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Matias Duarte Talks Tablet UI in Jelly Bean, Lack of SD Card Slots in Nexus Devices

Yesterday afternoon, Matias Duarte – the UX master of Android – took to Google+ to field your questions on all things Nexus and Jelly Bean. A number of people responded, prompting Duarte to answer two questions thus far. He tackled the idea of the new tablet UI in Jelly Bean, plus the lack of SD card slots in Nexus devices. 

I’ve copied and pasted his entire responses, as to not diminish or miss any point that he was trying to get across. The first one has to do with the tablet UI that has confused some after seeing the Nexus 10. As you know, it looks like a stretched out version of the phone and Nexus 7 UI, something that was done on purpose.

Why did you make the system buttons and status bar consistent across all devices in Jelly Bean?

Consistency and usability are really important to us, and that’s something we strive to improve in every new version of Android. With Honeycomb we first introduced the idea of a completely onscreen navigation UI which gave us unprecedented flexibility in how that UI adapts and transforms – both when you turn the device in your hands and when the software changes and has different control needs. Now in Jelly Bean we’ve made the universal software navigation buttons and system bar consistent across all screen sizes.

This new configuration is based on usability research we did on all of the different form factors and screen sizes that Android runs on. What mattered most of all was muscle memory – keeping the buttons where you expect them, no matter how you hold the device.

Phones are almost always used in portrait mode, flip sideways occasionally, and never go upside down. As screen sizes get larger though, any which way goes. Imagine the frustration you’d feel if every time you picked up a tablet off the table ‘the wrong way up’ you found yourself reaching for a home button that wasn’t where you expect it to be? That irritation adds up and over time like a tiny grain of sand in your shoe and undermines the rest of your experience.

The Jelly Bean system bar always keeps the same 3 buttons where you expect them. This happens dynamically for every screen size, up until you get to small handheld screens where stacking the bars in landscape mode would leave too little vertical space.

The second thing we discovered was that there are almost as many different ways of holding our devices as there are people. In fact people love to use their Nexus so much that they use them for such long periods of time that having a single ‘correct grip’ is actually counter productive and increases hand strain. The Jelly Bean navigation buttons work equally well for left handers and right handers, one handed use, or two handed use, and for devices you’re carrying, resting on your knee, or putting on the table.

Last but not least, by unifying the design we are now able to put Notifications and Quick Settings right where you’d expect them, and only one swipe away.

The second question he answered had to do with SD card slots. As you know from previous Android team talks, Nexus phones haven’t had SD card slots in some time. While there are technical reasons for doing so, Matias puts reasoning squarely on user experience. If you add in an SD card slot, you potentially make it confusing.

Why don’t Nexus devices have SD cards?

Everybody likes the idea of having an SD card, but in reality it’s just confusing for users.

If you’re saving photos, videos or music, where does it go? Is it on your phone? Or on your card? Should there be a setting? Prompt everytime? What happens to the experience when you swap out the card? It’s just too complicated.

We take a different approach. Your Nexus has a fixed amount of space and your apps just seamlessly use it for you without you ever having to worry about files or volumes or any of that techy nonsense left over from the paleolithic era of computing.

With a Nexus you know exactly how much storage you get upfront and you can decide what’s the right size for you. That’s simple and good for users.

And there you have it. There is a chance that he continues to answer questions, so feel free to check out the Google+ thread we have linked to below.

In the mean time, I would love to hear your thoughts on these two subjects.

Via:  +Matias Duarte

Cheers Kane!

  • Kevin

    I agree that it’s slightly confusing to figure out what is what when dealing with a SD card. I think that Android could make it easier though. I think that high end devices should come with the slot available for people who want to use one, especially since they’re cutting the storage so much. I use my phone as a flash drive, and I have friends who use it as a media player. I’m happy with my 32GB Gnex, but I think that 8GB is too small and 16 is pushing it.

    • brando56894

      I totally agree with you. In my Rezound I have 48 GB worth of storage (16 GB internal and 32 GB MicroSD), most of which goes to storing music (about 25 GB). When I bought the Nexus 7 I got the 8 GB namely because the 16 GB wasn’t readily available (I bought it in August) and I figured 8 GB would suffice since I wouldn’t be storing any music on it (since I always have my phone where ever I bring my tablet) nor would I be storing any movies on it, boy was I wrong! I learned to live with 8 GB (I’m selling it to pick up the 32 GB either today or tomorrow) but when you actually only have about 5.5 GB accessible to the user it starts to suck. After downloading a few HD games, a few magazine issues and a TWRP backup I only had a few hundred MB to spare.

