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Why Nexus devices have no SD card

The Internet is hard at work debating the merits of the Nexus 7 tablet, and the biggest arguments are about the lack of expandable storage, or an SD card, as you likely know it. It seems like everyone and their brother has a theory about why the hottest tablet to hit Android so far will be shipping without one. The most popular reason revolves around some conspiracy that Google is to forcing you to use its cloud services. While I'm sure Google would love nothing more than users depending on Google Drive or Google Music -- and there's certainly a big push for it -- that's not the reason devices have been trending away from expandable storage.

Wanna know what it really is? Sure you do.

The lack of an SD card in Nexus devices is nothing new, and we've been over this issue already when the Galaxy Nexus first appeared.

We got tired of seeing OEMs include many GB of internal storage for music, while users were still running out of space for apps and data. This approach lets us merge everything on one volume, which is way better.-- Dan Morrill, Android engineer at Google

Google still supports removable storage in Android, but it is leading by example and providing phones (and now a tablet) with one big block of storage that users can use for anything they like -- be it media, documents, or apps. There are a couple of side benefits to this approach as well. The first one is a bit geeky -- it allows the device to use ext file systems instead of a mix of ext and FAT. This is faster and safer -- both for the data on the device and the way it's handled, and access to our own personal data. A journalized file system means fewer file errors, and ext preserves file system permissions so random code can't find your pictures or documents folder.

Another benefit is that the host machine (when your device is connected to a computer) can't muck things up and molest the file system, as it doesn't have block-level access to the files. Instead, a proxy FUSE (Filesystem in Userspace) file system is used to mount a psuedo-SD card folder so that your computer can read and write to it via MTP. This means you won't get errors from incorrectly unmounting your phone, and the device still has access to all the data even while plugged into a PC. 

Does Google want you to use Google Play and its cloud services? Of course it does. But there is no secret evil cabal in Mountain View that held back the SD card slot to force it on you. In fact, you're still free to use other cloud solutions like Amazon, Dropbox, or even a shared drive on your desktop PC. Nobody has to like the fact that Nexus devices ship with no SD card slot, but let's stop looking for conspiracies when we already know the answer.

More: Reddit

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

291 Comments
  • Bwahahaha! Your Gigabytes are all mine! Seriously, thanks for that explanation... I learn a little more about Android and Google each day!
  • That would all be just fine...but my gnex totes 32gb which is plenty for a phone. 8gb on a tablet however, that's a little ridiculous
  • Probably safe to say that whenever you are toting that tablet, your phone will be there as well. So leverage all those unused gigs on the phone for your tablet. We all know the two will be tethered happily together anyway.
  • Disagree. That's not everyone's scenario plus it feels more natural to store all my content on my tablet anyway. Ebooks and movies and maybe music.. they're more capable consumption devices.
  • Yep exactly! Plus, using this "proxy" slows file transfer to/from PC down to the speed of 5.25" floppies!
  • I want your 20MB/s floppy drive.
  • Using MTP is as slow as a slug for me and it doesn't work relieably on either of my computers. So I tend to resort to apps that forces proper SD card mounting, or simply dismounting the SD card and copying to it with a card adaptor :). And Woila more and better speed
  • Or you could transfer wirelessly using Airdroid. It's super fast and extremely easy to use
  • eBooks are rarely more than a few megabytes. I think the biggest one I've seen was 5, giving you 200 books per GB. Music is better used on your phone anyway because it has more space and can stream and has the same audio output (BlueTooth or 3.5mm). Movies, though, would be an issue, you might need an OTG cable and flash drive or something.
  • It's true about the storage space being small, I just bought a portable drive * you can get ssd or hard drive*, but the punt is that it saves everything & you can connect it threw Bluetooth or micro USB. plus you can have it to share the data to both the smartphone or tab. Just wish there was an NFC version.
  • No, it is not safe to say that. If I am toting a tablet, I should be expecting the thing to have enough storage to do tablet activities like multimedia. If I can put a 64GB SD card in my HTC 8XT so I can watch any 64 of my movies on that little thing, I should be able to do the same for a purely entertainment device. I should be able to put any of my 5ea 64GB SD cards into my multimedia tablet so I can watch any of my 320 movies. Watching movies 'til the cows come home ought to be an out-of-the-box expectation for a tablet. Not giving a possible workaround. Making the comment that I can tether the tablet to my storage device sounds like hokum. An excuse for a gaping hole or yesterday's news. Like the 'latest' about Google making a version of OpenOffice available for Android or iOS to avoid paying for Office360. You guys are slithering around in a very tiny, old world, as Sun has made OpenOffice available, like, since you were moving from Plain Pampers to My Very Own Pull Ups.
