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5 Reasons Why Companies Are Forgoing MicroSD Card Slots




Ah, the microSD card slot. For some it’s a mere feature that they can live without, but for some users, especially the self-proclaimed “power users”, they consider it as a major deal-breaker if a newly-announced flagship smartphone doesn’t have one.

yugatech microsd card

But whether you mind not having an option to expand your storage or not, have you ever got curious as to why companies are omitting this feature, even on their respective hero devices? We did, so we thought of listing down all the possible reasons we can think of as to why more and more brands are jumping in to the No-MicroSD-Card-Slot bandwagon.

Poor Performance

A system is only as fast as its slowest component. Considering that a microSD card is an external component and comes in different classes, it is often considered as a performance bottleneck and sometimes the main cause of lag and crashes on the device.

If you are a tech-savvy user, you’ve probably invested on a good Class-10 microSD card to complement your smartphone. Sadly not everyone has the same mindset as you do, and most users often just go for the cheapest card they can find and blindly slap that to their device which more oftentimes does more harm than good.

microsd card slot

Yes they benefit from having extra headroom for storing their files, but this sometimes comes at the cost of occasional sluggishness and, worse, crashes. Do users blame their crappy microSD card for that? Of course not, they often put the blame on their pricey smartphone and rant about it on their social media.

But since companies have no control which brand and class of microSD card the consumer will use on their brand-spanking-new device, they’d rather take that out of the equation rather than risk of getting ridiculed for having a sluggish device.

Power Consumption

The power consumption of microSD cards is not widely-publicized since it takes less toll on your smartphone’s juice compared to other components, and probably the least of your concerns when it comes to battery life.

microsd slot

That doesn’t change the fact though that like any components, microSD cards require power to operate. During idle/standby, the power consumption is so insignificant (0.2mA) that most people won’t even notice it. However, these seemingly harmless storage solutions can consume as much as 100mA during transfers which can definitely take its toll on the battery life.

And since battery life has always been an issue with smartphones, brands would love to have one less component to worry about.

Design

In the past, we’ve listed down the thinnest smartphones in the market, and we noticed something that all of them had in common – all of them have a non-expandable internal storage.

oppo r5

Taking out the microSD card allows manufacturers to trim the thickness of their smartphones down. I’ve personally been against thinner smartphones (see my thoughts about it here), but there’s a market for slimmer smartphones and brands love to talk about how thin their new flagship compared to the previous one.

Compared to the two previous reasons, we think that we can file this one under the BS category as it’s not really justifiable to remove storage expansion for thinner design.

Lesser Production Cost

Since we’re in the topic of manufacturing, another possible reason for the omission of microSD card slots on smartphones is lower down the cost of production.

Personally, I don’t have any qualms about this, especially if it will benefit the consumers as far as pricing go. But as it is, brands are still asking for more or less the same price for the current model.

Therefore, any savings the companies got by removing the microSD card slot on their new devices, didn’t really translate to a decrease in price of these premium smartphones.

Cloud as the proverbial storage solution

As the old adage goes, “necessity is the mother of all invention”. There is indeed a need for more storage space to store all the senseless selfies that users have, but cloud storage providers have still not made a huge mark in the industry primarily because of existing storage solutions like the MicroSD card.

google-drive

So by removing the MicroSD card slot, it will be easier for cloud storage providers (some of which are also the device manufacturer) to market their product to consumers. In essence, users are stuck with whatever storage they have on their device or pay for a monthly fee to enroll for a cloud storage.

Very nice business model, eh?

Final thoughts…

Of all the features of a smartphone, you would think that a MicroSD card would be at the bottom of the list of smartphone “must-haves”. But judging by the people’s reaction to the launch of both the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+, it seems that we’ve perhaps slightly underestimated the importance of this seemingly mundane feature.

Only time will tell if the omission of MicroSD card slot is just going to be a one-off thing or it will become a standard for future premium smartphones. For now we’ll leave you with a query: is the lack of memory expansion slot really that big of a deal when it comes to flagship smartphones?

Share your thoughts on the comments field below.



This article was written by Ronnie Bulaong, a special features contributor and correspondent for YugaTech. Follow him on Twitter @turonbulaong.