      I’d be completely happy with only having internal storage, just as long as there’s a good amount of it, like 32+ GB.

  • Stoker

    That response wrt SD storage might be the most feeble spin attempt I’ve ever seen from Google. Confusing? Really? For Android/Nexus users? LOL.

    It’s pretty clear it’s an attempt to enforce Google’s cloud data model in hardware. For the tablets which are media consumption devices at their core it a particularly egregious restriction.

  • joejoe5709

    Ok I whole heartedly agree with the unified UI. This was the whole point of ICS and therefore JB. Honeycomb was the beginning. It was the experiment. ICS/JB is the culmination and the refinement of that experiment. Not only that, I gotta think that this will enable tablet apps to be quickly developed. Now for the SD card topic: I think Google is wrong. I think they should give us the choice. I honestly think it’s all about money. They can get $100 more for a 16GB rather than an 8GB model. If we were allowed SD cards, a lot less people would buy the 16GB model. It might be confusing to 20-30% of Android users. The rest won’t have a problem with an SD card. I hope this isn’t the beginning of Google becoming the new Apple. I love Android, but I’ll jump ship if they want to limit our choices like that. That said, my GNex doesn’t have an SD card and I do just fine. As long as I have a micro USB nearby, I’m good. But the expandable storage would be pretty nice…

  • Buckoman

    I’m sorry, but i wholeheartedly disagree with the SD card thing. If you have an SD card, just set it to save things to the SD card. If you have no idea what you’re doing, don’t use an SD card at all, but I change phones a lot and popping a new SD card in is a lot simpler than transferring everything to my computer through MTP, then putting it back on the new phone. That’s WHY Android has options like an SD card. It just seems stupid to regress into something you were trying to get away from.

    You think SD cards are confusing? Don’t bundle one with the Nexus phones, but at least give us the option. What if I want Shadowgun, Asphalt, Nova 1-3, and Dead Space on my phone paired with my 3GB of music I want to bring on my plane ride because that’s how I roll? It’s literally a major key piece of what set Android phones apart from the locked down storage environment of Apple, where the only excuse was “delete it” if you don’t have space. And now we go from 16/32GB options to 8/16GB without the inclusion of SD or LTE. Is Google now relying on GSM?, because I’m pretty sure Verizon and Sprint aren’t switching any time soon.

    And a non-removable battery? What happened to the “iDon’t, Droid Does” mentality? I don’t want to send my phone back if all that’s not working right is the battery.

    I mean, I’m Android all the way, I’ve supported it from the beginning for the same type of ideology that Google’s now… moving… away from?

    Come on, Google. Think about it.

  • I can live without an SD card, as long the device has sufficient on-board memory. A smartphone these days with only 8 GBs of memory is almost laughable. Yeah, yeah…I get the whole “cloud” thing, but last I checked, apps still live on the phone, and many of them take up considerable memory. If Google decided to move the Nexus 7 to 16GB and 32GB options, it makes no sense why they wouldn’t do the same for the phone. Unless, they are going to sucker people like the did with the Nexus 7, and sell a 16GB Nexus 4 for the same price just a few months after launch.

    • Barring clear cases of trolling, I wish that people who decide to vote down a [substantive] comment would at least take a minute to explain what they disagreed with. It appears that a lot of people are just content with down voting any commenter that doesn’t agree with their view of things.

  • What if you were to drop you phone in a liquid and totally ruin it limiting you from pulling any data off of it (or smash it accidentally)…. If you have an SD card in it you can pull it out and save all of your pictures that have not been backed up. An SD card will live through a whole lot more. Also, with devices being able to take HD video you are going to need the extra space of the SD card. I will not buy a phone without an SD card or LTE, for that matter a removable battery is also a strong point for me as i can replace it with an extended battery and boom, 1+ days of heavy use battery life (if rooted and not on stock rom)

  • mjmedstarved


  • ArrTooDeeToo

    Dang, ol’ Matty is getting hammered over there. A few people are like “Derp, yay guuugle!” while the hard core Android users are tearing him a new one. Wake up, Google!

  • Pegleg

    Insane decision by Google! Nothing like dumbing down your customers and your devices!!!!