  • Wow hey thanks Vic, for explaining your point of view. I'm actually more serious than you are about hardware. I almost didn't go for the Samsung Galaxy S4 because they did a 'honey I shrunk the chip' on the Subscriber Identification Module. Then I found these adapters that lets me light up my S2 that needs the full size chip, and any of the flip phones in my gun safe, they all need the full size SIM and I tested my micro SIM with the adapter and it works. I even tested it on the Samsung Infuse and it also works. So I got the S4 and the only reason I still have it is it's case protected it when it got ran over. I get random SIM errors ever since that. I even replaced the tray. Peeled it all apart and replaced the tray and I still get random SIM errors. Took it apart a second time just to unplug the tray from the motherboard, and make sure I got a good snap when I plugged it back in. That is some tiny stuff. Anyway, I go to switch back to the SGH-I727 and the darn gallery in CyanogenMod crashes on that 32 GB chip where I have 20 GB worth of stuff stashed. So my details are another story, and I digress. I would never buy another handset that did not have an expandable memory slot. I have never purchased an Iphone simply because you cannot pull out the battery. I have never owned a "tablet" because they lack the basic function of "telephone". I am the ultimate consumer. I eat these things up and spit 'em out. If you want me to buy my first "tablet", make it a phone with a SIM slot, Micro SD slot, camera, gps, all the sensors, a removable battery, and an infra red blaster that serves as a universal remote. And if you REALLY want to know how I feel, make it open source code for all of it's hardware so developers can more easily cook different ROM's for it. That is all.
  • I agree. The lack of expandable storage is the main reason that I'll never own a Nexus tablet. It's why when I buy an Android tablet my choice falls to Samsung. I have the Note 10.1 and the Tab 3 7.0 (Sprint version) I'm very happy with my choices.
  • I agree. As soon as I found out that it did not have SD slots I found out that I would never buy a Nexus Tablet. It was a simple choice. If my phone bricks and I need something I just get the SD card and run. Not the case otherwise. That's just 1 of many reason why its a non-starter for me.
  • Love your statement I believe the same thing, I enjoyed the article, but I still want choice, leave the micro sd or sd slot on tablets for those who choose to have more space!
  • Agreed. If they were including 32 to 64 GB of storage, then fine. But 8 with less than 8 free- no way.
  • 1. The 8GB nexus 7 is not even sold anymore 2. They sell 16GB and 32GB ones for the people who are not stupid enough to cheap out on a tablet 3. If you were dumb enough to buy the 8BG one then thats your fault. They have that there for those who want it.
  • 1. You are absolutely correct (kudos to you)
    2. 32GB doesn't cover 1/4 of just my music collection, let alone my Blu-ray rips. Adding an SD card slot would have cost them next to nothing, put most fears to rest, allowed me to increase to 96GB of space (160GB when 128GB cards start shipping), and increased sales. I don't get it, under the reasoning Google gives, could they not give the one, entire block of memory internally but still leave an SD card for those who want it? And not everyone can afford 250$. That was the point of the Nexus 7: to give the masses a tablet. You may loose a few bucks putting a new one in but sales would have increased to much more than they did.
    3. Actually your the *dumb* one. Look when he posted.
  • Not so fast gidgiddonihah.... I think you meant "you're" the dumb one... or not...
    Also, you would probably "lose" a few bucks before you "loose" a few bucks... Why do you have to have ALL over your music collection and Blu-rays on your tablet at once? Never mind, it's a rhetorical question...
  • Write whatever opinion you have and no one bats an eye..
    Misspell a word and everyone loses their minds :)
  • +1 Yeah most of us are typing on glass here. Not the most reliable form of typing accuracy.
  • Grammar aside, I want all 60gb of my music on my phone since I use it instead of a dedicated music device and don't really want to have to copy music from my computer to the phone constantly. In fact I am looking forward to the introduction of 128gb cards. Part of the marketing for smartphones is the theory that they can replace a variety of devices. Anyway, I rule out any phone that doesn't have a memory slot.
  • if someone gets a nexus5 or any noon sd card smartphone that are mostly converting to none removable memory you'll definitely need a carrier with unlimited data, that way your bill dissent change whenever it goes over there data limit. I save movies in my drop box & either download it if I know I'm gonna watch it out stream it threw dropbox, box. I use drive just for data. Everything works good and no buffering in NYC so you just need to be in an area where lte is all over.
  • "ALL over your music" I think you misspelled "of," Mr. Pot. That is all.
  • Probably for the same reason that I have my 29 gig music library and almost 60 full length movies, together with music videos and other assorted items like tips and tricks YouTube video downloads spread all over my note 4 with 64 gig microsdxc. It's easier to share and socialize when you have your personal loves at your fingertips.
    I have yet to see a personal computer that gives you less memory because the manufacturer thinks you're too stupid to utilize his device.
  • Could it be to avoid using FAT32 at all? Hasn't Microsoft been extorting significant fees from other Android manufacturers for their VFAT patent? Maybe Google wants its devices to be free of that one (which has - stupidly - been upheld) so that they're not vulnerable to patent blackmail. The other MS Android patents are even dumber than VFAT.
  • Works for me. All my USB flash drives are formatted ext4. Should be no problem at all doing it with SD cards too. That would eliminate patents, it would increase performance, and it would reduce possible corruption.
  • MTP is a Microsoft patent too, so...
  • MTP is used on the computer side of the connection not on the device.
