Google’s unnerving privacy policy, endangered SD card slots, Guy Kawasaki unboxes the Moto X [FROM THE FORUMS]


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Have you checked out Android Forums lately? Plenty of great discussion and debate abounds. In fact, it  so happens I was perusing the many and various topics over in that very forum moments ago. Here’s what people are talking about:

The Epic Moto X Thread – People are pretty excited about the Moto X. Some are already getting their invite to complete an early Moto Maker experience next week with AT&T. One Guy already got his. Guy Kawasaki (see what I did there?). He unboxes it in slow-mo. A nice little sendup, if you ask me.

Where have all the SD cards gone? – The debate continues to rage on as one user has noticed “an alarming trend” with recent handset releases: NO MOAR SD CARD SLOTS. Do people want them? Are they even necessary? Is the technology going the way of the dinos?

Peeved over privacy – Did you hear about Google’s recent statement that gmail users shouldn’t really expect privacy? Privacy, after all, is a luxury, not a right, right? Or wrong? Some forum goes aren’t all too pleased with Google’s insistence on scouring your messages in order to feed targeted ads. But hey, it’s Google. That’s sort of their thing. What else did you expect?

There’s plenty more where that came from, too, but what would be fun in spoiling it all here. Head over and see for yourself!

Kevin Krause
Pretty soon you'll know a lot about Kevin because his biography will actually be filled in!

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  1. … Except Google used the phrase “people who use web-based email” instead of “Gmail users.”

    In other words, the issue is not specific to Gmail.

  2. People who are tuned in at all knew that SD cards are an old antiquated technology that is on the way out. The performance cost of putting that junk in a device is just silly.

    I remember my father once saying he thought the music industry must be completely falling apart because cassettes were being removed from shelves. A friend recently was shocked that dvd rental stores were disappearing and wondered what people would do now that movies were going to be “extinct”. These are the reactions of people that don’t understand the world has moved on. If you still whine over SD cards, you’re standing the station and the bus is already gone.

    1. We’ll then, what is a viable option? I don’t see any devices with enough internal memory, and until coverage is 100% the cloud isn’t an option for many people. My 64 gb MicroSDXC is almost full and I constantly have to delete apps (that I use) because 16 gb isn’t even enough for the OS and apps alone.

      1. Connect remotely to your always-on home PC via *the internet*. Stream/Cache your photos & music from there.

        1. That’s a cloud, and it won’t work when you don’t have a data connection.

          1. I agree with you, but you can always find a scenario where you don’t have enough storage on your phone or ipod. The only solution for that is for it to have a temporal cache of what you’ve recently looked at or listened to.

            What did you used to do when you couldn’t fit all your music on your mp3 player? You simply kept a subset of your entire collection, which you managed at home. There will always be a variation of this, except now we don’t have to wait until we get home.

          2. I didn’t have nearly as much music 3 years ago, and almost all of it was on my mp3 player that had 48 gb’s. My biggest issue is that the Android smart phones provided a solution for me that I no longer had to carry two devices, and now that solution is being taken away without a viable alternative. I remember how much of a pain it was to carry and use two devices and I don’t want to go back.

      2. I’d rather see stock OTG support added (although I’m a cloud user)

        1. I love the OTG support on my Note 2, but that would be a poor substitute for a MicroSD card.

          1. But it would go some way to lessening the impact of hardware decisions without forcing reliance on data connections.

            Most of the time 16gb is enough for me on an unlimited data package. Where I struggle is when I’m roaming. OTG with proper stock write access would meet that occasional need without contradicting Google’s “no card” stance.

          2. Their no card stance is bs. The performance argument is bs, it only effects performance when you use it, and not much. Using the cloud effects the performance of media playback. It’s just a way to get access to you data so they can sell ads. I am fine with Google using data to target ads, but limiting or storage and forcing us to the cloud is a bit much.