  • Omitting the SD card on the tablets is a mistake because it prevents users from easily importing & consolidating their files from peripheral devices like digital cameras or memory cards with important files. If Google wants all your files in the cloud, they should be providing every means possible of letting them there; otherwise, this limitation speaks of a lack of confidence (or desire) in encouraging tablets as anything more than consumption devices. It’s either a shortsighted move or disingenuous of you, Matias.

  • CodeToJoy

    I’m okay with no SD card, but not having a 32GB option is kinda a bummer to me. I’m pushing 12GB used on my Nexus… and that’s with no Nandroid or Titanium backups on it at this time.

  • I might be the minority, but I do find the absence of a SD card slot to be a good thing if it’ll simplify things and keep costs to a minimum. I find myself using cloud storage everyday and stream music on wifi, and what place doesn’t have free wifi? At this rate, nearly all stores, restaurants, college campuses have free wifi. As for the lack of LTE, I do find it upsetting that there will be no Verizon version, but think of it this way: this will give people a chance for an affordable, unlocked phone that will have no bloatware/malware, fast software updates, and no binding contracts from carriers to restrict you on whatever. I rather have a phone that is guaranteed all of those stated above than be stuck with a phone for 2 years and be under the mercy of Verizon.The Bionic left me with a bitter experience after the whole ICS debacle.

  • DatterBoy

    It’s made more confusing because they called the internal memory SDCARD when it’s not and didn’t implement proper naming conventions to make it more clear. I personally would prefer to have an optional slot and be “confused” but I concede that it is not needed for non video storage if you have 32+ onboard. 8 is not anywhere near enough and 16 gets used pretty fast, especially if you are a gamer.

  • alex drum

    “With a Nexus you know exactly how much storage you get upfront and you can decide what’s the right size for you. That’s simple and good for users.” Only problem is that they dont have the right size anymore. 32GB.

  • fauxshizzl

    Being geeks are the biggest segment of Nexus buyers, I have a hard time believing confusion as to storing things has anything at all to do with the decision to not include SD storage. I don’t care either way as I almost never use external storage anyway, but I found his reasoning laughable.

  • Joshua Dudash

    I just can’t believe that we don’t have a choice to use or not to use an SD Card slot.

    In choosing the android environment over iOS, I have physically chosen choice. Especially with the nexus “brand” i feel the we should be on the bleeding edge of all options, bells and whistles. Let me choose whether or not to have the inclusion of a SD Card Google.

    Plan for the worst and hope for the best.

  • Travis Myers

    I can see his point about no SD cards. However, having the option as a “power user” to add and extra SD card is really handy. I use my SD card to store ROMs, backups, any modification files or custom kernels, movies, ROMs for emulators, quite a bit of music, and the occasional file that I need to transfer between computers. Sure, with the cloud and unlimited data, its not necessarily, but it comes in handy when I don’t have a data connection or don’t want to have to try to download a huge movie file.

  • j973

    I like android a lot but to make myself and others feel as if we are idiots and don’t understand the concept of sd card is just sad , and then release a phone with 8gb and 16gb and call that choice is crap 16 gb is bare minimum 8gb is stupid . nexus 4 sales will suffer terribly comparedto the galaxy nexus , if unlimited data was still available then wouldn’t be so bad cloud storage understandable but it’s all tiered data except T-Mobile but coverage is terrible as with sprint too. storage is key for me as with majority and small percentage doesn’t matter

  • Lolo

    The sd card thing should be about choice, if it gets too complicated for you don’t use it. That’s a very cheap excuse. I have about 10-12 gigs of music and I’m looking for a cheap phone I can use as an mp3 player and phone (obviously). This means that my music won’t probably fit in this nexus 4, since the 16gb will have around 12gb of free space. Android is been all about freedom of choice, and I repeat myself if it gets too complicated don’t use a sdcard….

  • Southrncomfortjm

    Someone needs to create a Nexus 4 case that includes built in memory that hooks right into the phone. Install an app that can read that memory and there, problems mostly solved. Sure, it would add some bulk, but a least the SD card whiners would give it a rest.

