HTC flagship comes to Japan with oft-requested removable storage

HTC and Japanese carrier KDDI have announced the HTC J One -- a new variant of the HTC One designed fro the Japanese market. The J One packs much the same internal hardware as its international cousin, but with the addition of a microSD slot, allowing storage to be expanded by up to 64 gigabytes.

The HTC J One also supports FeliCa NFC-based wireless payments and 1Seg digital terrestrial TV broadcasts. (There's a new opaque area below the camera lens which may be part of the internal hardware for one of these two features.)

HTC's also debuting some new accessories alongside the J One. There's a hard shell cover with kickstand, and the HTC J One Mini -- a version of the HTC Mini handset already released in China, or a "phone for your phone," if you prefer.

This isn't the first localized HTC One we've seen with removable storage. Last month a Chinese variant of the phone appeared with a removable back cover, microSD support and dual-SIM capabilities. It isn't clear whether the J One will incorporate a similar removable back, but as HTC's already manufacturing this kind of device for China, we'd bet that's probably what's going on here.

The HTC J One is due to go on sale in Japan from early June.

Source: KDDI via Engadget, YouTube, HTC


Reader comments

Japan's KDDI gets HTC J One with microSD slot


I don't understand HTC's decision not to release this in America/Europe. Who the hell would want to turn down MicroSD support? Cards are dirt cheap now as well.

It's the one complaint that they get with their phones, either the removable battery cover/swappable battery or microSD support. And it makes sense if they don't want it, but when they offer it in two large markets, why not worldwide?

Quite a lot of people buy competitor phones like the Galaxy S4 for precisely this reason.

I like the HTC One. Probably the best designed phone out so far, it'll be even better if they gave removable battery or at least MicroSD support.

It's probably the manufacturing of the aluminum body. That thing isn't cheap to produce where is Samsung just has to mold polycarbonate plastics which is a fraction of the cost so they could afford to put the SD card slot in and 2 or 3 more sensors.

If HTC was a wealthier company they probably would have released a few versions of the HTC One at a greater cost, but seeing how hard it was to mass produce the HTC One compared to Apple and Samsung, they probably couldn't.

I actually like only having to go to one music folder and one picture folder to get my things, as opposed to the SD Card setup. I think Samsung committed the bigger crime of releasing a 16GB phone, knowing that apps can't be installed to the SD Card.

"...I think Samsung committed the bigger crime of releasing a 16GB phone..."

We'll let the market decide that, before passing judgment.

There are legitimate downsides to Micro SD support. I for one would be perfectly happy forgoing it. Internal storage is much faster, and much more reliable. MicroSD cards are prone to problems (how many "problems with my SD card" threads do you see?), slower, can fail (and take ALL your data with them), are giant security holes, and aren't even officially supported by Android anymore - they're pretty much hacked in. No idea why HTC decided to add them in though for these Asian markets though.

As for removable batteries, I went a year using a phone that lacked them, and I didn't miss it once. If the phone can be thinner than it would have been otherwise, then I'm all for it. I never need to swap batteries. External batteries are pretty much the same thing anyway. Carrying around an extra battery, keeping it charged, taking off your case, popping it in, putting your case back on... It's a pain, and nothing I've ever needed. That's the beauty of Android though - you have the option of going with something else if you do want it.

Love Devine - I couldn't agree more. You're spot on with micro SD. I think this is especially true with the advent on streaming music, on demand video services and cloud storage - gone are the days of having to keep your entire media library on your phone, so there's no really no need for expandable memory if you buy a phone with a decent amount of internal storage.

Not everyone is surrounded by reliable 4G/wifi. Maybe in another 5-6 years, but not yet. Cloud services are great if you have a reliable connection. If not, you are SOL.