          3. *affects

      3. Buy Helium. Back stuff up. Delete the crap you haven’t used in a while. Restore when needed. Not rocket science here.

    2. Except that DVDs were replaced with Blu-ray and online content streaming that actually works.

      I agree with the premise – I’m sick of sd cards.

      But the reality is that without an offsetting technology that works 100% – and that is NOT mobile streaming for many of us (from vendor clouds or home PCs) – lack of user-selectable storage is an issue.

      The trend noted by chimpyhappyhour above really nails the problem.

      I’m carrying a 16 GB phone with a 64 GB sd card. I can not replace that with a 16 GB phone. 32 GB – maybe, provided I’m willing to compromise.

      1. There are dozens of 100% alternatives. Thumb drives, optical disks, portable harddrives, cloud after cloud alternative, etc. You don’t need everything on your phone. I get it – its about a nerd showing off. Being able to say, “I have my whole 75 GB music collection plus a dozen blue ray movies in my pocket.” That’s a novelty, not a practical feature enjoyed by the masses. This kind of storage capacity is used by such a small portion of the market that it is completely impractical to expect mass production of devices. BUT, they are a vocal, nagging minority, and they plaster their message to tech sites, which give the illusion to readers of mobiles sites that this is something the masses want.

        1. So now I have to carry multiple devices when I just used to carry my Android smartphone? You sir sound like an Apple user. All my Apple friends carry thumb drives still. Now that is ancient tech that needs to go. Why on earth would I want to carry something extra to hold music or other files when I could just dump what I need on my phone? Then blue tooth, wifi, plug in, or NFC transfer it. If I wanted to carry around a device with limited capabilities, I would buy an iPhone. I don’t, so I have an Android, and before that a Blackberry, which also had an SD Card.

        2. I see. You have no idea what I’m using the storage for, so you make something up that doesn’t apply to me and then accuse me of showing off.

          All of your alternatives involve carrying more junk and having more to configure, power and deal with.

          The point of mobile technologies is to do more by carrying less and the goal for everyone I’ve met is longer lasting power.

          Not one of your alternatives deals with either of those things.

          You really got nothing of what I was saying but the hate is strong in you, and I don’t think I can help with that.

          All I said was that maybe a 32 GB phone would work if I compromised how I worked, 16 GB definitely would not, and that I also hate sd cards.

    3. Unless that station is a train station in a place like NYC with no signal to speak of. It kind of sucks when you have to plan ahead of time what music you want to listen to that day for your commute because you can only allocate a couple of gigs to mp3’s. Gets even worse when you get to work in NYC in a big old office tower and there is no wifi and cell signal doesn’t penetrate the building or elevators (Verizon, AT&T, T-mobile…all the same). If all Android devices get limited to 16gb without an SD Card then the only option for New Yorkers is *gasp* an iphone.

      1. Or a dedicated mp3 player, which is unacceptable. Smart phones allowed us easier access to media, now they are forcing us back to the “old days” of carrying multiple devices or just not have access to our media. My smartphone replaced my laptop and mp3 player, I’m not about to go backwards with tech.

    4. unreMarkable comment. SD cards are used more now than ever in various devices. This is one of the reasons why they’ve done down in price so much. Wow… some people are passive aggressive to the point it makes them think like a chimp.

      1. You’re trying hard to make stuff up. SD cards have not gotten cheaper because they are used more than ever. That is a broken, sad misunderstanding of supply and demand. They have gotten cheaper because of economies of scale, decreased demand, better productivity, market saturation, emergence of better technology, movement toward internal flash memory, and Moore’s Law.

        1. Wow you have no clue. Good luck when you break a device with no removable media and lose everything. I use my phone for business. I can’t risk storing data on non-removable memory. You also must have never used a phone or tablet to entertain children somewhere with no data connection. Just because you don’t need an SD Card slot doesn’t mean no one else does. This is the problem with so many people these days. It seems that they just can’t grasp the fact that not everyone is going to have the same opinion as them.

