HTC Thunderbolt Only Has 2.5GB of Usable Internal Storage, But Is It Really That Big a Deal?


Although the HTC Thunderbolt is advertised as having 8GB of internal storage, owners are disappointed to see that only 2.5GB of that is usable. If we consider how much is usually partitioned away for the operating system and other uses in other phones, we can guesstimate that about 5GB of storage is missing.

Yea, it’s an abnormal amount of space and we’re not sure what exactly is using it all up, but why does it matter? The HTC Thunderbolt launches with a 32GB micro-SD card – the average micro-SD card size for high-end phones these days is 8GB.

32GB gives you four times that amount. With Android 2.2, most data-heavy games and applications can be installed to the SD card. And not to criticize anyone’s usage habits, but if you’re filling your phone up with more than 2.5GB’s worth of apps and games I’d say you’re already overdoing it anyway.

Still, once numerous developers get their hands on the Thunderbolt we should get a better idea of what’s going on inside and hopefully custom ROMs will look to free that space up for those of you who need to maximize every literal bit of space. [via Android Forums]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. I still have over 4 gigs free internal on my x. No apps on my sd card, and over 100 total apps. My sd card is less then half full as well, with over 1000 pictures, 1200 songs, and about an hour of videos.

  2. But its class 2

  3. Im pretty sure class 2 is all you can get for 32g. If not, should they really include a $200 card for the masses, when the masses wont care?

  4. It’s a class 4 card… not bad really. I wasn’t exactly expecting a card I would want to steal and put in my DSLR…

    But coming from a nearly maxed out OG Droid, where I had a total of 256 MB… I don’t know what to do with all this space.

  5. I think this is really missleading and annoying, it’s a marketing gimmick that I think they should force carriers/manufacturers to change.

  6. $77 from Amazon, but one of the reviews mentions Sandisk class2 actually performs quite well.

  7. The SD card pictured is not indicative of what’s inside the HTC Thunderbolt.

  8. “The HTC Thunderbolt launches with a 32GB micro-SD card” Does that mean a 32GB card is included with the phone?

  9. My tb came with a class 4 32gb.

  10. I wonder why this is happening. The Droid 1 only has 128MB of internal memory so why the TB would need several gigabytes is a aystery. Maybe the people at XDA can figure this out?

  11. I don’t think phones should come with more than 2GB of usable internal space and 8GB on the external. The phones would be cheaper and whoever wants 48GB of space can go buy their own cards. I’m only using about 5GB in total.

  12. You can go ahead and thank VZW for putting all that crapware on their devices. The consumer should be able to remove anything installed on the phone if they wish. Its not fair to have something installed that you will never use (yes im talking to you vz navigator). This is why I will never buy a phone that cannot be rooted at the least. CM is also a very big deal to me. Vanilla android FTW.

  13. Yea a 32gb card is included with the phone. I would consider that a pretty fair shake by erizom or HTC since most phones come with an 8, maybe a 16gb tops. I do know for a fact that this is the first android to launch with a 32gb on board for sure.

  14. Based on discussions had at XDA, we’re pointing the finger at the bloatware and most specifically Verizon Navigator which holds maps and data for all of NA locally on the phone instead of streaming it over the network like Google Maps.

  15. Just checked and mine is also a Class 4 chip.

  16. I think people that don’t have the phone are the first to put it down lol. I know I’m right on this and like they said if your using that much space for games and apps your over doing it and most of the time that’s beginners/amateur Android users.

  17. Verizon strikes again… specification come from the carrier the manufacturer will make a device based on the carriers needs… Verizon is a embarrassment and so is the Thunderdud

  18. this phone is far from a dud it outperforms every phone that i have had. Every moto verizon has made i have had and the sammy piece of crap. Eris was ok but a childs phone. Incredible was nice buy not my style. This phone is amazing and all the haters you will find are the people who don’t have it or can’t get it.

  19. They said the G2 had 4 gigs but mine only showed 1.25 when I bought it. Anything over a gig on todays phones is fine, if you really need to download that many apps, move them to the sd card.

  20. class 2 is a fucking joke. There are up to class 10 at 32GB, size has nothing to do with it. It’s just slow enough that it will slow down the OS.

