.

The Jelly Bean system bar always keeps the same 3 buttons where you expect them. This happens dynamically for every screen size, up until you get to small handheld screens where stacking the bars in landscape mode would leave too little vertical space.

The second thing we discovered was that there are almost as many different ways of holding our devices as there are people. In fact people love to use their Nexus so much that they use them for such long periods of time that having a single ‘correct grip’ is actually counter productive and increases hand strain. The Jelly Bean navigation buttons work equally well for left handers and right handers, one handed use, or two handed use, and for devices you’re carrying, resting on your knee, or putting on the table.

Last but not least, by unifying the design we are now able to put Notifications and Quick Settings right where you’d expect them, and only one swipe away.

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.

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.

[ Source: Matias Duarte on Google+ ]

Do you agree with his reasoning?

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#2
dr_ysp

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I think this is more applish/microsoftish kinda thinking, in windows phone u do not know where your photos are going and how to find them if you need a file

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#3
T39andcounting

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"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've decided that 8GB is definitely not enough, 16GB is probably not enough. I could understand this argument if they included 64GB+ with every phone, but not if they only offer tiny amounts of storage.
How about this: Include 64GB (or 128GB?!), and match it with the same amount of cloud storage for free. Then make it sync across all my Android devices for free. Then that would (maybe!) be enough storage!

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#4
pagggy

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not for explaination of sd card .
If you are using android you may know where photos are stored.

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#5
skull_fcuk

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i agree with some aspects of the 'no sd' argument, but the amount of storage in these devices doesnt reflect their implied status. I agree they should come with 32 or 64gb, as memory is cheap in both price and space, so it's difficult to see why it isnt done. i use a 64gb micro sd in my S3 and a 32gb in my TF300. What's frustrating for me, is that when i recently took my phone and 64gb card to a photo printing shop, i found that while i could easily print from my micro sd, the system couldnt pair via bluetooth or usb with my phone, leaving many good photos unreachable because they were on internal memory.

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#6
the juggernaut

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8 or 16GB is not enough AT ALL give us more choices Google

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#7
glossywhite

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Phones are almost always used in portrait mode, flip sideways occasionally, and never go upside down. As screen sizes get larger though, any which way goes. Imagine the frustration you’d feel if every time you picked up a tablet off the table ‘the wrong way up’ you found yourself reaching for a home button that wasn’t where you expect it to be? That irritation adds up and over time like a tiny grain of sand in your shoe and undermines the rest of your experience.


Human beings have this amazing brain, full of all sorts of things, including the intelligence to work out whether or not the screen has been rotated... DUH. What a load of piffle - sounds like an excuse thought up in a tea break. Then again, you can always install a rotation app - works a treat :)

Edited by glossywhite, 31 October 2012 - 08:14 PM.

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#8
shootomanUK

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8 or 16GB is not enough AT ALL give us more choices Google


They will after everyone has bought the devices a few month later they will bring the same devices out with SDslot etc

just like they are bringing the nexus 7 out with sim card slot

its called money making !

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#9
dave_a

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If there is one thing what winds me up about Google at the moment it is the lack of SD storage on Nexus phones and how they think they know best. I bought a Galaxy Nexus and love it apart from the 16GB of storage which I filled almost immediately. How can they expect anyone to manage on 8GB a year later??? I don't care what their "surveys" say, have they actually done a survey which only looks at previous Nexus owners? 32GB might have just about been acceptable a year later but with many games taking more than 1GB of space and users wanting to store music/video collections on devices, how could an 8GB phone even have been considered as a viable product?

Have they not realized who actually buys Nexus phones??

Generally users who want a vanilla experience so they can root and customize their phone how they like and also know they are going to get the latest Android updates almost immediately. Naturally, because of this, they tend to be at least semi-power users who a) have enough brain cells to determine what is internal and what is external storage, b ) what happens when you remove a SD card and insert a new one. How is this complicated even for non power users?

We all know what happens when we remove an SD card from a camera so make it obvious to an Android user what happens when they remove an SD card from a phone. Is Google not capable of making all this easier for the "standard" user?

Maybe I should realize that the Nexus tablet shows that they are now aiming at a different user base and the standard "Nexus user" has changed. It is definitely time to move elsewhere.