    5. I’ll never buy a phone or tablet with no SD. I have too much music for that.

  3. Well….despite what another poster might say about the world moving on, they’re obviously clueless that cheapskate carriers make that statement completely untrue. A phone might be offered in a 64GB variation but for some people, they’ll never see it since their carrier decides to cheap out and not offer it. If there is no SD card slot, then they’re stuck with a piddly “16 GB” allowance. Which just isn’t enough space these days…..

    And don’t even start on the whole “the cloud! the cloud!” bandwagon. That’s all well and great… when you have a data connection but those who claim that to be the solution are pretty clueless. There’s just way too many times when there is NO data connection.

    1. Some people don’t go out into the world, and don’t understand that when you’re not in your parentsbbasement you may not always have a data connection. I pay so much for Verizon because when I travel I rarely lose cell signal, but data is another thing.

    2. and I have privacy concerns about the cloud. I don’t put anything important on the cloud cuz of it. and its a lot worse if you are restricted with a data limit cuz u can’t even access your files

    3. Absolutely spot on my friend. Cloud storage will NEVER be as reliable as having your media and other files stored LOCALLY on your device. This aggressive push by Google to cloud storage is really disappointing. I don’t buy Samsung products for their damn name. They are one of the few big manufactures still providing Micro SD Card support for their FLAGSHIP devices.

      If all new Nexus devices shipped with Micro SD card slots I’d switch to them. It’s about the convenience of having your stuff inside the phone that’s the biggest advantage.

    4. Exactly. Who wants to wait for photos and videos to stream over a cellular network? It would be awkward if you were going show someone pictures on your phone but they had to wait for each picture to load because you don’t have 4G or worse no data connection at all. There’s nothing like a file stored on a hard disk. And don’t even get me started on public wifi. The few available “free” networks either don’t work, are super slow, or require you to sign in through the browser every time you use it not to mention the privacy issue.

  4. I won’t usually buy a phone with no SD.

    1. Why you hiding? Wait im gonna create a new account

  5. The only way I will buy a phone without an SD card slot is if ALL the high-end Android phones stop using them, and then I’d be so angry I might look at another OS, which would suck since I have spent over 2,000 bucks on the Market/Play Store since having Android.
    16 GB is not a good option without an SD card slot, and cloud storage is a very, very poor option, until wifi is available literally everywhere you go. I’ve been getting more into Android gaming but what sucks is that the cool games I REALLY want to download are sometimes 1.5 GB, my phone is already full so I can’t download it.

    1. Yes, let’s look for a new OS because you can’t store all of your stuff. That makes sense.

      1. If another OS has SD options available it makes perfect sense.

        1. heh some times people have silly thoughts.

        2. It does.

      2. If another phone offered can do what I need it to do and Android can’t(it can, but Google and Carriers are trying to stop it), then yes, that makes perfect sense.

  6. more.. not moar. Let’s not completely lose english to trendy gimp speak. :

    1. lol

    2. Hey, if they have such low self-esteem that someone who failed second grade English managed to convince them that moar wasn’t a misspelling by an uneducated nitwit, but was the “cool” way to say it, you’re probably not going to change their minds.

      They’ll learn when they can’t get a job because “cool language” on a resume impresses nobody.

  7. Not to mention the cloud for music and movies is out for a lot of people without unlimited data. Switched my family plan and gave up unlimited for my wife and I and have 4 people on 10 gb, which we only went over once, and that is when we tethered and downloaded a movie while in the car. Other than that, we rarely hit 7 gb. However, if any or all of us streamed music, it would be gone. That’s my major frustration…. all the carriers and phone manufacturers, etc., tell us everything the phones are capable of, however, carriers of made decisions to make it unrealistic. So, I need an SD is what I was getting to.

  8. I don’t know what people are keeping on their phones that take up such a vast amount of storage, but is it really necessary to keep every single song, every video, every file you own on your mobile device for instant access at all times?