  21. 1 tv show episode is about 400MB. A whole season with 12 episodes is almost 5gig. So… :(

  22. Not that I’m positive the missing space went to bloatware, but there are ways to work on that. I actually filed an FCC complaint about not being able to uninstall VZW crapware on my DX, and got a call back from someone in the VZW executive office, and told him my thoughts on preinstalled software that can’t be removed (Maddden) and nagware (CityID). He said he understood my point of view and they’d be taking comments like mine into account with future phones. Might be a good idea for anyone else who wants this practice to change.

  23. This isn’t a problem now, you’re correct. But down the line, when people want to buy this phone used, if it doesn’t come with the 32 GB SD card, that’s going to be quite annoying.

  24. Desire’s got 512MB, and some of that is mysteriously invisible (swap?) leaving about 450. We deal. On stock, you’ll run out of space for applications pretty much straight away. Rooted with a2sd, you’ll still run out of /data pretty quickly, so you resize the partitions to sizes that suit you and that’s pretty much it. Assuming a /system of, say, 100MB; and a squeezed-down /cache of 10MB, if you end up with 300MB+ of Dalvik and data then you’ve got too many applications. And this is based on, say, a 512 ext partition for a2sd. That’s less than a gig in total. I dream of 2.5.

    Anyway, they’re marketing to end users.

  25. An article like this makes me sick to my stomach. Yes it does matter…if you say it has 8Gig, then I should get 8Gig period…Stupid people like you (Quentyn Kennemer) make these big corporations stick it up our asses and laugh at us.

  26. Hmm I wonder if the loss of internal storage has something to do with their fast boot option?

  27. Do you people even read the previous posts before opening your mouths? The SD in the TB is a CLASS 4, not a class 2 – why not just make post that it’s a class 50, or made of cheese.

  28. One of my primary reasons for getting rid of my Nexus One will be storage space. I only have 40 aps. Half of them are on the SD card. Yet I am constantly running at around 21MB free space. Once I drop below 20MB, I get annoying low memory messages, which happens frequently due to growing caches in Facebook, Reader, and the Browser.

    People are complaining about having 2.5GB??!!! I’m talking MBs!!!

  29. You people are getting internal RAM Memory and Storage GB mixed up. Talk about some nooby nerds!

    Internal RAM controls how many apps can be launched and how apps operate and utilize the memory. Internal storage is the HDD. Man, is it really this complicated?

  30. Its eMMC memory card is partioned that way to be faster/more reliable storage. The same way that the G2 has a 4GB chip but only 2GB is available. I expect this to happen on every new HTC.

  31. @Miguel: You’re talking about RAM. As Steven pointed out, that’s not what this article is about. The Thunderbolt has 768MB of RAM.

  32. I see it as false advertising. My G2 was advertised as having 4GB of internal space but when I first got it there were only about 1.19GB free. Even if I’m not going to use all 4GB, apps that I’ll also never use should NOT be pre-loaded. And what’s worse is that I cannot uninstall those apps.

    So yes, this IS a big deal. Some people feel like they’re being cheated out of storage that they paid for. Again, maybe they don’t need a ton of storage but neither does the OS.

  33. In other news this phone sucks….battery life sucks…screen sucks…I hate this garb phone

  34. It’s totally false advertising. If they say it’s got 8GB the available storage should be pretty close to that number. A lot of people are doubling up these phones as mp3 players. Having only 2GB free for music because it’s full of bloatware is total garbage.

  35. Umm, the advertised 8 gigs isnt available for any music at all. But, you still have 32 gigs for that. And, there is a disclaimer that less than 8 gigs is useable.

  36. @ 10. Dave, the original Droid came with 16GB internal or 14.93 right out of the box and a 16GB SD card included.

  37. Honestly, Id prefer to have a really nice 16gb to 32gb internal. Much easier to control clock speeds and power when its built in. a micro sdhc card slot is nice to have as well to either maximize the space available or transfer files. At the rate these micro sdhc cards are coming out, there wont be a need for external storage slots.

    with the right compression and a well written program, there is no need to utilize any more than 64gb EVER. Those iNerds who max out 32gb ipods full of music are just dumb. Thats like 12K songs!

