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Latest mobile news: expandable storage for all smartphones

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Latest news: More smartphones without expandable storage – how expandable storage can shortly be available for all smartphones


The most popular smartphones are not providing consumers with a choice around storage and memory. MicroSD card slots are disappearing and expandable storage is not being offered as an option for customizing your experience.

The latest news from Apple is about the arrival of another iPhone with 16GB of non-expandable memory. 16GB is not a lot, especially when you get even less than the space advertised.  The alternative is paying $100 for the privilege of a 64GB version.


The beautiful iPhone SE with only 16GB memory and no expandable storage

As a result “iPhone storage full” or “memory full” are not uncommon issues.  The huge number of Google searches on “how to free up space on iPhone”, or ”iPhone memory full” are an indicator that this is a problem for many people.

It has been the trend (up until some recent announcements )  not to offer expandable storage in popular smartphones.  Cloud storage is not the answer. Bringing expandable storage to all smartphones is an ambitious but realistic solution. It’s made possible by modular phone technology!


Expandable storage has been disappearing from smartphones



Apple has never offered expandable storage, but now others are following their lead. Some of the reasons shared for removing MicroSD cards are around quality and promoting cloud services such as iCloud storage. Here is an article from ZDnet about the real reason microSD cards are disappearing from smartphones.

But the reality is when you can charge $100 more for the next level up of internal fixed memory there is not much incentive to offer consumers a choice. Samsung changed its approach for the S7, but the Samsung Galaxy S6  had three options at different prices – the 32GB, 64GB and  128GB. The price difference was because of smartphone memory – not manufacturing cost.

So the trend, up until very recently, has been to remove microSD cards from smartphones and only provide fixed internal storage. However, requirements for more memory are clearly going up. All of us are downloading more and taking more and more photos and video. Take as an example the current iPhone camera offering from 8 megapixels (mp) to 12mp cameras, up to 63 mp panoramas, and up to 1080p 60fps or 4k 30fps video. This could make your iPhone storage full very quickly.

It’s also worth pointing out that one of the little secrets smartphone manufacturers will not tell you  is that you will never get the storage  space that it says on the box – see how much free storage does your smatphone really have.


Something Apple has been legally pursued about.


Cloud is not the answer

Smartphone manufacturers justify lack of a memory slot saying cloud storage such as Dropbox, Google Drive or iCloud storage are the answer.


Many cloud services are now available to smartphone users

This is not the nirvana it seems:

1. You will not always be able to access your files on the cloud

While “cloud” is advertised as being accessible wherever you are, this is not true! It depends on your connection No internet connection, no access to those files, photos, etc.. Networks are not always stable or available, so you cannot always access what you want when you need.  For those that travel  roaming and data costs discourage access. Local storage complements cloud for those moments you are away from wi-fi/data coverage.

2. Cloud raises questions around privacy and control of information

Cloud security is a real concern for many.  There are continual reminders in the news of hacks and security data breaches. The reality is you should not rely on cloud storage for everything.  Data saved on microSD card can be 100% private.  In order to have true security for files, it may be best to not have them in the cloud.

3. MicroSD cards are cost effective

Although cloud storage is not expensive and there are many options out there, if you buy a MicroSD card you only pay once for something you can use for a long time. Cloud storage has free tiers and is getting cheaper – e.g. Apple’s cheaper iCloud storage plans. However, you then need to pay annually for higher levels of storage and do not forget the hidden cost of data whenever you access your files!


Consumers want the choice

Forums and blogs abound with  comments about the need for expandable storage. I pulled out a few below that are relatively representative of what a lot of people are saying:

“The expandable storage is pretty much a necessity for me. Internal storage doesn’t hack it, I use my phone for too many things.”

“I do like expandable storage though, especially considering we are storing larger and larger files and built in storage space isn’t growing to cater for it. …The other problem is increasing built in storage seems to cost so much.”

A typical forum on importance of expandable storage in smartphones is here.

The consumer demand for expandable storage was all over the Internet when the Galaxy S6 and Notes were announced without micro sd.


Modular is the way to offer expandable storage for all smartphones

Each smartphone manufacturer will make their own choice about where to go with expandable memory.  Whether they listen to consumer demand is to be seen.  But that is where modular solutions need to be available to ensure consumers can choose.  Expandable memory is an important feature you can customize your smartphone to your needs.  Ideally consumers should be able to increase  phone memory by any increment, they choose 8GB, 16GB, 32GB. Alongside the current options of paying $100 more for memory phone or cloud services.

If you need expandable storage for your smartphone you should be able to add expandable memory. That is what is driving the philosophy behind i-BLADES’ modular approach to mobile offerings.  Providing modular phone solutions to consumer pain points and giving them the option to customize their smartphone experience to their needs.

The i-BLADES Smartcase now comes with microSD slot and in built memory for privacy and security – iPhone models coming.  So you can clip on or plug in a Smartblade that will  let you  add an additional sd card slot for your phone regardless of whether you have one as standard.  This benefits storage but also exchanging and viewing of miscroSD cards from other devices like cameras, Go Pros etc.

That is why modular phone technology is cool. It puts choice in the hands of the consumer.  Check out the i-BLADES smartcase  Let us know your thoughts about the expandable memory debate.

So, when you are faced with the issue of how to get more storage on your iPhone or your Samsung or your iPhone storage is full …. watch this space. Sign up below to find out when more models are coming.

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  • Tom Koonce says:

    Interesting concept. I’ve heard Mophie did something for the iPhone 5/s. I am curious to see if it can be done for the iPhone 6s for external storage and how that comes about. I will be interested if concept comes true for storing my entire collection into a case on the phone rather than relying on cloud storage.

    • Dominic Neil-Dwyer says:

      Tom. Exactly the reason we have designed it to enable local storage rather than being forced to cloud for everything. So should be right for you. We are sending first units out end of May for Galaxy S6 and in parallel working on other models. Stay up to date by signing up to our updates and we will let you know when iPhone 6s is available. Thanks for taking the time to read the blog and comment. When you say collection. Do you mean music collection?

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