    I understand people go without a signal at times, or just don’t want to use data when away from WiFi, and its necessary to keep some stuff on the phone. I do that as well. But its not exactly like we’re living post apocalypse here…you’ll be back around wifi soon enough most of the time.

    1. Try an 8 hour car trip to have family vacation for a week at a place with no wifi, 2G coverage, and only local channels. Now add in that I have four kids of different ages and interests. Your damn right I need SD cards so each can load up the movies and songs they like.

      1. I did say MOST of the time Wi-Fi isn’t far away. And there are phones with lots of internal storage. And tablets as well. I’m all for phones being made with more storage, I just don’t think external cards are necessary any more.

        1. Not everyone lives where you do, wifi isn’t around or accessible most of the time in my area.

          1. Still doesn’t mean you need EXTERNAL storage. Just more storage in general.

          2. Large internal memory would be great, but if I don’t have a microSD slot then minimum 96 gb for me, 128 gb would be optimum. But I still don’t see why a extra slot makes a difference.

          3. Why? You can’t even get an SD card with more than 64GB, why would you demand double that? Are you keeping your entire library of media on your device? I can’t fathom why someone would need that much media at one time. How long of a trip away from civilization are you planning in taking?? And are you going to spend every waking moment consuming media? Why even leave the house at that rate.

            With that said though, I wouldn’t be mad at all if phones started coming with TBs of storage space. If it’s there, I’d probably keep my whole library on it too. I just wouldn’t DEMAND more than 64GB from a mobile device.

          4. My problem with SD cards is the low reliability. They’re slow and their failure rates are worrisome; even the best rated brands. I’ve had two crap out on me, and I lost whatever I hadn’t backed up. SD cards aren’t a good solution…we need more on-board eMMC.

            If you guys really need a lot of storage on the go, you should take a look at a wifi HDD. They have far more capacity, and many of them have internal batteries if you’re away from a power source.

          5. I kind of wish more people could see this comment.

          6. Actually you can get an sd with more than 64GB.

        2. One could also make the same case for the headphone jack as well given the advancements in bluetooth, but its still essential to me.

          I’d rather have an SD slot and not need it rather than need it and not have it. It takes up little space in the design of the phone, $1 worth of parts, and a little bit of extra programming to include one. Also gives people more control over their device. Were just not to the point technologically where internet access covers virtually everybody and is unlimited, regardless of what city dwellers think.

          1. That wouldn’t be as sensible though. Bluetooth drains more battery, and not everyone has Bluetooth speakers or headsets. Internal storage just works better, and anyone that has a smart phone already has internal storage, they just need to make them bigger.

          2. So the carrier can charge you more for it. they would not have an excuse to sell you a 32gb or 64gb phone for way more money if it had a card slot, you could get by with a 8gb, or 16gb phone for less.

          3. Most “city dwellers” don’t have plans like that, or think like that either.

        3. More storage means way more cost to the end user, which again is being forced by the carriers to spend more money. When in reality the extra storage hardly costs anything, but they charge way more for it. (When it is even available) It should be the users choice to have external storage, not the carriers. Rationalizing this is like rationalizing having a state of the art computer, with a tiny hard drive that you can’t replace, or add on to. Give it up.

    2. Try working where you aren’t allowed to use the Wi-Fi, or living in an area that drops to edge as soon as you leave the city limits. It uses less battery than streaming also.

      1. Shouldn’t you be working at work instead of listening to music and playing videos? Even then, how much storage does one need for a few hours worth of music and videos?

        1. I’m a diesel mechanic. I don’t sit behind a desk, wander around a store, or have to deal with people etc. Having to constantly swap out music is annoying. I also can’t foretell what kind of music listening mood I will be in.
          On top of that, apps are getting increasingly larger and take up more of the internal memory. This leaves even less room for recording video, taking pictures, and storing music.

          The point being: Not everyone is you. Having storage options, whether or not one uses, or needs, them, is optimal for everyone.