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41 Responses

  1. pauline says:

    but for this time, micro sd card slots is important, well unless they give us a 128gb model or 64gb at least

  2. eZMe says:

    cloud storage is useful for storing files only, not apps and if a user have a good internet connection,
    depends on the user if they really need a lot of storage for their phone,

  3. Anonymous says:

    How about possible use of portable external wireless storage?

  4. John says:

    BS. They are removing micrSD Cards so that they can charge more for “bigger storage” phones.

  5. Nemo says:

    The micro SD is what makes Android phone better than iphones. But recently you couldn’t download directly to the micro SD

  6. Marcus says:

    I’m good with the no-external-memory direction, but I’d love to see the cost of additional internal memory be cut down to a more reasonable cost. This is one of the reasons why most people still go for SD cards. A 32GB memory costs just P600 for microSD, compared to P4k for internal.

  7. Great article. Loved the bit about battery life and sluggishness. Most users definitely do not know that.

  8. rabbitkun says:

    it’s definitely a deal breaker (that’s why I didn’t opt to current nexus devices cause of the lack of it), even if you can’t install apps on it, it’s a great way to store media. Cloud storage still has a long way to go, first you need a good connection to enjoy it, second data caps, damn these telcos putting data caps on an already slow mobile internet, third it eats way more battery than a microsd cause you always have to be connected on the net.

  9. Syntax says:

    Thank god that Microsoft has patent for MicroSD card. Every Lumia has MicroSD card slot upto 128GB even the lowest hardware.

    That’s why Samsung creates WP for MS just to decrease production cost for expandable storage.

    But the problem is that some companies releases phones with 16GB internal storage (I’m looking at you, Chinese phones like Xiaomi) and rarely we see them release 64GB at other countries.

  10. Malevolent Discontent says:

    Here’s the thing, you make good valid arguments about taking out the microSD card for optimum performance of the device but you seem to fail to acknowledge the need of consumers for higher capacity storage which is why people are bitching about the lack of expandable memory. If Samsung provided more than adequate memory storage (128Gb currently seems to be a comfortable size without freaking out for space) instead of jamming down consumers throats an obviously inadequate 16Gb or 32Gb (which is so 2012) for premium devices, people wouldn’t freak out.

    Oh you can also argue about the “Cloud Storage”, but seriously??? Have companies established the reliability of cloud storage? How secure really are data being stored in there (remember the #fappening? Where iPhone cloud storage of famous people got hacked and leaked). Does that boost any confidence at all? I think not. Add to that horrible speed of Internet in this country. How would using cloud be ever be so practical when when the Internet connection is the slowest and very unreliable.

    So yeah, we’ll bitch about our expandable memory and removable battery, thank you very much.

  11. RED King says:

    okay sana ung cloud storage.. but that only applies to certain countries na malalakas ang internet. well in our case its not that really a solution, heck we got a very crappy internet connection here..

  12. Melvs says:

    If you’re picture, video and selfie addict, micro sd is a necessity. Period! I’m not a selfie addict though, but this important to me.

  13. Alsumer says:

    It’s not a big deal for me as long as i can have a 64 GB internal storage.

  14. rc_kunoichi says:

    They’re going for no microSD cards, to make more money by putting a premium price on the higher storage. It’s for greed not for much anything else.
    Like what apple does. microSD cards can give you extra space for less money, but if the phone manufacturers forcibly dont give you that freedom, they can charge you as high as apple does for the space.

  15. klky says:

    sa battery life lang ako mejo naniniwala the rest marketing strat nlng yan

  16. timmy d. says:

    Last week i went out of town without bringing any media with me like music and movies. I relied so much with my netflix, hulu, spotify and just subscribed iflix. I’ll be using my phone’s microSD storage solely for taking photos and video of my trip when i arrived at Legazpi mobile data wasn’t that good. It was so slow. I said its okay we have wifi in the hotel. Lo and behold wifi is also slow. I was stuck watching cable in the evening. So relying everything over the cloud is a big mistake I made. Considering the crap service telco is giving us for mobile data here in the Philippines and capped unlimited plans. Its not really feasible here in our country. Sure in my office in BGC I can stream all I want because there’s LTE but in other parts of the metro mobile data is intermittent as before. Only key cities here have good coverage.