I agree, if 64 gig models where the norm, heck even 32 gigs, I could say goodbye to SD cards, but carriers like to flaunt 16 gig models first and keep it like that for months or weeks until the 32 gig versions kick in. Look at the GS4, lots of people just say get a SD Card if your worried about only having 9 gigs of internal memory. Yeah, good luck downloading three games that are over a gig in size, and in my case I love spotify, and that takes up internal memory to keep your songs playlist handy to play offline (as long as you pay).. I bet after all that going to settings/ storage your memory readout will look pitiful. My area is 4g LTE but its a hit and miss sometimes and if that's the case I get 3g with 3 or 4 bars and playing google music from the cloud is depressing! Who wants to wait 5 to ten seconds for a song to buffer? Sometimes it takes longer and God forbid you have it on high quality streaming.

+1 on everything you just said.

Plus I won't want to put my stuff on a "cloud" and be tied to some service. I have all my music and phones IMMEDIATELY, ANYWHERE. They load instantly and have no dependencies.

Of course sd cards have limitations, but so does non-expandable internal storage. I would rather have the *option* of expandable memory, even if I never use it.

It's nice that you never need to swap batteries, but a lot of people do. I have had spare batteries for each of my last 3 android phones because they are much easier than keeping up with a charger, and I don't want to gimp my phone in order to make it last all day.

HTC is missing the boat by not even offering these features in their premier devices, and sales will undoubtedly be affected by this decision.

@ Love Divine - A-friggin-men to what you said... Fanboys are forever on this trip about "Expandable storage" and "Removable Batteries"... I've been using an android phone for almost four years now and never did I what was so appealing about popping a battery out, phone goes off, only to have to power it back on anyway. I have a charger at home and at work and my phone only powers down when my kids get a hold of it to play their games. At that point, I set it on the charger for an hour and I'm good. One thing I've always hated, which kinda adds to the argument of "cheap feel" to the samsung phone's Ive owned; the way the whole damn phone comes apart after it hits the floor. Then, having to put the battery, sometimes sd card and the cover back together again. Oh, and before anyone says but the screen won't crack/break because it's not uni-body design like the One... wrong. My galaxy nexus has a nice crack on it.

As for micro-sd cards... as long as they provide min options with 32gb+, I'd take it that any day.

I agree. I have been with android since the G1 days. Sure early on it was a nice alternative to an iPhone. But as android devices matured I started to crave a device that was solid and had little to no removable parts.

Having battery door covers leads to creaks and stuff. It also helps that I was content with carrying around a charger rather than a spare battery. I will miss the days of easily swapping data from one phone to another. But I am willing to sacrifice that. I also do not have a need for more than 20gbs of free space on a cell phone.

What is the downside to you if you don't even use it? Pretty ridiculous that your arguments center on the fact that problems will occur. I'd rather take the change my MicroSD card could fail if it means I can add 32 to 64 gb of extra storage to my device.

How is it a giant security hole to you if you don't use it? How is it a security hole to anyone else? Apps aren't allowed to be kept on external storage anymore for precisely this reason. But it does mean my huge 1080p videos I take, my 8-13 megapixel photos, files, photos, videos I can safely store on my MicroSD card and free up phone space for apps and tasks. Apps aren't getting any smaller. Games are now routinely over 2gb+ and growing.

You went a year without using removable batteries, congratulations. This means everyone can do it? And if you can go without an external battery, you wouldn't care anyway if it's a pain to take the case off, pop the battery in etc. Keep your case on and keep on truckin' and charging how you're used to.

But no, you want to come up with bullshit excuses to take away extra features that other consumers can actually use.

I can pretty much guarantee, if they asked any consumer, side by side, whether they want a 32 gb HTC ONE with no removable battery and no expandable memory, or one with all that for the same price, which will they choose?

Point is, they're offering this to China and Japan, why not the US/Europe?

I agree that it's a shame that this isn't offered in the US; more options are always better than less.

With that being said, I used to be one of the people asking for removable batteries and micro SD expansion, and honestly, having switched over to the One, I no longer care about either. As others have pointed out, I'm either carrying around a second battery or a charger if I'm worried about battery life, and I'm willing for it to be a charger, if it gets me the "unibody" design I'm lugging around. MicroSD storage was even more important to me (I thought), but as others have mentioned, I got tired of having SD card errors, redundant folders, and I've found that not only is 32 gb of on-board space more than enough for me, but it's made things a lot easier.