  • The explanation simply does not hold water. If it had a decent-sized volume (32GB or bigger), then MAYBE you could make a case for limiting the user to one self-protected (i.e. journaling) volume. And now that most carriers are eliminating Unlimited Data plans, pushing people to use Cloud services for streaming (as opposed to just syncing to portable devices with lots of local storage) makes even less sense.
  • the only problem with it having 32gb or even BIGGER, is that it is trying to compete with entry level tablets, it really is as simple as if this unit does not have enough storage for your needs, they are simply not designing it for you! there is a much better and more expensive tablet awaiting you out there.
  • NO. The Nexus 7 is below the standard for entry level tablets. I own a Vizio 8" tablet that cost less than $200 and it includes an SD-card slot. The built-in storage is a pidly 4 GB so the SD card is used for everyting but system-type applications. Plus my Vizio has 3 speakers, so that if you turn it 90 degrees you still have stereo (sounds better than my laptop). I like how they say you can get up to 9 hours of HD Video playback on the battery when it cannot hold more than 3 hours on the hard drive. The Nexus has a mere 5.6 GB of actual storage. This is in the realm of $120 tablets, not the $200 range. Its a real shame as the rest of the specs are great. I mean, the processor is faster than my laptop and it has more ram than my netbook. Its ok, though. It isn't like this is the only $200 tablet to choose from. Just sad that the one CRUCIAL option, the sd card slot, seemed to be forgotten. If they did not want to screw with FAT partitions, they would just have the tablet require you to pre-format your sd card to whatever format they use. It isn't like we all are constantly removing and playing around with the miniscule micro-sd cards in our phones or existing tablets. One thing to note is the reason it is smart to have removeable media: apple had to make and ship 3 versions of their iphone with different internal hard drive sizes. An android phone merely has an sd card slot so YOU can choose how big a card to stick in it. If my phone was designed with this logic in mind, a tablet shoud surely do this as well. Of course they could go the way of apple and just offer the nexus with 8, 16, and 32 GB internal hard drives as an option. But alas, that would cost money.
  • That Vizio tablet makes me sad though. The specs are about the same as this cheap Chinese tablet I got a couple years back. Except mine had more than 2GB user available memory and two Micro SD card slots. If they used ext on the SD card, wouldn't that make it require more work to read it on the computer without the tablet? Plus I hate to have to figure out what goes where and be frustrated with apps that didn't allow me to move them to the SD card.
  • Yes, but there is a workaround. Just get a Chromebook.
  • I'm glad I live in the UK and still have unlimited data! I've pre-ordered a nexus7 but I'm not worried about storage space because I always have my phone with me, which has expandable storage, I plan to tether when necessary and use something like this https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https2F2F... when I have to. The most important thing for the n7 was surely to hit the market at $199, that certainly grabbed my attention.
  • using this app can you directly transfer files via wifi between two android phones or tablets without both of them logging onto another wifi network or do you need both the devices to be logged onto another external wifi network. In short does this app set up some thing like wifi direct transfers between two android devices and what are the data transfer speeds like.
  • https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https2F2F...
  • $199 plus all the workaround hardware. And you will need a laptop case to carry all the junk required to actually use it for a weekend trip to the beach.
  • Totally agree StuartV. I have the GN because it has 32 gigs, but I am still missing a micro USB(I could use another 32 Gigs). I was going to pre order the Nexus 7 but decided against it when I found out it had no micro USB slot. I need a better explanation from Google. If they are doing it to save money, why not say so.
  • "If they are doing it to save money, why not say so." -Is this not fairly obvious common sense? I wouldn't think they'd need to spell that out for you.
  • adding microsd slot would have been painfully inexpensive
  • Google understands that people are dumb. People want to believe their computers (and tablets) are more intelligent than they are and they can remove a sd card before the file is transferred and they would just have half the file, not a corrupted sd card. Goolge know they have fooled people into believing clouds are a viable, reliable and secure method of storing their files. Google also knows people's expectations of electronics have been permanently lowered due to iphone 4s's, ipads and the like (which treat their users as even dumber animals than this Nexus 7, which will at least have flash and cost half as much). One guy said you could just tether the cell phone to your tablet and use the cell phone's sd card storage. This is ridiculous. Now you are draining two batteries instead of one, transmitting your information back and forth using a freeware program you cannot fully trust either. Has everyone gone mad?! Is it too much to ask that I take a file off my 3TB home computer hard drive, move it to an sd card, and insert the card in my portable device directly thus ensuring it was secure the whole time? Or do most people not use their portable electronics for anything serious? I want a cheap device I can use for business, not angry birds. People who think the cloud is a reasonable method of storage for your sensitive documents are high. Google tablets are mere toys now, unless you want to dump $1000 in a really high-end laptop-without-a-keyboard like the Acer ICONIA ICONIA-484G64nss. Do people realise that for a couple hundred more than they paid for a 64gb ipad they could have this beauty which runs windows 7, has TWO 14" screens, 640gb (ten times the storage) AND a real i5 computer processor with 4GB of expandable RAM? Jeeze. I could run actual hard-core business software on that machine, not just Play Store apps. Even Microsoft Word. Imagine that. Or maybe go a couple hundred more than this stupid Nexus 7 device and get the awesome ASUS 32GB Eee Pad Slider SL101. Yes, 32 GB of storage and a slide out qwerty keyboard! Still too rich for you? Pay $50 more than the Nexus 7 16gb model and you can have a TOSHIBA Thrive which has an SD card slot and is made by a better company. Who does Google think they are? The only option? Hardly.