    And whats with the BIG Google Drive banner I saw? this article is more of a click bait title for me.
    the reason why they’re removing SD slots is that they can charge $$$$ more to double and even triple the storage. I remember an HTC windows phone with a hidden microSD slot inside for its internal memory. In my opinion, having a microSD slot has more freedom compared to a phone without one.

  17. Roch says:

    I guess it does depend on the user but for me the songs in my phone already consume 10gb+ of storage and i dont have internet data to go spotify or whatever. 16gb is not enough and 32gb can barely handle if i have apps, pictures and videos in my phone. So it sucks without expandable storage.

  18. timmy d. says:

    click bait article.

  19. timmy d. says:

    I think the author is not here from the Philippines. try relying on cloud storage with our telco’s data plans.. good luck

  20. FiatLux says:

    Incoming wall of text:

    I really care about microSDs. No kidding.

    For poor performance:
    I agree that microSDs are slower than flash memory. And for this reason, I don’t prefer putting apps to the microSD storage. (Even then, I didn’t put too many software into the storage.)
    But I haven’t experienced any issues while loading files, such as music, videos, pictures, etc. The slow, yet reliable and versatile, turtle does my job well and it’s faster than floppy disks.

    For poor battery life:
    I agree. But really, the CPU and GPU, under load, draws more power than the storage itself. The display itself, when full brightness, draws even more. That’s why I don’t have to worry. Even 100mA doesn’t ruin my music sessions and watching movies. (And that’s why I prefer more mAh instead.)

    I agree that it’s not really justifiable to remove storage expansion for thinner design.
    At least Vivo has put memory expansion on a way thinner design with the X5 Max’s 4.75 mm body. Because Vivo does what Oppodon’t. (Sorry, Sega.)

    Also, I can’t really trust the reliability of cloud storage as much. The comments really tell it right.
    Even the “possible use of portable external wireless storage” thing.

    Also my reasons why I really need a microSD:

    1. Pictures. Soo many pictures and videos. Especially when I have to store my RAW files into it.
    2. More storage for files like music and videos. (And some custom ROMs.)
    3. Easy to transfer files into another phone without even using the PC.
    4. Cheaper to expand my storage without spending too much money.

    There. That’s why I care about a microSD. It may not be your idea or opinion, but I won’t judge.

  21. FiatLux says:

    Incoming wall of text:

    I really care about microSDs. No kidding.

    For poor performance:
    I agree that microSDs are slower than flash memory. And for this reason, I don’t prefer putting apps to the microSD storage. (Even then, I didn’t put too many software into the storage.)
    But I haven’t experienced any issues while loading files, such as music, videos, pictures, etc. The slow, yet reliable and versatile, turtle does my job well and it’s faster than floppy disks.

    For poor battery life:
    I agree. But really, the CPU and GPU, under load, draws more power than the storage itself. The display itself, when full brightness, draws even more. That’s why I don’t have to worry. Even 100mA doesn’t ruin my music sessions and watching movies. (And that’s why I prefer more mAh instead.)

    I agree that it’s not really justifiable to remove storage expansion for thinner design.
    At least Vivo has put memory expansion on a way thinner design with the X5 Max’s 4.75 mm body. Because Vivo does what Oppodon’t. (Sorry, Sega.)

    Also, I can’t really trust the reliability of cloud storage as much. The comments really tells it right.
    Even the “possible use of portable external wireless storage” thing.

    Also my reasons why I really need a microSD:

    1. Pictures. Especially when I have to store my RAW files into it.
    2. More storage for files like music and videos. (And some custom ROMs.)
    3. Easy to transfer files into another phone without even using the PC.
    4. Cheaper to expand my storage without spending too much money.

    There. That’s why I care about a microSD. It may not be your idea or opinion, but I won’t judge.

  22. FiatLux says:

    Oops…..
    I apologise for a posting issue. I haven’t even send it too much. My bad….

  23. Bert says:

    Not if you have at least 32GB of internal storage

  24. samsuck says:

    and yet those dslr’s you wear around your neck seems to have little to no problem in using the cards that you say are no longer reliable..

    your title said companies and not just smartphone companies.. so you assumed that everyone wants to ditch expandable memory now? good try in calling out the “power users”.. makes you look like a noob even more..

