What’s your preferred method for storing media: via SD card, or through the cloud?

by: Andrew GrushMarch 14, 2014

samsung galaxy s5 vs nexus 5 4

In Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and earlier, applications that had permission to access an SD card could read or write to just about any area of your removable storage. With the arrival of Android 4.4 KitKat, this is no longer the case.

While Google says there are several reasons for the changes made to SD with KitKat, many feel that Google is intentionally working to cripple SD cards in order to promote the cloud and its Google Drive service. This controversy is further fueled by the fact that Google slashed down its Drive pricing earlier this week.

The reality is that Google has been pushing away from SD for a while now, despite the fact that there are still many users out there that prefer local, expandable storage. This makes us wonder: how do you store your media, in the cloud or via SD? Does the SD card have a future on Android, and how do you feel about the changes to SD cards in KitKat?

Join us in the discussion, vote in our poll, and sound off in the comments.

Darcy LaCouvee

The cloud freaks me out. But it’s also such a magical, wonderful thing.

Don’t get me wrong – cloud connected services and streaming are magic – but as someone that travels regularly to track down the phones we all know and love, I’m often not in a position to just start streaming the content I want due to bandwidth constraints, or the fact that so much content that is streamed is geofenced due to draconian antiquated IP protectionist policies. Therefore, my love for 128GB microSDXC cards will likely keep me on sub Android 4.3 devices if Google really decides to push the envelope on this.

It’s all about choice. Those with power abuse it absolutely, and it’s a bit scary to think that Google would force millions of people to not be able to access their own data in a way that suits them best.

Choice is what we want – choice is why we opted for Android, and choice is why Android has become the amazing OS that we all know and love, that powers the mobile tech we all know and love. Worst case scenario, there will be simple work arounds, but so many in the future, if Google continues in this trajectory, will not realize this, and will grow frustrated with Google.

In the end, I believe they will do the right thing and acquiesce due to immense public pressure.

Jonathan Feist

First and foremost, the Google Drive price cuts are a bit of a joke. Don’t get me wrong, the new prices are great, arguably the best prices around for arguably the best cloud service around. The reason I laugh is that I am a legacy user of the OLD Google Docs extra storage accounts. I pay $50 / year for 200GB. That’s right, Google’s new prices are pretty much back to what they used to be, for the lower tiers at least.

As a Nexus device user, I have learned to embrace the cloud. Within the first week of having my Nexus 7 tablet in hand, I made sure to purchase a good OTG cable and played with Nexus Media Importer. I actually remember spouting to the world that I had a 1TB Nexus 7. The excitement lasted less than a week and I even stopped carrying around flash drives altogether shortly after that.

It was a natural progression for someone like myself to try out absolutely every cloud storage solution I could find. It helped that I was researching cloud solutions for my workplace at the time too. In the end, I settled on three solutions for myself – Google Drive, Google Play Music and PogoPlug.

Google Drive. With 200GB purchased plus 1/5/10/15GB of free space under my belt, I’ve had no issues uploading all of my personal documents and my entire photo collection. An old habit I have not shaken is to upload all of my files that contain sensitive personal information as password protected ZIPs. I trust Google with most things, but better safe than sorry.

Hands-down, I recommend Google Drive for business. Access control, collaborative document editing and Google+ Hangouts integration can be absolutely priceless tools for groups that work closely together.

Pogoplug. This is a service that has its limitations, but it is possible to get unlimited cloud storage for about $50 / year. Most of us have terabytes of files kicking around, and a lot of that is media. Media is where Pogoplug shines, built right into the web interface is a media player solution, so you can access your files and play your music/movies from anywhere.

Google Play Music. This is where I have a confession to make, despite having the better part of my music collection in Play Music, I still pin a few GB to my device. Feel free to categorize that as Cloud or local storage, as you please.

Finally, there are a small amount of files that I do keep on my devices. Ringtones and wallpapers for example. Truth is, I only have about 200MB of local files that actually live on the device, the remaining are just passing through. Every once in a while I wish I had more storage space to drop a movie or two before I go offline for a flight or road trip, but that is when I pull out the trusty old OTG and a flash drive.

I respect the difficulties that go with crippled SD cards, especially for users that have not, will not or cannot embrace cloud storage solutions. For many, cloud solutions just are not possible, this is something Google will have to keep in mind as it attempts to expand into emerging markets that do not have ‘always on’ infrastructure. But it may not be for me to pass judgement, as I have not really dealt with the intricacies of an SD card in an Android device for a while now.