  • You sir, very likely were high at the time of writing this. It's a great piece of work, I commend it, as well as your highness, and the awesome rant that came of it. Cheers and forever fuck clouds of any kind that offer any service other than floating.
  • The original rant made me laugh. Dude made some great points though. ^This response put me over the edge. Good stuff.
  • Some great points, but he put a needle in his arm and chased a dragon if he ever thought the Toshiba Thrive compared to the Nexus 7 with or without the SD card. The Nexus 7 has been hands down the best tablet I have used out of all of the tablet choices from Android, and I had a Thrive. He made some good points, but ending with the Thrive comment put a .45 caliber right next to the head of his credibility.
  • I don't know, I think he just wanted the Toshiba tablet to "thrive" and become a better tablet.
  • Well, it has been almost a year since that post. The Vizio tablet I had died. I did have a warranty, but the no-name tablet I replaced it with (as Vizio no longer makes my tablet) also proved insufficient. FINALLY I bought a new tablet. For$300 I got an ASUS with a quad-core tegra processor, 16 mb of built-in storage, 1 gig of ddr2 ram, and transplanted my 32 gb chip. This is a fine tablet. Very fast and reliable and even has gps, something you are seeing less of these days. I stand by my original comments. The nexus is no longer on the radar. There are plenty of name brand tablets of superior stats and design for the same cost these days. I noticed one guy preferred his nexus over a toshiba. Good for you. Stats and design are still better on the toshiba product even if you like your puny nexus. Bet you have moved on to a more grown up tablet by now though. With that said, how the mighty have fallen. Who would have predicted how miserably Microsoft would suck - Windows 8 is ridiculous, a poorly designed echo of a once-great OS. AND Windows RT is a joke. As their trendy Surface tablets plummet in value, with price drops being needed just to move the product, and with the google cheapo laptops similarly underwhelming the market, it really does seem that Android is poised to destroy its competition. WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG? I figured it out. I had also upgraded my cellphone this year. I got an LG Optimus G for free. QUAD CORE. Then I got this ASUS for $300. Quad core. BOTH devices are flawless and provide smooth operation. Android made the mistake of releasing their operating system on low-end devices. Now that the hardware is equivalent to ipads and iphones (often superior), the droids seem to finally have a shot at competing with overpriced apples. The lame iphone5 further reinforces my argument. They made the screen longer and moved the headphone jack to the bottom. Morons. This gave droid a chance to catch up in the hardware department. Now it is completely possible to get a droid tablet for $300 that utterly spanks an ipad 2 and probably the ipad 3 (we will see). The point is, name brands do still indicate value and Android 4.3 works best on at least two cores. How good is ASUS? Well, their Transformer had sme major flaws. But much of their product line was very well made. My ancient eeepc netbook is still going strong, though I wisely installed Ubuntu over the stripped-down Windoze XP that it came with. My friend has an ASUS home pc that has had no issues in 4 years (and running Vista that says something). So next time you are shopping for a tablet, notice how rare a nexus is and then notice how off-brands start at $35 (check Walmart). Look at the $150 range for reasonable quality, but don't be shocked if you ultimately spend $300 as you do get what you pay for. Hardware is important... but who makes the hardware does matter as China continues to decline in producing quality without a huge corporate machine quality checking along the way. My wife offered me her ipad2 once she upgrades to an ipad3. After toying with it I realized you cannot browse the files! You cannot get a crapload of good free apps... the good ones always cost money... you cannot plug in an external .. anything. No usb jack and no card slot. Yet she is about to drop $800 on another glorified e-book reader. To her, and I suspect many others, the simplicity of apple is appealing. The nexus was similar in that the designers presumed you would not want flexibility. But for tweakers like myself, that want good free apps, full office capabilities, and the ability to easily move data, a well-built droid will always be the answer.
  • Instead they add a similarly priced NFC chip so the kiddos in Petaluma can buy their mocha latte frappuccinos with their 7" tablets bc it's too difficult to swipe a card or count change. If you were to buy the components for a suitable micro SD reader, it would cost about $5. If you calculate that in bulk based on the amount of Nexus 7 sales, you're actually looking at something like 0.02 cents per unit. I would say this has more to do with hardware manufacturers wanting to sell you new devices every year or so. They don't want to keep supporting legacy hardware, software updates, etc. Google wants to keep our Android versions current, avoid fragmentation and keep sales metrics up. If you don't add enough storage to keep up with software demands, you'll have to upgrade sooner. Even App2SD functionality is blocked on later Android builds via OTG USB. It's 2013 and the new Nexus 7 STILL has no micro SD reader, just a little extra space (enough to get you through this year). Anyway, that's my 0.02 cents, that would have been better spent on a micro SD reader!!