    • TylerChappell

      I think the argument can easily be made that cloud services are a million times more confusing to even the average non-techy user than SD cards.
      Several months ago I was in a Best Buy and some young ditzy blonde and her mother were in there deciding on which tablet to buy. The young blonde had a Macbook and an iPhone and was asking a Best Buy rep about iCloud, wondering how it would work across her 3 devices if she bought an iPad. The silly Best Buy rep was completely dumbfounded by her question of what is stored in the cloud, and whether it is a free service or something she has to pay for.
      Instead, the stupid Best Buy employee starts going on about the external hard drives they have with the network connectivity that can function as a person’s own personal in-home cloud storage.
      It’s this level of stupidity and ignorance that confuses the crap out of customers, not the idea of being able to add more storage to your mobile device with a small memory card.
      Think about it, anyone who is familiar with technology as old as floppy disks and CD’s is familiar with the idea of removable storage. For Matias, as brilliant as he is, to say that it’s just too confusing for customers makes it appear as though Google sees its customers as the same dumb sheep Apple has capitalized on catering to, and that’s unfortunate, especially for them to release a beautiful new Nexus 4 with handicapped storage and sans LTE when the technology has improved from what it was a year ago.
      I hope the Nexus 4 is a flop just for the sake that it makes Google wake-up a bit.

  • “you can decide what’s the right size”… As long as its either 8 or 16GB.

  • jhjr24

    One of the main selling points of Android from the beginning was the ability to expand memory, it set Android apart from Apple. With the Nexus 7, as an example 8gb is not enough. 16gb should be the starting point if they are going to move forward with this idea. Although I would rather have control of my own ability to add more space to my phone or tablet.

  • Eddie Del Real

    8g, really! About 2g used for the OS, then i install shadow gun, horn, and need for speed and i only have about 1gig left. Google, can i stream my games on the cloud too? If not, then bump up to 32g

    • Southrncomfortjm

      Just get the 16gb then.

  • Anguy

    Ehm, the reason Google doesn’t want SD card slot, is because they want users to be constantly online and use Google cloud services, its that simple… It has nothing to do with “user confusion”. Google doesn’t make any money on people who use offline maps, hear music offline etc. they want everything to be on cloud, that’s where their business interests are.

  • dhirensavalia

    I don’t think many novice users get Nexus phones, so the “confusion” would be extremely minimal. I would use the SD card just for my backups. Ohh well.

  • noc007

    Ok. That makes sense on the justification of not doing a card reader. However, you don’t know how much space I do need nor do you know how much I’m willing to pay for extra space. I need at least 32GB now to give me the basic storage space of the stuff I carry with me as well as some room for new stuff. If I wanted my music archive on there as well, I’d need 128GB. I’m not willing to pay $100 for every doubling level of storage. I can pick up a Class 10 MicroSD 64GB card for ~$50, but I’d need to pay an extra $100-$300 to get the top built-in storage offering and that may not even yield me 64GB of storage.

    I treat my SD card like I treat a SIM card. I put it in the phone, use it, swap it out to a new phone I’m upgrading to, and rarely ever take it out for any other reason. IMHO, the internal storage and add-on storage is really simple:
    -Include storage options like you do now for those that don’t want to be bothered. Everything gets saved there by default
    -When a SD Card is present by default install all apps with their extra files to the internal storage and save any documents, pictures, videos, and downloads to the SD Card
    -If there are any documents, pictures, videos, or downloads present on internal storage when a SD Card is introduced, provide the option to move that media to the SD Card.

    -Give the user the option of where stuff gets saved to by default.

    My wife could care less where stuff is saved and rarely does she do as much as me. I, on the other hand, need all the storage space I can get and I’m able to manage my file systems. I’ve always viewed Android as something that is open in so many ways with a virtually endless opportunity to change it to the way I want it to work. Give us the SD Card slot for those that want/need it and it can remain empty for those that don’t.

  • gorkon

    Let me address what I really think about Matias words….

    1. SD Card

    I agree with him. Have a 32 GB Galaxy Nexus and not once did I wish it had a SD card. As for getting stuff on/off I just hook it up to my computer and copy things off or use Airdroid or any number of networking apps to do it. My car picks up media off my phone when I plug it in to the USB port as well so MTP isn’t an issue for me. I wish it was mass storage, but I can live with it the way it is.

    2. Universal Tablet API

    I am mixed on this. I get why but I also think that tablets aren’t the sames as phones so they need different interfaces. Maybe I might feel different about this when and if Asus releases a 4.1 update for my OG EeePad.

    • p0k3y

      You agree with him on SD Card? There s/b a new term for aSheep now. The excuse he gave is ridiculous – user confusion? Well, for the ones who are confused, they probably won’t even know it’s there. But for the rest of us, it’s all about options, which is what Android is supposed to be about. Next thing we know, Google would be talking about how it’s better for users to buy Google hardware running Google software and why it’s better to have everything locked. Wait, isn’t there something like that out there already in the market place?