Final thought, the inclusion of big media, like 4K video recording and 50MP pictures, will drastically change the storage needs of users. A few GB is enough to store thousands of 5MP images and hours of 720p, even 1080p, video, but just a few short minutes of 4K video recording could cripple a 16GB phone. I do not see this changing my overall media storage techniques, but an SD card will become critical for temporary storage if we do not start seeing devices with 128GB of internal storage.

Joe Hindy

I’m nothing if not adaptable and thus I’ve learned to live in both worlds. Currently, I use SD card storage on my Galaxy Note 3 to tote around my 18GB of music along with some extraneous stuff like emulator games and my Nandroid backups. I also have the camera set to store images and video I capture on my SD card by default. Usually if I have a phone with an SD card slot I’ll do this same thing because it keeps the internal storage on my device clean and clear for things like app data or anything I may have to download. If I do not have a phone with an SD card (notable recent examples include an HTC One and a Nexus 4), then I have cloud services in place with all of those same files.

So yes, I have 18GB worth of songs on my SD card and on my Google Music account. I have all my images and video auto-backup to Dropbox and Google+ (it’s pretty handy to have them in both places). I don’t store emulator ROMs or my Nandroid backup on the cloud because they’re too large so I keep those on my hard drive on my computer. So if I were to ever migrate to a phone that doesn’t have external storage options, I’m still pretty much prepared to go. With Google actively working to kill off external storage, I’m glad I took these extra steps because I apparently I needed to.

Personally I’m not too happy about Google’s effort to kill off SD cards. In my current desktop (and my last laptop and my prior desktop) I have an SSD drive where I keep all my apps and then a separate, much larger (and cheaper) hard drive to carry all my media and games (since the only performance hit games take on an HDD are loading times and not FPS as most important game resources are loaded into RAM). This allows my larger programs like Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop, 3DS Max, Visual Studio, Unity, etc to run at optimum speeds while the stuff that doesn’t require high read/write speeds (videos, music, etc) can reside elsewhere.

I like this set up for two reasons. The first being that flash storage technology is still very expensive. Getting even a 120GB SSD costs more than a 1TB HDD in most cases. It’s the same with phone storage. Look at the difference between prices of a 16GB iPhone and a 64GB iPhone. There is a $200 difference between the 16GB and 64GB models. Since there is literally no other difference between the two other than storage size, that means 48GB costs you $200.

On Amazon, a trustworthy 64GB Micro SD card costs you right around $55.

Thus I can pick up a 16GB phone, fork over $55 for the extra storage and end up with 84GB of space (minus OS) on my device and pay less money than simply buying the 64GB variant on my own.

Some may be asking why I need that much storage. It’s really quite simple: because cloud storage is incapable of the read/write speeds necessary for what I need the extra storage for. I can’t read/write fast enough to play an emulator game off of cloud storage. If I’m somewhere without internet connection, I have lost access to all of my files.

I think my biggest beef with cloud storage is that you never actually “own” it. You rent it. With an SD card, I fork out a few bucks and the damn thing belongs to me. I don’t have to shell out another few bucks every month to prevent a guy with a crowbar breaking into my house to repo my SD card. It’s mine. It belongs to me. If I lost my job tomorrow and made no more money, I would still have an SD card. I would not still have cloud storage.

Then you have problems like Megaupload where your files may end up in the hands of federal agencies at moment’s notice and you lose them forever. The US government isn’t going to confiscate my SD card because some guy with a ridiculous name is doing some superfluous things in a country I don’t live in.

Overall, the problem of going to cloud storage rests in two areas: the internet isn’t ubiquitous (yet) and cloud storage is never your storage. Since both of those issues are very unlikely to ever change (Google is never going to just “give” you 250GB of their servers forever), it’s going to be very unlikely that people will sit back and take Google shutting down SD cards with a smile and a wave. Especially since they’ve already invested their hard earned money in a technology that Google is trying to kill and then charge people more money to “temporarily rent” the same amount of storage to fix a problem they caused.

If it were anyone other than Google, I think people would be making a much bigger deal about this.

TL;DR: I am prepared for both scenarios (SD card or cloud storage) but I prefer SD cards because of privacy, connection and ownership concerns. I do not agree with what Google is doing to SD cards because cloud storage alternatives do not yet live up to the price and availability of SD card storage.