    Streaming data and cloud storage will eliminate the need for storage

  38. When have you ever seen a product give you the maximum amount of storage space that it’s advertised as having? When you buy a 500GB Hard drive, do you get all 500GB? Or a 32GB ipod, do you get all 32GB? How can you call this false advertising?

  39. And to add to my comment, it’s not really HTC’s fault that Verizon loads the phone up with so much bloatware. HTC provides the 8GB of internal storage that they advertise, but Verizon goes ahead and fills it up for you.

  40. 36. greatone_pro
    That is incorrect. The original Moto Droid has 256MB internal storage and came with a 16GB CD card. It absolutely does not have 16GB of internal storage. Any Droid owner and spec sheet will tell you that.

  41. ^ SD card… not CD… sorry… typo.

  42. The internal memory is definitely partitioned. We know of the “Verizon Mobile” partition that installs a VZW-specific set of drivers and application, and so I assume the big partition that’s eating up most of that missing 5.5GB of space is a recovery image for the OS so that you don’t need to get the device serviced by a technician – you may be able to reset it yourself.

    Still, a lot of bloatware is installed by default and cannot be removed without root (i.e. Let’s Golf 2!) so those apps will be eating up extra space as well.

    Can’t wait for all American carriers to get LTE so we can hopefully get carrier-neutral devices like the rest of the world does. Faster Android updates, no bloatware, no middlemen, and happy customers. Awww yeah!

  43. Yarrell strikes again, for some reason searching down every article about the Thunderbolt so he can bitch about it and use his clever and witty “Thunderdud” reference. Zing! It’s all about the luls, isn’t it Richard?

  44. You geeky fucks don’t even know that a Class 2 card exceeds anything your telephone can do anyway, JTFC – WTF do you need a Class 10 card on your phone for anyway!

  45. Big deal. Phones should ship with 16-32GB onboard with expandablity via SD card up to 64GB. This is 2011, we need all the space we can get.

  46. Ok let me clear up a couple things. I had the Droid x, yesterday I went and got the thunderbolt when I turned it on and signed in to my gmail (witch is the first thing you have to do) the phone automatically loaded my wallpaper from my x, all my contacts and all of my apps. So expect to lose some memory if you are moving from one droid to another.
    But man how cool is it to turn on your new phone and see your wallpaper from your last phone. Go Droid

  47. My Fascinate has 2 GB of internal memory for apps. I have quite a few apps installed, but am nowhere near coming close to filling up that memory, and have never had any desire to move apps to my SD card, and deal with all the problems that can cause.

  48. You people realize that “moving” apps to SD doesn’t actually move the app to SD right? All it does is move a predetermined portion of the app to SD. There are apps that advertise “app2sd”, but only actually move about 1% of their size to SD, and leave the rest in the internal storage. Google Earth is a 20MB app, and when you “move” it to SD, it leaves 15MB in the internal storage. There are some apps on my phone that literally move 8KB to the SD (the developers obviously do this to shut up all the commenters who are asking for app2SD support. I wouldn’t be surprized if that 8KB was just junk data).

    Oh, and BTW, any apps that use any of the following features will not be able to use app2SD:
    – App Widgets,
    – Services,
    – Input Method Engines,
    – Live Wallpapers,
    – Live Folders,
    – Alarm Services,
    – Account Managers,
    – Sync Adapters,
    – Device Administrators

    Android is really full of bullshit like this. Nowhere in the system does it even tell you how much of the app moved and how much remained. Google is just trying to cover up the fact that their app2SD feature is a failure that doesn’t actually work, and it isn’t being implemented most of the time. I have a Nexus One, which is a great phone in every respect except it’s completely crippled by its 170MB internal storage. Who produces a phone in this day and age with that pathetic, laughable amount of storage? And the best part is that when my remaining storage dips below 21MB, the phone starts bouncing text messages.

    There are games on the iPhone that are larger than 1GB. How does Android expect to be taken seriously when their superphones come with stone-age amounts of internal storage?

