Internal storage

Since the Samsung Nexus S, phones shipping without an external SDcard slot have caused controversy. We've got a trio of new phones right around the corner from HTC that are shipping without. We hear, and understand, both sides of the issue. Not everyone wants to stream and use cloud services, so they need the flexibility that a huge amount of storage can give. On that note, if manufacturers want to get rid of the SDcard, they need to give people enough internal storage. Which leads us to tonight's poll.

How much is enough? I'm all in the cloud, and it's too late for me to turn back. I get by fine with 16GB, and could probably never miss a beat with only 8GB. Many of you are the opposite -- don't care for the cloud and want to store their stuff on their device. They need a lot more storage than I do. Where do you fall? Let us know in tonight's poll.



Reader comments

Late-night poll: How much internal storage is enough?


I love storing really high quality anime on my phone. It's just a blast to be anywhere and enjoy a network free experience. I can't get enough storage ;)

I am a expert cloud user, 70 Gigs music, and email and pictures to boot. I feel sorry for people that can't use the Cloud.....they ought to boot up and buy another for us, we ROCK the CLOUD!!!!

cloud has limits. Cloud blows when you're on a flight or there's no (or inadequate) 4g coverage. Cloud shortens battery life.
Internal storage is a good backup

Not for me, or a lot of people. I have a 32GB microSD in my Droid Incredible alongside the internal 8GB (40GB total) and it's still nowhere near enough. I have over 70GB of music, and as much again of video. The video I can live without on my phone, but still that leaves me with 30+GB of stuff that doesn't fit on my phone. Also, the cloud doesn't work for me either because there's no 4G anywhere near where I live, and the 3G around where I live (and where I listen to 95% of my music) gets ~1-3KBps down on a good day

im not sure how much you can go through before you can change what is on your Incredible but i know i cannot listen to that much before my battery dies even with radios off

I calculated it once, and I have about 7 gigs of music in about 1300 songs. Multiplied by 10 (to make 70 gigs), and at an average of 4 minutes per song, that would equal over 30 days of continuous, non-stop music. If you take out 10 hours per day for sleeping an other activities during which it's not realistic to listen to music, that 70 gigs would equal 2 months of continuous, non-stop music.

It just amazes me that people would not only think this to be realistic and reasonable, but actually consider it a bare minimum!

Its not the fact that how much music can you listen to continuously. Its the fact that you know that you can find THAT song (from THAT year) which you just want to hear right now in your library. I have never listened to all the songs in my 5.5GBs of Music library, but I know that if I have this OLD/NEW song playing in my head, I am sure I can find it in my library on the go (wherever, internet or no internet) and listen to it without worrying about bandwidth troubles or anything else.

For me 32GBs will be enough, although I am currently rocking a 16GB GNex.

Exactly. I don't want to have to switch out my music collect all the time. My collection is much smaller, about 6GB. But add the favorite movies I keep on the phone (6GB) pics and video I take with the camera (3GB), Gameloft games (6GB), Android data (5GB), AppsOnSD (1-2GB), and backups (1-2GB) and the 32GB fills up fast.

I get that, it's just I view that in pretty much the same light - is it really THAT important for someone to be able to find and play a single, specific song out of a collection of 10's of thousands of songs at any point, on any given day? To me, that borders on an almost neurotic level of fixation.

Call it what you want, but it's certainly a priority for me. I don't care about photos and videos, but my entire music library (25 gigs?) must live comfortably on my phone. I also don't like deleting music because sometimes I can get into an album years later. Honestly I don't think it's that strange. Digital music isn't about being able to just listen to music at any given time. It's about being able to listen to precisely the music you want to listen to at any particular moment.

I suspect eveny YOU don't believe yourself. I strongly doubt you drop everything, grab the phone, dig thru your entire collection searching for just that perfect song that bubbled up in your thought stream at that instant. Even IF you could remember the name of the song or artist, just drilling down thru 25gig would take too long, and you would be distracted and end up listening to something else in frustration. I simply don't believe anyone operates the way you claim you do.