  • Exactly. Just need 32GB to be comfortable with enough offline music and apps. 16GB doesn't quite cut it.
  • So it's nothing to do with pushing you to pay more for Devise E.g 16 GB Vs 32 GB the price difference should be 10$ as that's the cost of a 16 GB SD card. (May be lower depending on the speed.) Also if you are using cloud services then the Big brother can enforce what you can & can't put on it. (Translation, no pirated music) I really have hard time to believe that. MV :)
  • ...And that's one of the main reasons I won't be getting a Nexus phone. I have a 64GB microSD card on my Samsung Fascinate and I'm already close to filling it up (only about 8GB left). I may get a Nexus 7, but I don't think I'll ever bother with a Nexus phone unless I get it for a really really cheap price (or free). But I do appreciate this short but informative article. It went straight to the point in explaining why Google chose to only use flash storage.
  • Yep, same here. Passed on the HTC One X and Galaxy Nexus and picked up a Samsung S III. Worth it just for the convenience of being able to take media from one device to another. And the ability to do local backups to the card and being able to remove it at will should anything happen to the device.
  • My S III uses MTP and limits access to the SDcard, am I missing something? While its still better to have the card, it's not the same endless access I was used to on my Epic.
  • I don't own a Galaxy SIII, but I'm pretty sure you can just remove the microSD card, place it in an SD card adapter, and then into your computer's SD card slot. That's what I always do with my phone, I usually don't bother with connecting it to the computer directly. If your computer doesn't have an SD card slot, you should be able to find a USB card reader for cheap at a place like Best Buy.
  • An "all-in-one" reader that will support just about every type of flash media out there usually runs about $8.00. And, if you need to copy *lots* of data, the readers are usually almost twice as fast as doing it directly through your phone. Keep in mind, though, you should turn the phone off before removing the SD-Card, and I wouldn't recommend booting it back up without the SD-Card installed, if you've got apps "moved" to the SD.
  • In Settings you can just Unmount and later Mount the SD Card. For removal and replace.
    Phone can stay on.
  • yeah cause i am currently using a galaxy s3 and i managed to loose my micro sd card and i was just going to drag and drrop all my movies and music via double twist. but double twist will not recognize my galaxxy s3 so ended up downloading airplay through 4hared.com and got everything, it took way longer though
  • What the heck do you need so much storage for? Blows my mind when I see comments like this.
  • Well, let's see. I, for one, have ALL my music loaded on my card. And I have over 6,000 photographs, properly organized in sub directories, and under my own control. Instant access to stuff that I want access to anywhere, anytime, and with super speed. Throw on a few movies, and also I want to cache several hundred megabytes of Map data and I am done. Just because YOU want to be chained to WiFi-only use, doesn't mean that is how everyone operates.
  • I'm sorry but that is the dumbest thing i think ive read in quite awhile. Do you do nothing when you go out but look at your phone or tablet? Everyone who constantly makes the claim that they need vast amounts of storage have the most ridiculous reasons, like needing access to every photo they've taken (seriously?), putting every song they've pirated in which they'll listen to less than 10% of it, putting pirated HD rips of entire series rather than a few episodes. This is also the same group of people who will load every app they possibly can but use only a select few, and wonder why their phones performance suffers and also have zilch for space. The cloud is there for just that reason, to have EVERYTHING always, and to rely on physical storage when you aren't/cant be connected to the internet.
  • Now this was (one of the) dumbest comments I've ever read! Do you not realize that some people like having instant access to their media right away, without waiting for photos to load through the cloud service, or music skipping every 30 seconds because of crappy 3G/4G connection, or videos stopping to load every 10 seconds?! How is it so hard to understand that people who do actually want at least most of their media on their devices, want to have access to that media right away? Cloud storage is also not a reliable form of content playback! Here's a perfect example: I live in New York City, I ride the subway pretty much everywhere. You know what happens when the train goes underground? You loose that precious f***** cloud service! So all of your media that's stored up in the cloud, is gone! And caching is a pain in the ass! Kind of handy having that extra storage don't you think? Google should at least give an option for larger storage on all of their devices! I don't mean SD card slots, but actual built-in storage! Wanna sell an 8 gig tablet to "casual" consumers for cheap? Fine, but at least have an option for larger storage and simply price the device higher (not much higher). 16 gigs max on the Nexus 7 is crap! Granted, at $250 it's the type of crap that doesn't smell too bad.