          1. Having it doesn’t hurt anyone. Not having it is a major pain for most of us.

          2. I am guessing that Sean works for a phone company since he is trying so hard to validate a decision by the carriers, and Google to force you to do streaming. Since WiFi is ALWAYS far away when you are on the road.

          3. None of that means you need an EXTERNAL storage card. You’re just saying you need TONS of music on your phone.

          4. Ok, genius. How would I put it on my phone without external storage? I also live in Las Vegas were there is little to no 3g, or better, outside of the Vegas area. That means that streaming for road trips is not going to happen. Thanks for playing though.

          5. The same way you put it on the external card, a computer.

          6. So, you are suggesting that technology exists to put 40+ GB of music in a memory space much smaller than that, and it would still be usable. Please share this technology with us.

          7. Are you purposely being dumb, or is it a natural ability? It’s called CHOICE genius.

          8. Not my faut you fail at comprehension. Like we need a CHOICE between DVD/Blu ray, or vhs tape? Obsolete technology always gets left behind, no matter how many dinosaurs complain about it.

        2. why the f are people arguing over this. more storage on board always ALWAYS win go kiss iphones arse

  9. SD is a must for myself as it is easier to take the card out put it in a new device rather having to redownload files into a new device. A device dies sucjks having to remember what all was installed on the device.

    1. or you could just create a back up of the phone’s files on your computer. just as easy.

      1. Yeah that works real well after the device is broke.

        1. i meant you create a back it up while the device is still working so you can just transfer the files to a new device when you need to.

          also, *broken, not broke. the grammar nerd in me compels me.

      2. I don’t own a computer? My phone and tablet do everything a pc does so why own one? An SD slot should be mandatory. It’s the one deal breaker for me on a phone purchase

  10. sd rocks

    1. Only trolls would down vote this.

      1. Communist people should not be here…

        1. None here friend.

  11. SD card is a big deal for me. In fact the bigger the better.

    Privacy. Arent we all forced into this boat now? We have to have a gmail account to do anything worse yet a google now account. This does tick me off. We pay for the phone the service and the applications yet.. WE have to have our privacy hacked as well. TALK ABOUT GREEDY BUSINESSMEN. I thought Apple was bad, here comes the new boss same as the old boss.

  12. Build 128 Gigs into the phone to begin with. What would that cost the manufacturers? $25? $50? If that? Fine, I’ll pay a little extra.

    1. If it cost them an extra $25 then it’ll cost us an extra $250

  13. It would be acceptable to forfeit the SD card if devices could keep pace with users’ needs for storage. But to remove the ability to upgrade and continue offerring the same storage capacity of four years ago is a slap in the face. Users and apps need significantly more storage space than they did four years ago. Flash prices have dropped by a factor of 5 or 10, and we’re paying more than ever for the devices themselves and the bandwidth to work around the issue.

    Compared to a Droid 1, introduced nearly four years ago, the HTC One and Galaxy S4 have more than 10 times the processing power and 8 times the memory. And the exact same internal storage capacity. The number of pictures and minutes of video you can record on the “modern device” is a fraction of what was possible with the four year old item. Videos are now 1080p. They weren’t even 720p four years ago. Pictures are 8-13 megapixels. You were lucky to get 5 in 2009.

    The median (not mean) specified storage on an Android device available when you walk into a carrier store is 16GiB of internal storage. That’s typically partitioned with around 10GiB of user accessible storage. I believe the O.G. Droid came with about 14GiB available on its SD card.

    Major carriers, who control pricing on devices and whose business model is designed around excessive charges for “premium features” love to offer phones with additional storage (32GiB) for $100 more than the “base model”.

    To everyone who says, “I just keep the music I really like on my phone, it’s fine”, and “I have good coverage, so I just stream it all”, and “I rarely go over my bandwidth on my family plan”: why are you apologizing for this decision that was made deliberately to cause you to needlessly spend time and money for the benefit of someone else?

    1. Seeing such high volume of comments for just this ONE issue should show as proof to folks like Google that the cloud is NOT a viable option for many, many consumers.