You've made the perfect case for Google Music. Even on EDGE, Google music can fetch that song that you recalled with your perfect memory of artist, title, and cover art, and have it playing in seconds. Even on EDGE, Google music can keep up with playing entire albums because it really isn't a streamer, rather its a forward caching scheme where the next few songs are downloaded while you listen to any given song.

But yes, when hiking in the great wilderness, far from any towers, and a song pops into your head from 20 years ago, and your perfect recall allows you to pull it out of your 64gig phone and play it right there on the spot, that's pretty cool. Cool, but come on! Nobody does that.

YES! I don't understand why manufacturers are moving away from giving us expansion capabilities! That was one thing that I always thought was better than iExperience

I agree. That's the only reason I didn't get a GNex. 16 gigs in a flagship phone? When I have 64 gigs in my old Desire Z and it's 3/4 full?

This. One or two GB minimum is needed for apps, but past this I don't care and cost of the phone is more important because I will just use my SD card for most things (and I won't buy the phone if it doesn't have an SD slot)

Id like this to replace my computer someday, so when they get to 2 or 3 terrabytes thatll be a decent start. Im surprised 'never enough' didnt get more (all the) votes.

I would definitely NOT want to carry around that much of my data in a form that could so easily be damaged, misplaced, lost or stolen.

I still think a micro sd slot is the best option. The cost of. The phone can be kept down and the manufacturer can provide reasonable storage for the majority of people while allowing power users to increase it themselves.

Personally, I'm fine with 16, internal or sd as long as it's a full 16 of dedicated user storage.

It's really a perfect example of why they should keep the sd slot, put in a small card and let people expand it as they see fit. Since SDXC is backward compatible, they could still ship phones with standard 16 gig SD cards and let the user upgrade.

your pc has removable storage though, you can take out or add bigger HDD's

i think 16 Gb is enough storage FOR NOW (in the near future as file sizes grow itll need 32 then 64.....) but i need an SD card slot with that 16.

internal storage is great for apps and such and SD cards are great for movies and music and media all around because you can have infinite SD cards with infinite storage

There's never enough storage, cloud is still relatively slow and prone to being unavailable when you suddenly need it the most.

I think at the moment, until the Internet-based storage solutions can be trusted/depended on fully, we need local storage, maybe not infinite amounts even though I voted "there's never enough". I think Apple makes good use of the cloud as a sync "get it on all your devices at the same time" deal, even though it's kinda limited in scope compared to actual storage.

The technology has a long way to go still to mature and be 100% viable...

No less than 16 gigs of actual user storage. I dont want to get a phone that says 16 gigs storage, when its actually only 13. the OS + apps should be stored seperately in my opinion allowing for me to store 16 gigs of whatever i want :)

What hurt me before was my music collection. It's all cloud now with Play music, so whatever I happen to fill my GNex 32GB with will come over the course of 2 years.

I wonder if many of you voting 8,16, or 32GB have considered that while those amounts may seem like 'enough', that is very likely largely in part because you have tailored your usage patterns around your storage capacity. I have 16GB and I don't use it all sure, I'm mostly in the cloud, but if I had the option for several hundred gigs my media library would be on my phone and I'd prefer it that way. I would love to have all of my movies on my phone so I could plug it into a TV while travelling but I don't have the capacity. Picking 3 movies seems silly to me.

What if I want to stream a blu-ray and don't have wifi? There goes my entire monthly data plan! If it could even stream fast enough, that is. Every time I drive through a parking garage I lose my signal and my music stops, it sucks. The cloud is not ubiquitous enough, data plans are getting more restrictive, carriers are throttling, and media formats are growing larger. The answer can only be: Never enough :)

I wonder if many of you voting 'there is never enough' have considered that while your use and needs may require you carry everything you could ever conceivably consider using that many of us don't have those same needs. Not everyone has to have everything all the time. Not everyone watches movies on their phones and if they do they don't need their entire Blu-Ray collection readily available. Every time I drive through a parking garage I lose my signal and my music continues to play cause I have the option to store it locally from the cloud and it is great. The answer can only be: It all depends on the user. ;)

32 GB is more than enough for me.
if all phones came with a batteries like the razr maxx maybe I would use the cloud.

Twice the amount you currently have is exactly how much you need. I'd be happy with 40 GB right now, but I manage with 20...