      • gorkon

        This isn’t about us….we’ll get by either way. This is about the people who BUY Apple devices. They think the SD card is too complicated. I don’t agree that it is, but I and most people can work around it by having enough storage to begin with. I think most users can do that. This has nothing to do with locking down the platform or anything. In fact, it’s even more open that it was when 3.1 was out. It has everything to do with making it easier for every one and with only the integrated storage it does that. Plus another person in the thread has said this too…when apps are run off of the internal storage the phone is faster. SD memory is generally pretty slow when compared to the Nand flash used in the phone. I am saying I can live with it and really don’t care either way.

        There will ALWAYS be those who won’t buy android at all anymore due to the complexity of earlier devices. Google may have lost them to apple permanently already.

        • p0k3y

          I would not run apps on ext sdcard. But I do use my tablet to watch videos quite a bit, especially when I travel. That point alone makes the the MicroSD slot essential.

          Not saying Google will be locking things down soon. But I do see an erosion in the Android philosophy, which is giving users control and optioins for their devices. That’s y I like Android over iOS. As they chip away these things slowly, Android will lose its edge gradually, even if the OS improves.

          • gorkon

            In those instances I just use wifi and stream it off of my desktop or laptop. With that said, my Nexus has 28 GB available for use and of that I have 24 GB total. GRANTED…..that’s because I am podcast zero at the moment. It would still be that low even with the couple that are due in the next hour or so. SO I stand by and say if there’s ENOUGH internal storage most people would be fine with only the internal. That said, only 8 GB on a Nexus 4 is stupid these days.

  • Nyko

    No SCARD? (using Galaxy Nexus for reference) Anyone with children should agree with these points/use cases; those without kids may soon have kids.

    1. Yes you can take 8-12MP pictures and record 720/1080 video, until you fill up your phone. If I run out of storage I am forced to manage data then and there or wait till later to add more content to my phone. To mitigate this I have to micro-manage my internal storage so I’m not left without storage when “MOBILE”.

    2. SD Cards aren’t a new concept, with Android they may be confusing… so rather than developing a better experience with SD Cards, they just remove them all together? Technology is too confusing, why teach & innovate when we can just get rid of all technology? I’m guessing nobody at Google takes 100s of pictures/videos of their kids on their Galaxy Nexus and hates the slow IO over MTP.

    3. Since new Nexus doesn’t have LTE, now people are supposed to stream their media over slow data connections? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have an “option” to load 32/64 more GB of storage in the event your phone doesn’t have a decent data connection? Even with 4g/LTE, what if you don’t have an unlimited data plan?

    I’m sure I could continue the rant for hours with plenty of more use cases, but in the end… The big picture feels like “You will never get a fully featured phone with great specs, why? Because then you wouldn’t have to upgrade in 2 years or get the next Nexus Phone”

  • gambit07

    Hm, the way he’s speaking, it sounds like they are going to be dumbing down the nexus line as much as possible. No sd card slot because it’s too confusing? Really? Less options are better for the consumer? Sounds a lot like apple. What happened to the power user? Forget that, what about having more screen space available with androids old tablet style notification area not taking up real estate at the top and bottom of your screen. Or the ability to access your navigation buttons and notifications from the same area of your tablet? I’m not a fan of the way they are moving on this.

  • mbaldwin85

    So users are either too stupid for SD cards or not savvy enough with “techy nonsense”? Great explanation. I wouldn’t mind the no SD card if 16gb and 32gb were the norm, and not 8gb. I’m currently using 22/32 on my Gnexus

  • balthuszar

    the only thing i like having an sd card for is so that i can transfer pictures, and other files from my old phone to my new phone without so much as a blink…i don’t think i’d miss the sd card beyond that…heck, i have 3 or 4 empty micro sd cards laying around because i just transfer the one out of my old phone to my new one

    • gorkon

      It’s called a USB cable. Hook it up and copy them off. What’s hard about that? In fact, Verizon and others usually offer to do it for most of the people who aren’t savvy.

      At least these COME with USB cables AND use a standard one too!

      • p0k3y

        What about taking movies on the go? Where would u plug ur usb cable into on the plane? Oh, your Macbook?

      • balthuszar

        so copy them off of one phone to the computer to my new phone, or take the sd card out of my old phone and stick it in my new phone…hm…

        • gorkon

          I’m not disputing which is easier…but there’s really not much difference. Heck you COULD hook BOTH phones up and copy them…then you don’t need to pop out that tiny MicroSD card…..