  • Huffington post and Nielsen have both said that roughly 80% of tablet primarily at home which means the overwhelming vast majority will be under a wifi umbrella, in which using the cloud will be 100% superior to having to store media locally on the device. The onboard storage is not there so you can watch all your 720p pirated media content, its to hold you over so you can have content (books/movies/videos/music/apps/games) on the device on the go until you get *gasp* back to wifi so you can STREAM CONTENT which is what the device is DESIGNED FOR. If you need a massive amount of space on the go you need to be looking at another damn tablet and quit complaining about this one because its not going to magically change. There is no need for anything larger than 16GB on this device, as Google isnt making money off content that isnt coming from the Play Store (read: whatever you have downloaded). This device is capable of quite a lot more but it is designed to highlight the Play Store and Google's Cloud Platform. This is also going to hopefully help with the barren wasteland that is the Play Market tablet app selection, as the low price will bring in a mountain of users which will in turn make developers get their butts in gear and make tablet apps, which will again in turn make other tablet devices not suck completely (and those higher storage capacity, higher costing tablets have failed immensely sales wise) Google doesnt need unnecessary SKUs sitting in warehouses and 32GB of flash memory aint cheap. If you need more storage, look at another device but this whining over that fact is getting old really fast. For 200 bucks im not going to cry on a message board because i cant load my entire music and video library on it.
  • OK I have to reply to this. First, I am tired of your assumption that EVERYONE that watches video or listens to music is pirating that media. This is bogus and has nothing to do with the sdcard debate. I also find it hard to believe you actually use the 'cloud' services in a real-world environment of travel involving planes, trains or automobiles. It is an excellent backup service but not reliably available for everyday use. There are people that simply want quick access to their data without having to worry if they have access to the Internet. Frankly, it is when I lose access to the Internet (14 hour plane ride anyone?) that I turn to my local media the most. Personally, I think Google is making a big mistake removing support for the SDCard and USB media, but that is based on my needs which is obviously not their target market. I can simply say that on my last 2 trips to the West coast, my phone (Galaxy Note II) was out of memory and my shiny new tablet (Nexus 10 32GB) was a paperweight. For the first time in over 2 years, I had to take out the Windows computer to watch a movie on a plane. For me, this is a show stopper and I suspect there are others in the same boat. Until something changes, Android anything has seen its last dollar from me.
  • AGREE. I used to live in NYC, and I completely understand the feeling. Now imagine if a solar flare burns out all the satellites and thus internet connection is gone for an indefinite time period. Will probably have greater things to worry about at that time, but still, all the cloud storage in the world will be rendered useless. No micro-SD is a deal breaker for me, for sure.
  • FYI Internet connections are not made from satellites, unless you are stranded in the Taliban region of Pakistan. That was how Osama bin Laden got his porn while in his cave plotting our demise, for instance. Keep that image. For us, WiFi is one interface to the wired Internet (Fios, Cable, DSL, POTS.) 'Wireless' only means there is a wireless router close enough to bridge the Wireless radio to the Fios or copper connection to the fiber backbone. That wireless router can be in your house or on a cell tower. The availability of that router is the point of this discussion of the limits of the Android Cloud-connected device. The tablet is not connected to cell phone service so no cell towers, nor has it a NIC, so it needs to connect via cell phone USB or Wireless tether, or wirelessly to a router. Is there USB support? I think not. So the tablet requires a cell phone with WiFi router software or hardware, or it requires a Wireless modem in a CyberCafe, or a pirated signal, or access to your home wireless router. Basically it is a beggar with its cup out, "Will work if you get me connected." The complaint started about its lack of storage and no SD, so that at least an owner could carry Media, the WHOLE POINT of a tablet. Android fans are a lot like Mac fans. Conceited and defensive about their lack of services. Sometimes you're the bug and sometimes you're the windshield. Android and Mac users get to be the bug most often, but it is an Exclusive, Elevated, Special Role they sign up for. And just how "exclusive" is the problem pointed out in this discussion.
  • And what's the percentage of users do you think do what you do?
  • The reason Google doesn't include an SD Card is clearly because it's their philosophy that the web should be your backup storage. After all, they offer a half dozen "cloud products" that do this kind of thing. And that's fine.. it's nice that Google Play Music can learn all of my ripped CDs and let me stream them anywhere. The problem is really once of comparison and economics. Google's not magically offering more storage in their tablet than anyone else.. in fact, usually the same or less. So that blows the "all the same kind of memory" argument out the door. It costs about a dollar to add an SD Card port to a device -- every ARM SOC had the SD interface built-in, you're basically taking about the connector (made in the billions, about $0.25 or less in volume) and a couple of pull-up resistors. And keep in mind, SD Card storage is the cheapest kind you can get. It's certainly cheaper per GB than just about anyone's offering for internal memory. Also super cheap in terms of power. And you're replacing it with the most expensive possible memory: the internet. It's 100x slower, it uses 1000x more power if you're on WiFi or 10,000x more power on cellular, and while you can convince a few companies like Google to give you a little of this kind of memory for free, if you need anything more than 5-10GB, you're going to be paying more to rent that space per year than you did for that 64GB microSD card... once. And the internet can't be used as primary memory: you can't capture a photo or video directly to it, you have to store that in local memory, then upload. And of course, if you're using cellular to upload, you'll blow out your monthly limit with the first 10 minutes of HD video being uploaded. Far as USB, last I checked, just about any Android tablet could hook up a USB memory stick via an "OTG" cable.