16 GB is plenty for me, as long as there is enough phone storage for apps. That's the big problem I run into with my Captivate (AT&T Galaxy S variant). I have 7 GB free on internal storage, but I've run out of room for apps on the phone partition (My phone initially came with Eclair, so moving to SD card was not an option for a long time).

I don't like the idea of depending on the cloud for storage because I can't get service or wi-fi everywhere and I don't want to go over my data limit. If the carriers can improve their geographic footprint in rural areas and be more flexible with data limits, then cloud storage becomes a more viable option. Until then, I need local storage.

16 is good, but I picked 32 because 16 probably won't be enough a year from now.

I remember this exact argument being played out prior to the launch of the original Palm Pre (8GB storage with no SD card slot) and I posted the following:

"How 'productive' is it to have weeks worth of media? We need to make a distinction between the storage requirements for productivity, daily use and hoarding. It is what this entire discussion boils down to. 8GB is more than enough for the vast majority of users (a generalisation I know). Would we like more? Of course we would. Do we really need more? Of course not. Being able to carry weeks worth of music and film is something people might like to do but it is ultimately pointless and an exercise in inefficiency. We would be having the same discussion regardless of the actual storage capacity because it is human nature to want more and, more importantly, be seen to have more. However there is no point in storing more than you need and storing just for the sake of storing. This is particularly true when you consider that people usually just listen or watch their favourites anyway. If you get bored simply go to the cloud. It is a convergence device not mankind's disc/filmography."

Ultimately I do not see the point in carrying x weeks worth of media. A phone is a convergence device. There will always be limitations (storage, battery life, screen size, etc) and a better device (TV, laptop, tablet, music player, etc) available to you for the times when you want to consume a lot of media. We need to make a distinction between normal use and those who want to take things to extremes and horde. A convergence device is not for the latter.

Flame away.

I concur. "Hoarding" is a very good description of what many people use mobile storage for.

I have a few hundred GB of (legal) media, but I carry just about ten hours of music and an occasional comedy show (the real movies I care to watch warrant a bigger screen and nicer atmosphere, so there's no point loading them on my phone). I rotate the content roughly once per month or two.

Carrying all your media with you is kind of like putting on all the clothes from your wardrobe simulatneously.

I think you're dead on. I have all of my movies ripped to an external hard drive at home. If I'm going to travel, I'll load a few up on my phone and tablet. All of my music is in Play Music or whatever it's called this week. Pictures get uploaded to Picasa. Documents are on Google Docs.

outside of needing room for a couple of movies, I'd be fine with just enough room for apps and the OS.

I just want a microSD slot and I don't care about internal storage. Since there's no option for that in the poll and I have a 64 gig card in my phone I checked 'there is never enough'.

I've been getting just fine with 32gb on my Verizon GNEX. I don't store all my music on my phone because I have a small iPod nano that takes cares of that. Not much of a hassle to take with with me places. The only time I can see storage space becoming an issue is when I want to put videos on there to watch while on a plane or something.

The problem with this poll is that it ignores SD slots.

The poll should probably have read, "How much internal storage is enough, IF YOU HAVE NO SD SLOT?" Or "How much total local storage is enough?"

There's a huge difference. RAM is required for functionality, storage isn't. It's a little like the volume of your engine vs. the volume of your gas tank.

I was thinking this was no problem, until I reread the article and realized we're talking about external sd card slots, not just the lack of an included card.

Entirely eliminating the possibility of user-expandable storage is asinine. It goes hand-in-hand with using non-user-replaceable batteries.

Manufacturers and carriers aren't happy with custom ROMs extending the useful life of devices and cutting into their sales, so they've resorted to non-user-replaceable batteries and non-expandable storage as a means of forcing obsolescence in order to boost sales of future devices. They're taking a page right out of Apple's book.