  25. Jabon Eros says:

    I totally agree on having a phone without additional components that will add overhead to the battery and performance. But releasing a new phone, and some labelled “flagship” at that, with only 16GB internal storage is adding insult to injury.
    Also cloud storage is fine, if only our local mobile connections offered more consistent and reliable 4G speeds, wouldn’t you say? ;-)

  26. Jabon Eros says:

    One more thing, it would be cool if the phone manufacturers who forego microsd cards provide their customers an easy-to-use, non-techy, for dummies wireless file transfer app (using wifi-direct) that would work across OS platforms – in Windows, Linux, and Mac, iOS, and Android.

  27. Jabon Eros says:

    And while they’re at it, why not remove the SIM card as well? It’s about time our globe/smart/etc. subscriptions – postpaid or prepaid – embrace the cloud!

  28. Music says:

    Great article! One of the best i’ve ever read in yugatech.

  29. archie says:

    Pera-pera lang yan. Nainggit ang samsung sa business structure ng apple kaya ginaya nila. May hardcore followers kasi ang apple kaya nagagawa nilang gipitin ang fanboys na bumili ng mas malaki ang storage sa mas mataas na halaga. Sham science lang yung nakakabagal ang micro sd para majustify yung marketing moves. Pero agree ako na nakakabagal ang micro sd kung substandard ang quality ng micro sd nas nabili. Payat ang 16gb para sa phone ngayon na walang sd slot dahil eventually kakainin ng app at system updates ang storage ng phone.

  30. Pier says:

    Highly doubt it. Android M is encouraging users to flag the SD card as part of their internal storage. Magkasalungat ang vision ng Google at Samsung sa future smartphone flagships.

  31. aimglobalnet says:

    as of now micro-sd cards in class 10 is affordable already compared to a phone with higher capacity like 64GB which the cost is very expensive. Class 10 of 32GB is less than a thousand pesos and 64GB around a thousand five.. plus partner it with a high end phone cost 9K so it will be more or less 13K. so why go for 20K plus..

  32. RaGe says:

    what if for some unavoidable reasons masira yung phone? can you still recover those files? kasi naranasan ko na sya at ang sakit mawalan ng files lalo na kung di ka nakabackup…

    at regarding backup, most of the time nasa labas ako, out of town minsan
    dito sa Pilipinas, pag nasa remote area ka, maswerte ka na kung may signal for call and SMS

    I don’t think feasible ang cloud storage.

    And I have trust issues with cloud services, no matter how secure they advertise it, they.can.still.be.hacked.

  33. gx3k says:

    You missed the security aspect of using removable SD cards. Even if you have locked your phone, thieves can still open your files by simply taking out your SD card and putting it in another device. You may encrypt the SD card but I don’t know anyone who goes that.

  34. Dante Malla says:

    Why not manufacturers sell their phones packed with a trusted micro SD? That will encourage SD manufacturers to raise the quality of their products.

  35. If the alternative to having a extra physical storage is a cloud storage service like Google Drive, it is not really applicable here in the Philippines since not all areas have internet connectivity and our mobile data connections are not that reliable. The advantage of having a separate storage like MicroSD cards is for safeguarding some of your important files away from the device. That’s the main reason why I never liked the iPhone which I still have concerns for the battery life and the lack capability to have extended storage.

  36. Jojo Daisog says:

    great article,pero dapat may binaggit na solution para sa mga smartphones na maliit ang storage at walagn slot ng microSD…my 32Gb ako na smartphone at walang microSD slot,ang ginawa ko ay bumili ako ng 64GB na OTG sandisk brand, no hassle kahit nasaan pa ako! #solution

    • pj says:

      Same goes here tama ang solution mo ganyan din gngwa ko and USB 3.0 pa super bilis and 32gb so enough n 32gb din kc ung s cp ko so ok n ok na pero kaya pa ng 64gb un kung big files tlga ang files mo

  37. pj says:

    You can always have an OTG device for your big files, works well with my lavishly handsome S6 hahaha ????????…. well that’s the trend so if you can’t change it then work with it.. change is beginning of progress (sorry if I mispell some words I’m Dyslexic)

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