      They need to start listening.

      1. Add to this the fact that I live near Chicago and many many times inside buildings, train stations etc, I have NO signal. So what then? The Cloud only works if you can get to it and even then do I want to upload over 1TB of data onto a server that I have to pay rent on? I don’t think so..

      2. They do listen, They just don’t care. They actually gave the excuse that it was too complicated for the average user to figure out when they have two storage options, so they don’t allow a memory card slot. If the average user is too stupid to figure it out, they probably would never add in a memory card in the first place. Maybe Google figures we are too stupid to figure that out. They can get us to upgrade to more internal storage that way. Their reason was insulting.

  14. About that Google comment: Phandroid got the gist of it wrong. Google was saying that the average user cannot expect email to be private. That’s true. IP is a broadcast protocol and messages are not encrypted. GMAIL, on the other hand, does guarantee privacy. The web interface is https and they have a VPN between servers to prohibit snooping. P2P and encryption.

    Google is actually keeping your mail private. Non-gmail users may or may not have privacy, but shouldn’t just expect they do without knowing if their system provides it or not.

    That’s a far cry from screaming THEY’RE READING YOUR MAIL!

    1. I read the stuff and agree with your assessment, but you have to admit when you drop a letter in the mail you do expect the postman to open your letter and reading it for a laugh don’t you?
      You expect privacy in any correspondence. The way the goof ball at Google poorly spoke. He said people should not expect their email to be secure. Well that just isnt so. We SHOULD expect it just like we expect our mail to be delivered without opening it.

      1. It’s one thing to expect it, but in today’s world nothing is guaranteed private. I even had to cancel my CPU subscription cause it showed up opened and read through. Yes, by mail. I’m not saying it’s right, but it could be way worse.

      2. It’s a semantic problem. What what was said was accurate, it left open the possibility for misinterpretation. It would have better to say privacy can’t be assumed, because the technology (IP, SMTP) doesn’t inherently support it. However, toss on a HTTPS web interface, SMTPS and a VPN on top of IP and you have all the privacy you need from random prying eyes. And if you really want security that even the sysadmins at the server farms can’t touch, get yourself an RSA certificate and encrypt the text at the endpoints.

      3. postal mail is protected by laws, e-mail is not. the gov’t/most companies considers e-mail ( any electronic communiction without encryption) the equivalent of putting a message on a public bulletin board.

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      I agree with you, but you can always find a scenario where you don’t
      have enough storage on your phone or ipod. The only solution for that is
      for it to have a temporal cache of what you’ve recently looked at or
      listened to.

    3. When you send and receive email, the messages reside on more than one server. Even if I run my own private linux email server, the emails are still archived on other servers. That’s the problem with email privacy. Strong encryption is the solution, but very few people are interested in generating private keys and using passphrases for decryption.

  15. I agree with those who say it is better to have an sd slot and not need it, than to need it and not have it. This disappointing trend of removal of the sd function would be less so if devices came with adequate internal memory options. But they don’t. There’s really no reason why phones and tablets can’t come in 64 gb and 128 gb flavors – which people can pay for if they want or skip of they don’t. This, especially since people are using phones and tablets as all-in-one entertainment devices. Google encourages this, but won’t include sd card slots or generous internal storage in their devices. Game, music and video files aren’t becoming smaller, they’re becoming larger. I don’t understand why storage options can’t expand to accommodate these files. I love my new Nexus 7.2, but was disappointed that a 64 gb option wasn’t offered. I would’ve happily paid for that. My Razr Maxx has 16 gb internal memory. Good luck trying to stream All Access without running into memory issues. Of course, my phone has an sd slot too, but I can’t offload subscribed music onto my card because Google doesn’t allow that, even though I pay for “all access.”

  16. Google should make a universal WiFi (light fast speeds) that works in lots of cities(maybe destroying the Verizon coverage) and that includes unlimited data. That’s how Google should work if they want every Android user storing his or her information in the cloud.

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