Well I stream my music using audiogalaxy or Amazon. I need at least 32 GB tho cause i'm a gamer and play a lot of gameloft games and other Android games that take up space.

I'm quite fine with 16GB, but it's kinda troublesome to have to copy my nandroids to the computer so frequently. I'd like to store some movies on my phone too.

In order for the cloud to be effective, you need carriers to **NOT** count that access against their data limits. Technology is at a point where they can easily differentiate that from other data.

The problem is that while carriers are limiting data amounts (to keep their costs down and profits up) , OEMs are also limiting data storage on devices (to keep their costs down and profits up). Who ends up "paying"? You and I do...

I can get by with 16, but having a phone with a high MP camera and HD recording could put that to bed. 32 would be way more than enough for me right now.

32GB is perfect for keeping a couple nandroid backups, enough data for a full TiBu backup, and the rest of the data I need/want. Music and documents live in Google's sky palace, and photos are automagically uploaded to my Dropbox, Google+ and Ubuntu One accounts, so things stay nice and safe and easily accessible. It also helps that I'm grandfathered into VZWs unlimited data.

I'm all in for the cloud! I don't care that much about internal storage. I hate having my data in a place that I personally have to take care of it and carry it and worry about it getting lost, stolen, destroyed, etc.
I vote cloud... but I realize that we still have ways to go before 'availability' is a ubiquitous thing.

With an SD slot I don't care otherwise I seem to do fine with 16GB. Most of my storage is taken up with ROM backups anyway. I use cloud storage some but for apps and any large files it isn't very useful if you need to download/upload to it very often.

Why is Apple, among all manufacturers, the only one willing to give their customers a 64GB device? If you are going to take micro SD capability away from devices, at least make one with enough memory to not need a micro SD card at all -- and no, 32GB of internal storage doesn't make the cut because thanks to partitioning and bloatware, you will always end up with less storage space than if you put a 32GB micro SD inside a phone with 128 MB of internal storage.

So, the providers (ATT, VZW, etc.) are working at capping the amount of data I can transfer without extra charges. The phone manufacturers are making phone with small storage.
Not that I am into conspiracies, but it sounds like one to me.

In this day and age, not putting at least 32GB in a device is stupid. Sure, maybe YOU only need a small amount, but some people want to carry a lot of data and not rely on the providers to stream it.

Say I am traveling. I for some reason have time to kill and get out my phone to surf the web. I find that there is no service in this particular area. Now I'm bored AND bummed. Not a problem, I have a few videos on my phone I can watch. If you put all of your videos on cloud storage, your screwed.

It is about finding a happy medium between wanting everything in the cloud and everything on your phone. For me 8GB is fine. I have what I need should I find myself in a signal blackspot.

Simple, " stream" unlimited data through my SD cards ( yea, I have many of them), free. Stream unlimited data through a cloud, assuming anonymous hasn't taken all my data and shut down the server to protest some BS, well....impossible since vendors don't have unlimited data plans.

While cloud is handy, data caps don't make it cost effective if you keep everything on the cloud. Keeping I prefer to keep frequently used media on the phone.

Having more than 32GB isn't a necessity, it's a preference. I never understood why people said the "needed" to have their entire music library on their phones or "needed" to have numerous movies stored. The fact of the matter is that these are just phones, they're never going to be more powerful than a PC.

I keep my music stored on a 16GB SD Card and I'm good with that. Let's be honest here, no matter how much storage a phone offers to consumers, there's always going to be people saying it's not enough. As a whole we always want more instead of being happy with what we have.

To say that smart phones are merely phones is a great simplification
they are phones, music players, video players, internet access etc etc.

The truth is that the first thing that brought me to getting an iphone was that I didn't have to carry around a phone and mp3 player.
Whether it's a necessity or not isn't the issue, most people don't need a smartphone anyway it's a convenience and since a sizable percentage still want to use their phones as a replacement for an mp3 player the SD card slot should stick around, customers want it why not continue to offer higher and higher capacity phones, especially as memory prices decline.