  • i love android, but we are being hypocrites when we say that its ok not to have lte. we harassed apple fanboys because they didn’t have lte. stop glorifying the nexus 4. it really is a bad phone.

    • gorkon

      I’ll agree with this one…

    • c4v3man

      It’s not a bad phone, it’s just not a top end phone. For what they’re charging, it’s a great phone.

      Yes, it should have LTE, but this isn’t some $600 phone, it’s a $349 phone with $600 specs except for LTE. For a lot of people (who have consistent WIFI access) it’s a great tradeoff…

    • agreed, Nexus 4 is not an overall good option to me.

  • Scoccercoach

    SD card, no problem but give me USB port so I can take my files with me and work on them when I want to and where I want to without having to rely on being in an area with wi fi. I can work on the plane 4 hours going coast to coast if tablets have usb ports.

  • SDcard_user

    Why do people like us who know how to use SD cards have to suffer, because of people out there that don’t??????? They should just buy Apple devices!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • This guy is a scrub. he is ruining the android experience, not improving it. somebody fire his ridiculous ideas. He’s going to stagnate android’s remarkable progress. no lte, no sd slot, no removable battery? only 16 gb nexus. gtfo

  • Clift

    My biggest gripe with not having an SD Card is not the card itself but the lack of USB mass storage mode. MTP doesn’t work with mobile/car audio so you’re stuck. As someone who does a lot of traveling and a lot of time in rental cars, that’s a big deal. They don’t all have Bluetooth, and I don’t always remember to bring my stereo to stereo cable, but guarantee I don’t forget my USB cable.

    • gorkon

      Works fine on my Chevy.

      • gorkon

        Actually I’d like it better if the cars that offer bluetooth would offer up A2DP.

      • Clift

        Which model/year?

        • gorkon

          2012 Cruze….

  • HotRodJohnson

    I’m OK with no SD card, but for the love of God, 16GB and 32GB should be the standard (or if you are aiming 8GB at people that only want to use the phone, great), but to consume movies or music (on the go) it would be nice to have more space.

    • Southrncomfortjm

      8gb is laughable, 16gb is doable, 32gb is comfortable.

      • TylerChappell

        These words describe those storage spaces for probably 98% of people, excellent. =] I would never recommend anyone get less than 16GB, unless its some grandma or something.

      • HotRodJohnson

        8GB is laughable to a content junkie (like you and me). I know many people that really just want a phone and could care less about all the extras that Nexus 4 brings, so I can see customers where 8GBs is not an issues (and apparently so does Google). I only argue for 32GB cause I figure if I wanted to download movies (and really I would probably take a tablet for that) I would want the wiggle room. On my current phone I’m using about 12.7 out of 32GB (about 2.1 for Downloads, 2.5 for apps, 1.66 in pictures, and the remaining 3ish GBs is probably the OS). In my day to day use I could live with 16GB, but when I travel, that’s when I would want to load it up (with music, video, or books) but I would find the 3ish GBs left confining. For my mom, or my wife 8GB is plenty (especially if I show them how to use Google Music). For me I would want the option for more space if I choose. Some of my feeling on the storage stems from owning the OG DROID and running out of space and not being able to move enough apps to SD, and part stems from the fact that apps keep getting bigger and bigger, but I also see people that don’t need but a few apps (and probably more on the other side of the world).

        • Southrncomfortjm

          Frankly, I could get by with 8gb if I needed to, even without unlimited data, I just don’t want to. I’m using 15gb on my GNEX with multiple playlists, several big games, tons of photos and more than a few custom ROM packs sitting on my SD card. Its just nice not having to worry about space.

  • ckeegan

    I have no problem with the lack of SD cards, but the lack of a Nexus device with 64GB built-in is what I find stupid.

  • Liza_Minnelli

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, what are you kids putting on your phones that you need so much storage? I got a 16gb G Nexus and I currently have 9.36gb free, I use up more space when I pin some music or a movie before a trip but that’s it.

    If your telling me its full of movies and games then I can’t take you seriously on this.

    • “If your telling me its full of movies and games then I can’t take you seriously on this.”


