Shared publicly  - 
 
The only thing stopping me from recommending this new Phone to everybody is the storage. It’s not a deal breaker, but it does leave the phone rather cramped if you game, or watch video, or listen to music…
2
Kaush KS's profile photoSteve Heyns's profile photoCHUA Chee Wee's profile photoArtem Russakovskii's profile photo
27 comments
 
Yeah, it's... pushing it a bit.  I guess it comes down to;
A) not wanting to pay Microsoft for the SD-Card/FAT license
B) getting people into using their cloud services more often.
Can't blame them too much, wish they could use sd-cards and force you to use ext4 so avoid the patent fee, though that'd probably cause more people to complain it wiped their phone pics when trying to copy them across for viewing. Grrrr, we're being held back by the lawyers.
 
Same thoughts. Though A could be tackled with a diff FS and requiring formatting with disclaimer ‘this will make this card not work in anything else’. and B, well, that’s the problem with trying to tie users to your cloud :/
 
Doesn't have anything to do with FAT, the device doesn't have an SD card slot and the internal storage is formatted as ext4.
 
Aye, we're just wondering out loud why it doesn't have the SD-Card. Seems to be a common point raised as more devices (especially Nexus) seem to avoid using it.  So it's just something to get people into the habit of using Cloud storage?
 
And/or maybe it's the fact that it's a moving part, main point of failure and it's not just the few bucks to add it, but to support it when it has problems?
 
Think about the negative performance of your device if you inserted a slow µSD card…
 
Ah! Also a very good point..  People wanting to store apps/media to an SD card that's running slow? Never thought of that.   Guess anyone who wanted to transfer can use an OTG adapter of some sorts.
 
I'm getting the 8GB. Thanks to Googles cloud and not playing games, I don't need any space. I rarely even install a file manager any more. Now what to do with all of these 32GB SD cards?

Although I can't say I agree with Googles direction of removing features. External storage was a often desired feature and something a lot of people depended on.
 
Another thought about this sd-card stuff, might it have caused issues with the multi-user side of things in 4.2? Most apps aren't following guidelines on where to save their data, so it gets sprayed willynilly on the SD-Card.  Now there's more than one person using the system, and possibly overwriting that data/corruption, I can see why Nexus devices, to stop this being a problem before it starts (or at least reducing it to less apps) is not using the sd-cards.
 
With each user having their own apps and data, SD card makes even more sense. Keep the profiles local while storing large media files on ext storage. Either external files can be shared with all users, or set file permissions. No need to partition space out for each user or something. For a multi-user HD media consumption device, the Nexus 10 is seriously lacking storage. But I thought we were talking about the 4 here.
 
+Robert Mahon This is certainly an issue, we aren't supporting multi-user with the old school FAT partition for external storage (whether that is on an SD card like the original G1 or a separate internal partition like the Nexus S).

+Stewart Gateley SD cards must be formatted with FAT (to inter-operate with desktop computers), which doesn't support file permissions.  Not to mention that all you are going to end up with is a mess if you try to set file system permissions (based on uids) on an SD card and then move that to another device.
 
Time to move on from FAT, but what to? What WOULD give all the benefits of simplicity, license free, but allow the requirements? I can't think of anything that would be viable.  A lot of hard work for little benefit and pain of support.  Bah, frustrating indeed.    Oh well, sure the CM team will come up with a 'nuke FAT partition and use EXT4' option, knowing the users will be /perhaps/ a bit more tech understanding of the limitations, as opposed to someone who's annoyed their pics from the camera have been eaten up by their phone when they tried to look at them.
 
Wouldn't this be solved with an encrypted file system (with a single user's public keys given to multiple users) mounted on a FAT partition?

So, one user decide to share his directory with 3-4 users. All he has to do is grant permissions to those users. Under the hood, the OS creates a public key and private key, then encrypts the data with the private key, and gives the public key to those 3-4 users. This can be achieved by placing the public key in the data directory of those 3-4 users.

So for users who want to share their data with everyone (eg, the world), they can save their files to anywhere on the FAT partition.

For users who want to keep their data private (or shared with a few), they save to the encrypted file system.

Problem solved?
 
Sounds good, and something like that could be something that's possible to mount on windows devices with the right program too perhaps (once the password/key entered). 
 
+Dianne Hackborn I would happily accept all sorts of limitations on using microSD cards on other systems, if I could just expand my storage somehow.

Make it ext4 if you need to, make symlinks from encrypted SD folders to /user folders if it's more multi-user friendly, make it a pain to take out of the phone if you have to, but make it happen. Please - we love our Nexus phones, but we simply need more offline storage.

So many Android users don't have the reliable cellular access and high data caps needed to stream media, and 16GB is barely enough for a few large games these days, let alone music and HD movies too. If we can't have those cheap 64GB uSD cards then at least give us the option of 32 or 64GB internal memory.
 
I have been putting off my purchase just because of this. And with what being reported, I reckon I am hoping against hope.