I don't deny that there are plenty of people who see value in removable options, but I also think that especially for non-power users, the integrated route works very well, as long as you have a decent capacity battery and internal storage.

I wonder If it will come to Verizon. Remember Last year HTC released the J Butterfly in Japan then it later came as the DNA in the US.

I agree 100% with everything you've said.... I seriously don't get it too.... further, if the UK and US economic dragon lords are the ones blocking the sale of such logically good items, why not provide us the avenue to buy DIRECTLY FROM YOUR INTERNATIONAL/JAPAN/CHINA based ONLINE STORE.... P L E A S E !!! we LOVE HTC .... DON'T MAKE US LEAVE !!!

This is HTC's downfall, why would you release an upgrade to your consumers device in another country? Your just playing with your customers, I think I'm going to back away from the HTC One now, I have a hunch that a HTC One JX+ is on the way soon.

I'm guessing carriers have a big influence, they are selling their phones to the carriers first before they consider the customers. Carriers like ATT and Verizon influence Manufacturer's more than the people in the states. The Big Duopoly ATT and VZW want you with minimal storage on your phone so you can use up as much Data as possible on their Price Gouging Tiered Data Plans as possible to make money of your streaming services. I'm Guessing when The One Variant comes to VZW it will only be 16 GB just like the DNA was also. HTC and VZW Getting ready for a new HTC device because they DNA has drooped in price and is free with a coupon code.

Really sick of the Self Appointed powers the Carriers give themselves. There needs to be Heavier regulations on he carriers to keep them from screwing everyone over. They lease our Spectrum, we the Citizens own the spectrum of the airwaves, from the FCC on our behalf. They shouldn't be allowed to influence device makers and deciding on products instead of the customers and consumers who in the end are the ones buying the products and services. VZW has almost 100 million customers , which is almost 1/3 of the U.S., almost sounds like a Monopoly that needs to be broken up or split.

Most likely the carrier themselves paid the extra price for the SD Card to be in there and subsidized it in hopes of the money making up for itself by getting more people to sign contracts?

Am I the only one who feels their marketing and display of the available features is better in Japan than it is in the US?

I wish I wouldn't have seen this article. Not really needing to upgrade yet but I did to the One but if this device were to hit the States I would have surely waited. Being that it was already planned they really dropped the ball in the USA market.

Doesn't the Chinese version not come with 64gb option. Only 16 and 32 if I'm correct. I have att and I have the developers edition with 64gb. The 64att edition is exclusive to att but the developers edition is not. Storage is not a problem and unless you root your phone expandable memory isn't able to be used much for more than photos and you can blame that on Google with their most recent updates. Most stuff today streams from a cloud for free through google any way. I really don't understand the complaints. I have 70gb's of music that streams and 2gbs of space used on my phone for apps with 52 available considering sense 5 uses 8-9gb's of space. People who need to carry all this stuff around with them and need all that space are the digital equivalent to pack rats and hoarders. Just give it up. Lol

Try doing that on Sprints blazing fast 3g and you'll feel my pain.

What file type/bitrate/etc is the original music encoded in and stream? For me streamed services are compressed to H*** and sound like garbage. Especially on a good radio.

FYI, that "opaque area below the camera" looks exactly like the infrared transmitter on all my other Japanese phones (allows file transfers, contact info transfers, etc between phones - people barely use it now, I think they genuinely forgot how, and phone makers make that feature hard to use or hard to find in Android..)

Too bad it loses the waterproofness of the HTC J and J Butterfly or I'd upgrade in a heartbeat :(

This story is obviously false. I have been assured by many fanboys that nobody wants SD support. So why would they add it in?

So a bit of wild speculation here to stir the pot, so take it with a grain of salt. HTC J Butterfly became the Droid DNA in the US. Maybe its conceivable for the HTC J One to become the One Plus on VZW? Remove the 1seg and swap FeliCa for Isis, it becomes a possibility. Just saying... If they announce something like that on the 22nd in the "save the date" event at CTIA, I will officially flip my whig.