Robert Triggs

For me this is simple, I’m firmly in the SD Card camp and I’m disappointed to see the slot become somewhat of a rarity.

Although I make use of Google Drive for documents, I’m nowhere near the stage where I need to pay for storage, and I don’t really fancy renting expensive online space when I can grab another hard drive or bigger SD card for a fraction of the price. I still make regular use of my PC, and like to keep my music, pictures, and movies on a physical hard drive, as it’s just quicker to transfer and backup files over USB than it is to constantly transfer files over the web. Given the limited storage space offered in mobile devices (I have over terabyte of media), I like to swap stuff over fairly regularly, and my PC is the most convenient way to do it.

Furthermore, a large number of customers are on data plans which don’t offer unlimited data, and many are stuck with speeds that aren’t particularly useful for transferring a lot of data quickly. Regularly streaming and swapping out high quality video content on the move is out of the question for most people. Even on a decent broadband connection you’re faced with pretty slow upload speeds if you want to backup your video collection online.

On the other hand, I’m happy to see the prices of cloud storage come down, as it certainly makes it a more viable option for those who are already paying for bigger and faster data plans and those who no longer own PCs with upgradable hard drives.

I’m disappointed that Google is trying to push people into the online space, as I don’t see it meeting most people’s mobile media needs. One day when we’re all using super quick 5G data networks and unlimited data packages are more reasonably priced, I might change my mind. Until then, I’m very much pro SD card and won’t be buying any devices which don’t support it.

Adam Koueider

When the Nexus S was released without an SD card, Google was signalling intent. SD cards are old news. But the reality of the matter is that we live in a data driven world. Storage is everything, whether it is physical storage or cloud storage, people need to store stuff somewhere.

Anybody who lives in Australia knows that if you’re going to be going through a major carrier, you’ll be paying through the nose for a limited amount of data. 4G has just now become reasonably ubiquitous in Sydney, and even then, I still can’t get 4G where I live. So to tell me to make do with 16GB of storage with a 1GB of (mostly 3G) mobile data, and no SD card is fairly crazy. But I actually had to make do with this exact situation and I lived. I owned a Nexus 4 for a good 6 months, and I sacrificed a few things. I uninstalled all, but the most primitive games and I had to leave out the fairly large (FLAC) music collection I’d been carrying around on an SD card in my Galaxy S3. I used Spotify for almost all of my music, and I got through it, but what I don’t get is that to move forward, I had to go backwards. I had to forgo all of the stuff that made my phone a multiple purpose device, to fit in a few more pictures.

NAND prices are going down, and that’s great. But what I’ve failed to see is those price savings pushed down to me, the consumer. Samsung promises a 64GB flagship every year, but you never see it in carrier stores, or on shop floors. Apple prices the upgraded iPhone storage ludicrously (the 64GB iPhone 5S is over $1000 dollars!) and it’s rather obvious that SD cards need to stay. Sure I can make do without an SD card, but I’d have a significantly worse experience.

A few years ago, removable batteries were a staple of a smartphone. The iPhone was slammed for a lack of a removable battery, but now, removable batteries are extremely rare in flagship smartphones. But the difference between battery and storage technology is that the batteries in smartphones have gotten much better in the past 2-3 years. With this year’s flagships carrying enough juice to help carry all, but the heaviest users through a day’s use, the need for a removable battery has pretty much become useless for most consumers. Storage on the other hand, doesn’t look to be going anywhere and instead we are being pushed toward the cloud.

The cloud has its advantages, but even Google itself realises not everybody has the best — or even any — internet connection. Hence, Project Loon, which was announced last year as a means to get the whole world online. For the cloud to work, and work well, it will take many countries a few more years for it to become a viable solution, because right now, it just isn’t for a lot of people. And even then, we would probably be better off with physical storage. What was ever wrong with that anyways?

Sure, SD cards do have issues with security, games and apps, but they serve extremely useful purposes for music, movie and picture collections which would allow storage space to be used for apps. Micro SD cards don’t even require design to be adapted as much as a removable battery would, and they don’t take up that much space as well, so for now, chalk me up as another one in the SD card camp.

[poll id=”484″]

  • Jayfeather787

    SD Card. Always and forever.