    • gambit07

      What you’re saying only makes sense if you are the sole user of android. Problem is, you’re not. I have a 16gb Nexus 7 and it doesn’t have enough space for my games, music, and apps. Period. I also have a 32gb Galaxy Nexus and guess what? Not enough storage for my music. You can use the cloud, but it consumes more battery even if you are getting good enough data reception for consistent playback. On a tablet that’s not always even an option as there is no 3g/4g for cloud playback on most tablets so you’re out of luck with no WiFi around. Hope that helps you understand where people are coming from since at the moment you sound completely uneducated.

      • Liza_Minnelli

        Your in luck, cause just came out with a 32gb nexus 7!!

        As for your phone, I understand you use most/all of your space, however I feel streaming most and pinning some music and movies provides a quality experience for the overwhelming majority of people. I also feel most people don’t have many games on their phones.

        Bottom line Google has a philosophy on this they clearly feel strongly about and a small percentage of people that “need” there entire game and music collection on there phone won’t change it.

        • gambit07

          I agree they won’t change it and I never argued they would, but you just made my point for me. They came out with a 32gb nexus 7 because 16 and 8 apparently wasn’t enough for everyone. But what about the people who already bought a 16gb model? Oh that’s right, they can’t expand their storage so the only option they have is to try and sell their current nexus secondhand to make up as much of the cost for the new 32gb model as they can. This is how google is moving forward and I don’t like it. It is exactly the way that Apple sells devices, and yet no one seems to be commenting on that even though there was an uproar over the fact the ipad 4 came out with slight spec bumps 7 months after the ipad 3. The new nexus 7 is coming out with upgraded storage specs 5 months after the initial release and nobody is saying anything? I think google has garnered more favor recently than apple especially among the tech community but they should be getting called out for this just as much.

          • Liza_Minnelli

            I’m just thinking out loud here but seeing how most pants/shorts come with a minimum of (4) pockets you could get an ipod classic for every song on your computer(like 80gb or more) and a gameboy for all your gaming needs, factor in your nexus phone and that is (3) devices taking up (3) pockets leaving (1) pocket open for your wallet and keys.
            Throw in a man purse for your nexus 7 and you can have all the digital content your posses with you at all times.

          • gambit07

            It’s sad that you’re small minded enough not to recognize people might have needs that are different than your own, resorting to trying to make fun without even raising a relevant point. I’m guessing that ideology manifests itself in other negative ways in your life, good luck

      • Southrncomfortjm

        How much music do you actually need at your fingertips at any given moment? Do you use Google Music? I have thousands of songs, but only keep a few playlists (totally a few hundred songs) on my phone at any time using Google Music.

        • gambit07

          How much anyone needs is extremely subjective. I don’t really have complaints about the 32gb on my gnex, but at the same time it is not enough to house my entire collection. I like to random play all, and listen to my music that way. If I had a microsd card I could have all my music and not miss out on any. I’m disappointed in the lack of an option to do this, internal storage has been around on phones for a long time. If you only wanted to use that storage, fine. No one is forcing you to put a microsd card in your phone in order to confuse you. The reasoning they’re using is what is insulting to me, it’s pretty clear they are using this as a way to push their cloud storage, but they’re not willing to come out and say it. Also, cloud storage uses more battery and only works when you have a reliable data connection.

          • Southrncomfortjm

            Don’t get me wrong, their excuse is garbage and everyone knows it is – seriously, is cloud storage any easier than SD storage? Nope. I’m just responding to the reality we have – if we want a Nexus device it looks like we are getting 8 and 16gb for phone and 16 or 32gb for tablets and then finding a good way to live within those limits if we want the Google Nexus experience.

            Honestly, the best solution for you (if you want the Nexus 4) is to go with an unlimited T-Mobile or unlimited prepaid plan and use Google Music. You can store 20,000 songs in the cloud and stream right over data anywhere

          • gambit07

            Yeah I understand, I use google music as well but the hit on battery life and not having 4g everywhere make it less then ideal for me. Anyway I’m good with the gnex for now, and the space is fine for me, but I don’t like the way the ideology is going. I know there are other options but nexus devices are crucial since they are so easily update-able. We are limited with our options both ways it seems. I hate to see google start moving towards an apple mentality, easier is not always better. Especially when ease of use isn’t even really the issue.

    • Southrncomfortjm

      That’s the thing. Many people don’t want to spend 10 minutes managing storage. They want to carry around 40gigs of music (35 gigs of which is rarely, if ever, used) on top of 10 movies “just in case” they need them. Reminds me of the dudes that carry condoms in their wallets “just in case” a chick throws herself at them at a party.

