Opinion – Is microSD dead?
With more and more smartphones and tablets dropping expandable storage, the trusty microSD card could very well be going the way of the Dodo. Resident Stuffers Paddy Smith and Esat Dedezade fight out its future in the Stuff debate arena.
Es: microSD is dying. It got the sniffles after being shunned by the iPhone, and now it's bedridden, counting down its last days and cursing the cloud with each rattling breath. Its former Android supporters have abandoned it in droves, with HTC and Google both omitting expandable storage from their flagship products, the Droid DNA and Nexus 4. The cloud is the future, they tell us, but I don't think we're ready for it.
Paddy: The cloud isn't the future – it's the present: we keep our photos on Facebook, stream music and movies, and share files online. Good riddance to microSD and the poorly designed slot it rode into town on. You sound like the guy who won't buy a MacBook because it doesn't have a DVD drive. You'd rather have a USB thumb drive than a Dropbox account. Physical media apologists are an anachronism in the connected world, and the sooner they accept the future we're already living in – as Google and HTC have already seen fit to do – the better.
Es: Thumb drives and SD cards aren't thwarted by the mere sight of a train tunnel however. Don't get me wrong – I look forward to streaming music and movies instantly from the great hard drive in the sky without dreaded buffering pauses and data cap worries, but that day has yet to arrive. The UK has only just dipped its toes into untested 4G waters and there are no unlimited 4G data plans on offer. Streaming a full HD movie to my Samsung Galaxy S4's 1080p screen will chew through more data than Skynet on steroids. It's just not practical. Yet.
Paddy: You're right. Plus when you're in the tunnel, it'll be much easier to read the message on screen telling you your microSD is wrongly formatted or corrupted. I do see the sense in local storage, but with most apps offering offline buffering or downloads, I don't see why you need more than 32GB of the stuff. If you do, buy a phone that offers more storage out of the box, rather than one with a horrible rubber microSD hatchway or a slot buried under the battery. Great design should look to the future. And that's what Apple, HTC and Google are doing.
Es: I agree that 32GB is plenty for most users, including myself. It's just a shame that phones like the Nexus 4 don't come in 32GB flavours at this time – and this is something that needs to change, fast. Manufacturers should ease the transition by releasing more phones with 32/64GB of storage instead of abruptly cutting down our options in one fell swoop. That'll give the cloud and 4G networks a little more time to shape up, by which point the only thing I'll be complaining about is my battery life. But that's another matter altogether…