I can already see many possible solutions for the mentioned issues:
1. Only allow "Media" on SD Cards.
2. Get rid of FAT and format the card in-device or otherwise and have a driver/app for PC/Mac/*nx to access the files (system/users data as well as media)
3. "Partition" the SD in Systems  and Media drives with encrypted/proprietry format and FAT respectively.
4. Make it as an another flavor of the device with SD for power users and give a big flyer or a manual of dos and donts to overcome bad press, if at all.
5. Allow custom built devices and factory fit cheap (comparable to SD proce) memory as per users choice, given that they wait for the delay in shipping of course and shell out a bit extra money for the overhead in doing so. 
 
If the devices came in 32gb and 64gb versions, people would still be very vocal about no SD card, but in reality most users would never need one, certainly not the average consumer. And news flash, average consumers don't login to the play store to buy unlocked devices.

I think a very good compromise is to tie a card to a device. Require it to be formatted for use on that device, using a good filesystem like ext4. If its swapped to another device, it needs to be formatted on that device. Files can be transferred to or from using MTP or an Android file copy application.

SD should really only be used for large media files or collections, large game data and application caches (in the correct directory). Profiles kept on device.

While at it, get rid of Apps2SD. It was cool when phones had 1GB or less, but now adds way more confusion than just having an SD card.
 
Google is full of brilliant people. Why is it that they so easily and continually overlook these details? Apple can have Matias, I want the old Android and truly incredible devices like the Nexus One back.

I keep buying every Nexus as development devices, which is why I'm fine with a 8GB Nexus 4, but for as long as HTC is around, I will always carry the latest gen HTC in my pocket with more internal storage and a large SD card for my personal device.

This creates even more of a dilemma though as the OEMs will make devices consumers want and if AOSP doesn't support comsumers demands, OEMs will make their own different and sub-par solutions.
 
+Stewart Gateley Apps2SD is exactly the reason why they wen't for shared internal storage only. It raises questions that shouldn't be there in the first place. As in SD card support, it would loose the point of having a removable storage if you weren't "allowed" to dismount it, because it would break things. As an ex user with SD card slotted phone (SGS) I can understand the confusing managing of files and storage points and when I switched to Nexus S, it was a much better experience. If you "need" a SD, just get another device. If you're technical savvy enough, propose a robust technical solution, that would include support on all desktop OS's. Hint: there are smart guys at Google and they would come up with a 100% solution if it currently existed. And yes, it would help if MS would step into the 21st century and offer something else then FAT/32 and NTFS support out of the box.
 
+Tadej Rudec Actually Nexus S was a pretty poor experience here as well, since it kept the hard partitioning between the "internal" storage and "external" (FAT partition that can be mounted as mass storage on a computer) storage areas.  The shift to MTP that happened in 3.0, with internal/application and external/media storage sharing the same partition, made things a lot simpler -- you just have one storage space where all your stuff goes, and you can use all of that storage for whatever you want.

And no freaking "apps on SD card," where the user gets to manually move their apps between different storage areas to try to optimize their space use, but can't do this with all apps because being on external storage is significant limitations due to that storage being able to disappear at any time (even if it is inside the device like the Nexus S it has to go away when you mount it as mass storage on your computer).  That feature was really useful for devices like the Nexus One where there was only a very small amount of internal storage and everything else was the SD card...  but that is really not a good situation.
 
+Dianne Hackborn Yeah, forgot to mention that, I was focusing more on the internal vs. external SD situation with my example. The issue maybe wasn't so obvious (and didn't get that much media traction) on the Nexus S, because users couldn't physically remove the storage (pull the card out), but was still a 50/50 solution because of the need of mounting/dismounting to access it. Great that it was changed later. Hope I won't need to swap phones because of lack of 4.2 though, I still love my NS with all its "faults" :]
 
Reading more on this, and the reasoning behind it (thanks Dianne!) yeah, I'm getting it.  If the Nexus program is more for a 'base' model of device, then it makes sense there's room for other phone/tablet makers to add the extra features like this to differentiate their products, which is fair enough! 
 
+Robert Mahon Yeah, Android's hardware diversity is its greatest strength, and it's great that I have the option of microSD and more storage from many other vendors.

But only Nexus offers un-adulterated software and fast-track upgrades. It's so frustrating that we're forced to give that up just to get a basic requirement like enough storage, particular when the Nexus range is so amazing in every other respect.
 
Totally agree +Daniel Koch , the nexus is an awesome spec'd device great for the developers and masses who want the defacto of android devices. I understand the need to hold back some things - but a memory card is such a generic component it should be on every phone.

I also believe there are easier ways to prevent public "confusion" ie who cares if the card can be read on a windows PC (or linux or mac for that matter), plug in the USB cable to the phone to read the card, let android provide the mount for it.

The real future for phones will be the upgradable architecture wouldnt that be great (and eco friendly) rather then needing to upgrade the phone you replace the guts. Much cheaper then a new device
 
Even then, you have (eventually) the choice to load CM on a different device for 'pure' android on any hardware, just to add to the choice there!
Add a comment...