    So to answer the headline question, yes, it is that big a deal. That internal storage will get filled up quickly, and the user will be left juggling apps left and right, and have to make stupid decisions that no iPhone user needs to do. App2SD is not compatible with many types of apps, and those apps will need to remain fully in the internal storage. Once the internal storage fills up, your text messages get bounced.

  49. @Steven Skwarkowski
    Yeah, because everyone wants horribly compressed, low bit-rate music. My music library is close to 50GB, and I have about 6000 songs. 12K my ass! You’d be surprised how many people have very large music libraries, and not all of them are “iNerds.” Many of them just like music, like me.

  50. I have confirmed with verizon, there is a known issue with the internal storage showing the wrong amount. They are working an a fix in a “soon to be released” update.

  51. The guy complaining about buying a HDD being comparable to how much storage is chopped. The reason storage is no longer true to what it says is due to algorithm. 1024=1 wether 1 mb or 1gb. Since most people dont understand this algorithm, producers use the 1000=1 method. This still doesnt count for 5GB of storage missing from 8GB however this would account for 8GB missing if it was closer to 128GB partition. So yes the math does not add up to it missing. For your comment to make sense their would only be 94MB missing from the 8GB.

  52. It matters to me. I keep movies on the internal storage.

  53. Root it – remote it – move on. Now that the TB has permanent root, we are only waiting on the details and s-off then I will make a backup of what’s actually on my TB, then remove that friggin bloatware. That should free up a good amount of storage. Its not apps space its data storage that I want the space for.

  54. I was actually planning on using the 16GB card from my Droid in the Thunderbolt (if I get one) and putting the 32GB card on my flac player…where lots of space counts.

  55. Uh? All smartphones kome with a SD card. I mean, if you put music on your phone, aren’t you putting it on the actually SD card anyways? The only thing that is really on your phone are apps.


    What are you people komplaining about? The phone really does have 8GB of internal storage, but that doesn’t mean it has 8GB of usuable internal storage. Read the fine print. LoL!!

    And it komes with a truckin’ 32GB card!! I mean really!? I don’t really get all that klass 2 and klass 4 stuff ppL are talking about, but it seems like it’s not all that good for a klass 2. I mean, if you’re still putting music on your actually phone, I don’t think you truly know what a smartphone is.

    BTW, my laptop only has 149GB of space. o.O -_-
    Sad, I know. I just had to tell somebody how sad that is.

  56. Richard, Fuck you.

  57. Screw you Richard

  58. First off, I’d like to clarify that this post is not intended to flame or anything. I pass a Verizon billboard on my way to work and there’s the thunderbolt up there now. I just thought to myself: lightning has bolts but thunder doesn’t as thunder is The sound made from lightning. I just thought that was weird. Maybe it was an intentional misnomer and maybe not as the phone does deal with things sonic in nature. I must now ponder….

  59. @Sean

    “You geeky fucks don’t even know that a Class 2 card exceeds anything your telephone can do anyway, JTFC – WTF do you need a Class 10 card on your phone for anyway!”

    Have you ever tried to transfer files to a Class 2 card? you’ll be wanting plenty of time spare to fill a 32GB Class 2

    At least this is a Class 4 though, makes it a bit quicker :-)

    And I would LOVE to have 2.5GB internal free. Better to have the full 8GB sure but you’d be doing well to fill 2.5GB with apps..

  60. Where is richard? i see no richard above? O_O

  61. what’s the difference in class of these sd cards?

  62. Bought the Thunderbolt first day when it came out and let me tell you this Thunderbolt is a ass kicking phone with absolutely horrible battery life, I am from Detroit with excellent 4G coverage, I was getting 10 mb download speed which is mind blowing, but my battery was draining 30% per hour after using all kinda power saving twick, I had og droid and droid X but never experienced battery issues… this Thunderbolt is simply awesome but no way I am gonna put up with this.

  63. I’m somehow reminded of the G2 (which I own) which was advertised as having 4GB but in reality only about 1.5Gb available… there are technical reasons for this… but c’mon, don’t advertise this as having 4GB or 8GB or xGB when it only has yGB… that’s what we call “misleading customers” and it makes for “angry customers” who might consider another manufacturer for their next phone…

  64. Some folks would like having all of their music with them (the average 20 GB music music collection)

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