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#10
Maringer

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The comments from Mr. Duarte about consistency of the interface seem reasonable enough.

The comments about the lack of SD card support on Nexus devices being a deliberate feature to benefit the customer and not a deliberate omission to benefit Google, on the other hand, are just preposterous.

If some customers are too dim to work out how to share their information between internal and external SD cards then bad luck for them. Let's face it, the easiest method of all if you are confused is to take the memory card out altogether and just use internal storage.

Oh well, Google can rest assured that I'll not be purchasing any of their Nexus devices as long as support for external SD cards is omitted. I've got around 25GB of music on my external SD card so the low-capacity Nexus devices would be of no use to me. Also, when you consider that a modern smartphone can be an excellent media playback device, a good gaming device and a reasonably capable camera/camcorder, limiting the amount of storage available so much seems nonsensical to me.

It must be said, I'm staggered that Google are releasing an otherwise high-end device with just 8GB internal storage in this day and age where 32GB Class 10 microSD cards can be had for about 20 quid and 64GB cards can be had for not much more than twice that amount. What are they smoking?

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#11
andybarker

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On my S2, there is "internal memory" and "USB storage", and then "SD Card". If it is so confusing to people, why are the first two separate?

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#12
dbbloke

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Lets hope google comes up with some smart software to either make 8gb usable or to allow removable storage.

e.g.
if the photos / recorded videos / spheres have gone to the cloud then there should be a retention policy which wipes the file from the device (with an option to keep sentimental stuff or if you have played back a file 50 times then it should keep the file knowing you like it so much - last access time or something).

If you have an sdcard then for things like large games or photos / music / bulk copying it should intelligently ask you or copy the files to the removable media knowing full well that if it copies to the internal 8gb (6gb after formatting/system) it will fill it and cause swap type problems.
Google needs a smart storage IO manager. I could go on about device class / speeds etc.. I'm pretty surprised there isn't an IO standard with things like.
removable/non removable
retention policy
SLA
Availablity - Value of data (dont lose photos)


To just say, we prefer the phone storage option is bollocks, it's an excuse for not thinking out how people use phones in real life and / or not implementing software in an intelligent way.
Is everyone at google smoking dope, I often wonder. Usually I just send companies all my ideas, but this time they can read this.

Actually, come to think of it, with phones cameras actually getting decent (Sony Exmor, HDR etc) I'm surprised there aren't 2 sdcards in devices for raid mirroring as well as off site cloud backup.

Google, hire some people with a brain in their skulls and stop talking bollocks to people in the real world who are on to you.

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#13
Maringer

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The problem is that 'The Cloud' is a good concept in some respects but it's utility quickly falls down in too many real-world situations.

I went away for a couple of days holiday to Northumberland earlier this week and stayed in a medium-sized village. Reasonably rural, but hardly the back of beyond.

My phone had no problems getting reception for calls/SMS but I had virtually no data connection (very slow and sporadic 2G). Although the B&B in which I was staying theoretically had wifi, it was a big old building and any wifi signal was also therefore very erratic and weak. Fundamentally, this meant that I had pretty much no access to any data for a couple of days. If I'd had an 8GB Nexus 4, my media playback/gaming/photograph/video recording options would have been extremely limited, to say the least.

If access to 'The Cloud' isn't ubiquitous, it can't replace the utility of a microSD card slot. I realise, of course, that many newer phones have the potential to access external storage via USB OTG but this is obviously less convenient than having 32/64GB storage available on something as compact as a microSD card.

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#14
eLJay

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Its a silly decision as allowing users to pay out later to add more storage is a great advantage.

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#15
mark2410

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what google meant to say was

"because we dont want you using local storage. we want you to have so little on the phone you are forced to use our cloud stuff and then lock you in to using us forever. yeah we know if your not american we wont actually let you use wont let you use most of it but hey, thats your fault for not being american,"

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#16
shootomanUK

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what google meant to say was

"because we dont want you using local storage. we want you to have so little on the phone you are forced to use our cloud stuff and then lock you in to using us forever. yeah we know if your not american we wont actually let you use wont let you use most of it but hey, thats your fault for not being american,"


might skip the nexus 4 and go for the - Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL

atleast its got an SDslot

maybe even better than the nexus 4

check out paul's review here : http://www.modaco.co...-xl-review-r887

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