    • MasterMuffin

      It’s funny how the cloud worshipping people are nowhere to be found here. They’re scurred of the amount of people that are right ;)

      • rubber chicken

        i have a large amount of cloud data but i only really use it for backups of photos and other small files as to upload movies and tv series to it would take weeks , i have over 30TB off-line on Hard drives , i would love nothing more to put it online but its not feasible yet and to access any of my media files would then be subject to data transmission speeds etc

        • MasterMuffin

          I would be okay with cloud if the speeds were as high as with SSD :)

        • AndroidBrian

          Your a hoarder! 30TB! Delete some sh!t. Let it go man. You dont have to keep Your complete 1080p seasons of Dexter. Just delete it. You’ll never watch it again.

          • rubber chicken

            no chance i have completely unlimited high speed broadband and go for top quality media only which obviously takes up a lot of data , 30tb is not a lot if you think about it only 10 3TB drives which are getting increasingly cheap

      • poop

        I’m not a cloud “worshipper”, thanks asshole, but I’ve never needed an sd card since getting a 32GB device. I hold photos, documents (mainly), and some videos in the cloud, haven’t used physical storage outside what’s come with devices in some years.

        • MasterMuffin

          Stopped reading after 7 words

      • Shark Bait

        I love the clouds!!

      • Vardan Nazaretyan

        Supporting both the cloud and SD here though I prefer cloud over. Not because cloud is better than SD (it really isn’t, ATM anyway), but because I’m a hipster. I prefer the cloud before it will become cool!

  • ᕙ(⇀‸↼‶)ᕗ

    Ask this to a pure iOS/Apple user and all they talk about is the Cloud and how awesome it is.

    • مالكولم هولينغسوورث

      not the ones that work with me wait till they have stream on some slow wifi and realize tthey are out of luck

    • wezi427

      What other choice do they really have?

  • vgergo

    I would never by any phone which doesn’t have the SD card option. What’s wrong with the option? OPTION = no one is forced to use it

    • rubber chicken

      i totally agree that is the main reason i opted for a s4 rather than an HTC one.

      • Jesus

        Same with me.

        + multi window
        (+ hardware buttons)

  • Joey Dye

    I like the idea of cloud storage. Everything available everywhere. But there are some things I’d rather always have with me. This is important, especially considering how a lot of devices still only have 16gb internal storage.

  • MITM

    I keep Music and files related to and including custom ROMs on my sd card

    On the cloud I store ebooks, APKs, and various documents

  • Grman Rodriguez

    Well it’s a toss up, on one side cloud storage is cheaper (I stream my music for free on Spotify rather than buying the songs, and Onedrive gives me 10GB of free storage for the most important stuff I may need), and the idea of always having your files available to you is awesome, however the fact that I’d need access to the Internet at all times means that I rely on Wi-Fi or my signal to listen to music for example, and the streaming means my Internet bill gets bigger, so I also like to have my files locally where I can access them with no problems.

    • Wilbur T.

      Don’t use any clouds anywhere. They are all too slow, and i am on a 100mbps symetrical connection. It is faster coming from a chip inside my device than some unknown place that some unknown person or persons are making sure it is safe. No thanks.
      All of my stuff is stored on my laptop, then on a raid 1 system at home. In the EXTREMELY rare occasion I need a file, I have ways to get into my home system.
      I like sunshine, not clouds.

      • Grman Rodriguez

        I’ve always been able to deal with the speeds (how much Speed could you need to download a word document or seeing an image)
        But still, I find the cloud useful, just not a full replacement for on board storage

  • مالكولم هولينغسوورث

    I work offshore and the wifi on the vessels I’m on is incredibly slow so I carry my otg cable dawn near impossible to stream…I hate how they try to make adapt to shit

  • Guest123

    64GB SD card holds all I need for general use with plenty of room to spare. 500GB external HDD for the big stuff ;)

    I just don’t see the need to use the cloud that much anymore. What, it’s always there? It’s always there on my SD as well, and I can link up just fine to my other devices if need be, and it doesn’t kill battery as much or use data. etc.

    The cloud is fine for those that need to work on projects together, but for “storing” I don’t see the point.

  • KillEmAllx

    My storage setup:

    PC with 128GB SSD (OS and programs), 1TB HDD (mostly games) and 2TB external HDD (media, photos, music etc.), plus my phone with 16GB internal (OS and apps) + 64GB SD card (camera, files etc).