  • Don't rely so heavily on the cloud, it is after all simply water vapor, both metaphorically and literally in this case. All your data, Don't put all your weight on that water vapor hoping it will hold you, you'll fall through. It's that false sense of security that makes us believe that clouds are like beanbag chairs in our dream sequences, and a "secure" place to store our files in world of computers, that leads to tragic consequences.
  • Why do I envision you sitting in a small, smokey room wearing all black smoking thin cigarettes and snapping as each performer finishes? ;)
  • 6000 photos? You should get a tabl.. oh wait..
  • I love this!! You could not have said this any better!! I want the control. Besides once everyone is used to cloud storage, and that is the only choice left. What is to stop all of the freebies out there, offering free storage to start charging something for their service.
    I for one, want my sd or micro sd storage choice left alone!
  • So much storage??? My Gameloft folder alone takes up 8Gb of data on my 32Gb sdcard.
    My EA folder takes up about 6Gb. Random apps use about 5GB in the data folder. HTC Watch app uses about 3Gb. I won't even go into videos, camera shots, and a little music. Does this help with why someone would need so much storage?
  • Sure, but then they would need to buy a different tablet and not expect the $200 one to fulfill their high-end needs.
  • I was browsing this the other day and I wanted to counter: How often do you play each of the games in your EA or Gameloft folders? You're toting around literally 14gigs of information for the convenience of playing games you are likely to never play while on the bus or at the train station. And HTC Watch? You're caching locally? With 4g service in most major metro areas and 3g service speeds being sufficient to play music on the go, I can't imagine a situation where caching more than a few dozen songs or a single episode of television would be necessary. Anything more than that is simply being difficult for the sake of being difficult.
  • You are overlooking the fact that this tablet is not marketed towards people like this. This is an entry-level device for people who want a tablet to check email, browse the web, watch YouTube, etc. There's no point being upset that the N7 doesn't have more storage. They aren't marketing this to people who have usage patterns like yours. Personally, my SDCard on my phone looks a lot like yours, but I know this tablet isn't for me either. The truth of it is (as hard as it is to believe) that we're not the "average" user.
  • I for one, welcome the change. Between Spotify and Google Music, I still have an almost full 16GB SD card in my EVO. Internal storage is only about halfway gone. The cloud is the future! Embrace it!
  • I'm pretty much in the same boat. I have 32GB on my Gnex and I'm only using 11GB. Taking up this space is mostly my go to music that I listen to often. I figure I can reduce my data consumption a bit by doing so. However, the vast majority of my music is on Google Music and I have Spotify as an option for all the rest. I can completely understand why 8GB or 16GB aren't enough for some people, but it seemingly will work for me.
  • i would absolutely loveee to embrace google play music. but there are a couple reasons why i would rather use the stock music app. 1)the look and widget for the stock app is much MUCH nicer than google play musics. 2) google play music uses A LOAD OF DATA, not just a little. 3) i find when using google play music it plays the same songs very oftan instead of playing all the songs before repeating songs i have heard already. but some things i do enjoy about the google play music is that u can just press forward/pause from the notification pull down. pretty handy. and the saving of storage. and the 320 kbps.
  • When I can access the cloud everywhere I go (elevators, downtown, middle of nowhere, etc.) 100% reliably at decent speeds and with no data limits, I will gladly embrace the cloud, but not a damned second sooner. Anything less is a step down from what we have in existing SD technology. To not include it without a reasonable replacement is a horrible design decision at best.
  • I'm glad someone said it! I completely agree!
  • Having everything come from the cloud in realtime is sketchy, yes, given that wifi and 3g/4g isn't really everywhere. However, the reasonable replacement is to just buy a device with enough built-in storage to handle your needs. Are you really going to churn through 16GB of media in stints between connectivity? If so, the N7 probably isn't for you.
  • I regularly carry more than 80GB of media with me everywhere I go so that I have whatever I need to fit my mood or match whatever situation I find myself in (read a book, watch a movie, listen to music - with various genres of each). I can't always plan for situations, and even if I could, spending the time replacing content on my device is much more difficult and awkward than just swapping a card whenever I feel like it. You're right, the N7 isn't for me. I'm not a fan of that size, either, but that's just me. I'm getting a different tablet, and that's cool. But I still think the cost of putting in a card slot might have been worth the investment by resulting in a more flexible device, which results in more sales. Most importantly, however, I think it's a bad precedent to assume the cloud is a reasonable replacement for sd cards just yet. When the cloud meets my above criteria, sure, but not yet.
  • Yes. But this is a wifi-only tablet. I dont know about you, but I get pretty decent wireless speeds on every network I connect to. Enough to make Google Music, or any cloud based service for that matter, reliable. If you're using a wireless network with at least 25-30 mbps down, it really does become irrelevant whether you're using the cloud or expandable storage. I will state though, that it IS bad because only 4.6GB or something of that 8GB is usable out of the box. Since when does Android and a couple Apps take up 3GB of space?