  • Pegleg

    Lame excuses regarding the SD card issue! Is he saying Nexus users don’t have the brain power to handle memory management? Who is this guy? Time for a staff change Google!

  • Sounds more like Apple’s philosophy than Google’s. Disappointing. We can handle a little complexity and prefer being able to decide for ourselves.

  • nightscout13

    Too complicated to have an SD card? You sir, are becoming an idiot.

  • dray

    I can live with no Sd card, but Instead of buying a Nexus4 , I will keep my G-NEX and buy a Galaxy S3 32gig and pop in a 64gig SD card… yes some people need space. I like music, podcasts and my job involves international travel … I cant stream everywhere i go , so i need the space. Even 32gig on the new Nexus 4 would have been great for me. Google is messing up. I just hope they get it right next year. and I guess I have to learn how to root anf flash to keep my S3 up to date…. sigh!!!

  • krees

    Not to beat a dead horse about the SD card….but sd cards being confusing is a load of crap. Android isn’t meant to be simple…it was designed for the geeks with openness, flexibility, and power. Removing the sdcard (my opinion) removes alot of the flexibility. I have a 32gb card in my skyrocket and I keep alot of rom backups on there. A few gigs at least is used by such rom backups which would be a significant portion of the fixed disk… That doesn’t leave me with very much for games and pictures on a 16gb nexus.

    I agree with “With a Nexus you know exactly how much storage you get upfront and you
    can decide what’s the right size for you. That’s simple and good for
    users.” but I don’t see how 8 and 16gb options are enough. I keep hearing, “we want it cheap so we kept the memory down” but then to not add the flexibility of an sd card reader is dumb. The majority of users that would be confused by the sd card probably wouldn’t even buy one and thus….would never have the opportunity to be confused by said card!


    • Android has to be simple if its going to be widely adopted. Well… MORE widely adopted.

      As it is right now, I’d wager that more than half of all android devices have never touched the play store because the users don’t know how to get to it.

      • krees

        Right I get the idea it has to become more simple to gain wider adoption but don’t remove the sd card readers because you think it will confuse customers…the customers that would likely get confused wont even buy one to begin with so that’s an empty use case (in my opinion). I like what Matias has done with the ui…just don’t let him make technical decisions or answer questions with a bs response.

  • LegalAmerican

    I understand his point, and I can totally accept other people’s point of view who make a case against having an SD card slot. However, isn’t Android all about choices? Isn’t that what makes it different than Apple? I don’t need a board of trustees deciding what is or is not confusing for me. Give me options and I will decide what I can or cannot comprehend. I do not root my devices, because I do not understand all of the steps. I do however, know how to use an SD card and I enjoy being able to purchase one for use in my phone if I desire.

    • Android is all about choice – there are plenty of phones out there now that have SD card capability – just not the nexus line.

  • I’m sick of hearing about SD cards in Nexus devices. They did away with them and more than likely they are not coming back. Google is moving cloud storage forward, if that’s not for you then go get any other non nexus device.

  • Jacob Svonavec

    Yeah I’m pretty sure I can figure out how to manage my storage spaces…Plus Most nexus owners are rooting and unlocking the phones, I’m sure they are more than capable of managing storage space, biggest line of garbage.

  • E Diddy

    The one argument for an SD card: When I need to replace my phone due to a defect or broken screen (or whatever) I can just pop the SD card out and put it in my new phone. All the photos, music, etc are saved without any hassle.

    • Dave

      Same could be said with cloud services. All your photos, music, contacts, and apps (sans app data) is synced thanks to the cloud.

      • Jacob Svonavec

        Clouds are great and I use them, but if your service isn’t the best at all times having the storage to download items to the device itself makes that issue not as painful. Do you like your hands tied behind your back? I for one do not.

  • i always get surprised how much i am in the minority reading comments when it comes to sd cards. i definitely don’t miss having to have an sd card partitioned so that i could use app2ext or app2sd. that was a huge pain in the butt have to set up all my apps like that every time i changed roms.

  • JoeInMO

    I’m fine with no SD Card slot as long as the device has enough memory (32GB minimum). The push toward cloud storage is nothing but a money grab since unlimited data plans are nearly extinct… not to mention the fact that cloud storage is scoured to target ads pushed to you.

    • Captain_Doug

      I’m dying with 16GB. I can make it work but I have to run a tight ship. 32GB really should be an option for the N4. They’ll probably release it later…