I still carry a Zune 120GB for my media (with about 7GB free). Mostly because not everything will fit on my tablet (or phone). I haven't even upgraded to the latest model Zune since the largest is 64GB and I would lose half of my storage.

It's not a matter of hoarding, but more a matter of convenience. I'm on the road a lot. When driving, I listen to podcasts or audio books instead of the radio. There are also several workout videos installed so I can keep up my daily fitness even when on the road (fitness videos take up 15GB by themselves). Being able to connect my Zune to a TV for external viewing helps a lot as well. Some hotels can have pretty slow internet, so streaming can be hit or miss, and unless you have an unlimited data plan, being away from wifi as much as I am can get expensive.

Along with my Zune, I carry my phone (SGS), gTablet, and laptop. The tablet has HDMI output, so I could move videos to it for workouts and movie viewing, but that could easily fill one microSD card. Some podcasts already to go my tablet as well. Not much entertainment goes onto the laptop since it is used for work, and trying to view videos while flying on a plane takes a contortionist to position it and me comfortably. One thing I love about my tablet is being able to swap out microSD cards. With a couple of 32GB cards, I could almost completely replace the Zune.

Personally, I would love to get rid of carrying several devices. Getting a smartphone meant not having to carry a phone, PDA, and small camera everywhere. Heck, if they made a tablet with phone capabilities, I'd be all over it. But to make a move like that would mean having a device limited to 16, or 32GB not very feasible. In my situation, 64GB could still be limiting. Take away the microSD slot and you take away my interest.

I can understand why manufacturers would want to limit space, remove features (microSD), and rely on cloud storage (and more expensive data plans), but doing so also means losing sales to someone like me who looks for those features. If I wanted a limited device, I would still be carrying a BlackBerry.

I didn't read all the comments but I will say that there needs to be more internal space on the phones seeing as though there are games out there that are 23m (Angry Birds Space and Temple Run) and with all the other apps on my phone I can't install them. If I were to get a phone that had no external space where I could push the app to the sd card to get more space on the internal side, I'd be screwed.

there is something I would like to point out though
Angry Birds is a nothing compared to Asphalt 6 !!! Ive on my phone , its over 1GB big

What about times without signal? Power drain? Data usage?
I hate hearing the same songs over and over again on 'radio'.
I have a 30,000 song library.
I don't sit a listen to them 'all at once'.
Allows me to enjoy the completeness of my library,
without hearing the complete library.
I go a long time without hearing repeats.

No, its never enough
After owning an OG Milestone for almost 2 years & a 16GB iPod touch for 4 & half years I swore I wont buy anything with less than a 16GB plus an SD card

This actually stopped me from getting a Windows Phone or an iPod Nano

Im sorry , No expandable Storage + Big internal storage (or 64GB) I won't buy it

Cloud serivce wont cut it for me (most of em are US only)

16GB is good for me about 99% of the time. Apps take up the most amount of space on my GNex b/c I don't really store local video or music. There are rare occasions where I'd like to store multiple movies while traveling and I think I can only get 1 or 2 on my device, but I can survive. This usually means I have to read instead, which I admit I don't do often enough, so it's not a big deal.

The first thing I do when I get a phone is pop a 32gb sdcard in the external slot, I have 48GB total on my work AT&T SGS2 and 40 on my HTC thunderbolt and I'm almost always at like 0 - 5 GB free, I flash roms a lot so I normally have a number of different roms, titanium backup images, on my thunderbolt I use bootmanager pro to dual boot so I've got entire installs on my SD card as well as well as keeping some music on my phone
my SGS2 has a 2GB tiered plan so I have to watch the data usage, tiered data really kills the cloud imho.

I do use the cloud for most of my documents google docs and dropbox as well as streaming movies which is from a plex server on my home network, though obviously that and netflix is only used with my unlimited 4G Verizon phone.