  • I agree with you on the speed of wifi, and the cloud isn't an issue when that exists. However, as you pointed out, this is a wifi only device which makes it more important to have expandable storage. Since it is a wifi only device, you don't even have an option of using it on a mobile network (albiet slowely). Also, the 7" form factor is more portable than the 10" form factor, and more likely that people will want to carry it outside of the home so you'll want more content options which requires more storage. Personally, the sd slot isn't a major consideration for me, but I do think that 8gb's is too small for a non-expandable devices. 32gb would be a good option, and that isn't available. I could probably live with 16gb's.
  • well I disagree with when you are on WIFI that the cloud isn't a problem. If you have slow Internet access from your carrier, or traffic shaping from your carrier and your Internet access is less than say a few meg down, your 20 to 150m WIFI is useless. Slowest point in your setup is where the cloud fails. When carriers can give us all high speed all the time and with reliability, then I am with you. Until then, removable storage is a must. Thanks....bc
  • You have the "cloud" available about 95% of where you go daily. For the other 5% of the time, you have about ~13GB of storage. Is that 13GB of storage not enough for that few minutes a day you don't have connection? You're writing as if the phone has no internal storage.
  • The "cloud" is not available to me 95% of my day. My workplace does not allow private devices like these to connect to wifi, nor does it allow connection to cloud sites or anything other than web pages at all with work computers. I get by by using my phone (and wireless hotspot if I want to use my tablet), but there are a lot of dead spots in the building. I am fortunate that my current desk location gets a decent 4g signal, but I'm not always at my desk. And if I get moved, I could easily lose any personal net connection whatsoever. Using my phone, I lose reliable cloud connection at some point during almost any drive. And let me tell you, losing it when you can't do anything about it because you're driving is frustrating beyond belief. As for built in storage, you're right; it's there, and it's nice to have as a backup. But being limited to it for all road trips unless I want to just accept that I'll lose connection at some point, and have to swap out media based on that I think I'll feel like listening to every so often are not acceptable solutions to a problem that wouldn't exist if they put in a $5 part (ok, gross speculation there, but you get my point). So yep, no N7 for me. Cest la vie. As I said earlier, I wan't going to buy it for other reasons anyways. But I wonder how many sales were lost due to that one snag? And I seriously hope other manufacturers don't see Google's move in their devices as the new status quo and leave sd slots out of their devices.
  • You are at work though... shouldn't need access to your media anyway.
  • Ha!
  • They put all those restrictions in effect for a reason. You're at work. You're supposed to be doing your job, not playing around with your phone and/or tablet.
  • Very well said! The article provides a nice explanation but it I believe it was the wrong design choice. ...Joe K.
  • I 100% agree. Data access is NOT everywhere as much as Cell/Cable companies want you to believe. Tiered Data plans make streaming expensive, and if you are not in the best coverage area, it can have a high lag. My drive time to and from work alone frequently exceeds 1 hour with multiple data dead zones on AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile (never tried sprint, but their coverage in my area is from what I hear from friends that have sprint, they are the worst of them all).
  • Try using that "cloud" to play your music or videos when you're on a transpacific flight for 15 hours.
  • and I guarantee you never use 50gigs of that.
  • Yes, great, good. But why not make the lowest stock version of the Nexus 16gb and the higher version to 32gb. Surely they could have crammed that in there without a big increase in costs, right?
  • Not while maintaining the $200 price point. That was clearly a huge motivation for Google.
  • No reason not to offer a 32Gb $300 model. If I remember right, 32Gb WiFi is the best selling (or second best selling) iPad out there.
  • Couldn't agree more with you on that point. 8-16GB is low for a high-end phone, in my opinion, and it's a possible dealbreaker for a tablet.
  • There is no real reason to push a 32GB $300 model. This is a Nexus device - a developer's platform, first and foremost. Google knows this device doesn't need to be all things to all people - it needs to be a platform to show what can be done on a small-scale tablet.
  • One thing to keep in mind is that you have never seen a mass produced device marketed as a "developer" device. Good way to scare away people. I'm sorry but removable media is a God send for a "developer" or "crack flasher". Can only get your phone or tablet to recovery/splash/boot animation screen? Well instead of fighting with trying to ADB push one file at a time in recovery, you can pull the SD card and drag and drop. Next best thing to removable media is MORE space. So Im not infringing on my user space while loading up ROM Zips. I understand google's reasoning but my Xoom seems to handle it fine.
  • Well the 16GB model already surpassed the $200 price point.
  • Not just because of the lower entry point but because of the nice price increment it can demand for the extra 16 GB storage space. That's much larger than the price difference between a 16 and 32 GB microSD card we could buy ourselves. So I think this was a marketing decision, not an engineering one.
  • My thought exactly. I'm fine with that line of reasoning, but at least offer me the option of buying a 32GB or 64GB model.
  • You have to remember cost and space requirements. NAND memory is still not "cheap", even if the chip prices have come down a bit in recent years. And the cost goes up exponentially as the chip capacity gets higher. Either way, this tablet is intended to have WiFi access, so they figure you won't *need* a bunch of internal storage, because you'll be mostly streaming content. I'm guessing that was the though process behind deciding to go with the smaller amount of storage: need vs cost. They were specifically looking to make this thing affordable.
  • There are 2 reasons it's unavilable in a 32 nor 6