You can never had enough storage if you like to play :)

The first thing I do when I get a phone is pop a 32gb sdcard in the external slot, I have 48GB total on my work AT&T SGS2 and 40 on my HTC thunderbolt and I'm almost always at like 0 - 5 GB free, I flash roms a lot so I normally have a number of different roms, titanium backup images, on my thunderbolt I use bootmanager pro to dual boot so I've got entire installs on my SD card as well as well as keeping some music on my phone
my SGS2 has a 2GB tiered plan so I have to watch the data usage, tiered data really kills the cloud imho.

I do use the cloud for most of my documents google docs and dropbox as well as streaming movies which is from a plex server on my home network and netflix , though obviously those are only used with my unlimited 4G Verizon phone.

You can never had enough storage if you like to play :)

I initially got a smartphone to consolidate the devices I was carrying around. But actually I've now gone back the other way. I would rather have multiple gadgets that do one thing and do it well. So storage isn't really an issue. I read books on my tablet. Most of my music is on my mp3 player - I don't want it on my phone cos it's just one more battery drain, and I hate that notifications interrupt the music. My Walkman lasts for 1-2 weeks on a charge. I don't travel enough to need movies with me. I have a 3DS for gaming. I have a digital point-and-shoot that I always have with me, but even the pics I take with my phone are backed up to Google+. I do all of these things on my phone as well, but not to the extent that I would need large amounts of storage. I voted 16 GB; on further reflection I believe I could be fine with 8.

I agree with on a tablet for reading and maybe 3DS for gaming, I'm not that into mobile gaming I am a console fan. And if your a photo guru I can see a smartphone camera not being sufficient.

But you have to concede your not the average person.
Most people use their phone as a music player, the battery drain is really nominal on most phones I've had and while I hate the notifications their is a fix for that that I use when on a long trip, I turn my phone on silent or vibrate.
A large number of people don't bother to carry camera's anymore except for the most important of events, I actually don't even own a camera.
The large majority of people do play a lot of games on their smartphone.

I myself hate lugging around tons of devices, I already have to deal with a personal and work smartphone, that's all really more than i want to carry.

I am if the same philosophy. I don't buy my smart phone for data storage, and I certainly have everything I own on my own personal hard drives, while I will never trust the cloud, it is awesome to have infinite storage and not worry. My phone has a good battery and I have verizon so cloud services have always been good for me. 16 gigs is a decent number....of course more is better, but having 8-16 will suit most people looking for a smart phone to be a smart phone...

Plain and Simple,
When Carriers stop being egotistical about their Speeds, Data Cap's, and Charges, that's when i really won't care if i have to use the "cloud" to store my files, but until then, i want my damn SD storage capable phone.

32 is enough for internal mem as long as there is an sd slot.what ever Google is thinking with internal only is going to fail if they don't start putting in the max the phone can fit. Like y the hell not have over 100 GB of internal if that's all ur offering, with the fact that if u want more memory, it's just get another phone next yr. What a F@$#ing joke. Google please stop pissing me off like apple, we love u, just keep ur mind off my ass n stop trying to f me. google as well as apple should see that games are getting much better and bigger. Modern combat 3 is 1.5 GB, out of 16 GB, that's a joke right. Screw u for giving people no way to put a decent amount of apps, games, music, movies, files on their phone. your progression on memory expansion has been great so far with micro sd n such, now u want to take it away. That's fine, and when there are no more choices for a new phone with expandable memory, I'll walk away from Android.
I've waited so long for 64GB cards. Now they are hear. My next phone, eVo, or sgs 3, will have IM pretty sure 32 gb internal, 64 sd. And I bet it will be close to maxed out in memory after A couple months.

definitely need 32gb. I'm a big cloud user. I use dropbox for files Google music so don't store songs on my phone but titanium backup and nandroid backups take up a lot of space. I'm also the guy that doesn't ever uninstall apps so yeah, I need 32.

8GB is somehow enough for me. I really mean full 8GB of storage not 8GB minus OS, System data etc ..

This is the reason why I sell my Kindle fire and buy HP TOUCHPAD 32gb. 5.3GB in kindle is never enough for me, since I cannot use Amazon cloud (i'm not in US).