    Cloud Storage:

    25GB Google Drive (documents and programming files I need synced both in my desktop and my laptop) and 100+GB Copy (backup of all my photos, music and documents).

    If someone needs more cloud storage, I recommend Copy.com. Sign up for 20GB cloud storage now with this link (5GB bonus included):

  • Guest

    I agree. With joe i like google but the thing is google shuts down. What i like ex sd cards bump etc

  • rogue3

    It might be different if I had unlimited data, but as I’m not always around a WiFi network I keep all my music/movies/etc. on an SD card. My data plan also make me wary about streaming more media from the web (YouTube, Netflix, HBOGo, etc.) as well.

  • EvenInTheDarkestHour

    Google is making a strong case for cloud storage with their very reasonable pricing structure. Running a Nexus, other than using a dongle, there isn’t much debate. I still want sd, but as long as coverage is good, it’s not much of an issue.

  • Guest123

    If anyone actually reads the provided link to the discussion about google fubaring the external SD card they will see just how dumb google is being here.

    Clear and obvious use cases, which are admitted need to be addressed, were never considered.

    google just locked it up. . . in the stupidest way possible. Not even an option to white-list an app to have full permission.

    Furthermore, I don’t know about anyone else, but I haven’t seen any app write to my external SD in a non-obvious way. They almost always write to a fold that is obviously linked to that app (e.g. /TWRP/) or to a common folder (e.g. /Android/).

    Now the internal sd memory is a cluster fuck with files tossed about. . . . google’s resoning for their change lacks substance, and their choices lack intelligence. Therefore, it seems obvious there must be something driving this decision besides intelligence, user benefit, security, etc. and I bet that it is google’s way to push people to use their cloud/services more — after all it will be the most integrated solution.

    if google continues down this path then I won’t be using android for much longer — this is the kind of crap apple does!

    • yeahman45

      google is slowly following apple sucker’s path

    • rubber chicken

      the reason is to force all your data into their cloud so they effectively can control it.

  • smokebomb

    SD all the way until we start getting 128GB onboard as a standard.

    • Be Cool

      Even then, I want SD option.

      • yeahman45

        me too.. lol 128GB + 64GB is better than 128GB..hehe

    • rubber chicken

      its not even as if memory is expensive its just manufacturers being difficult.

  • Tuấn Ankh

    To me, the cloud is just for backing up stuff, like photos.
    SD card is the winner. I can access my stuff everywhere I go, and it doesn’t eat up my 4G data plan, ever.

  • WestFiasco

    Cloud storage, if data plans were a one time fee.

  • Shark Bait

    I have cheap unlimited data, with good speeds and coverage, plus I spend most of my time in WIFI so i have little reason for a card now. I use google drive, google music, and google plus for photos all the time. Now with game saves moving into the cloud I think im fully there!!

  • wezi427

    I prefer the SD Card. I also think that network providers are forcing people to use SD Cards because unlimited data is going the way of the dinosaur. People don’t always have access to Wi-Fi. I also like the fact that I can take my SD Card and use it with other devices that don’t require an internet connection. It pisses me off that Google is forcing people use the cloud.

    • rubber chicken

      plus also i thnk one of the main reasons they do not want you having an sd card is to force you to dump your data in the cloud so it can be spied upon

      • wezi427

        I don’t keep anything in the cloud that I would want other people to look at. I back all my important things to an external hard drive.

  • Always SD Card

  • dandroid13

    Cloud will never be an option, it’s only rich people on contries where 4G is good. 99% of the people aren’t in this situation.

    • rmcrys

      That had nothing to do with rich people. No Country in the world has 100 Mbps cellphone connection all over the places, or compatible phones, or 30.000 mAh batteries to handle it. SD is a must.

      • yeahman45

        still some people say they prefer cloud storage(I will never understand why..on top of that, you need to pay for mobile data and in some cases for the cloud storage)….. -.- and it’s those people that encourage google to push sd card out…

        • rubber chicken

          ah that’s in The USA , in the UK we have unlimited tariffs on data on some packages & 4G in some areas which makes cloud data far more viable , i have all my music on Google music and stream it via Bluetooth to the car audio , it rocks.I have never understood why such an advanced country like the US is so poor on internet connection costs.

          • Guest123

            The US is poor in many ways, and they are generally due to corporate and government corruption.

            Even now, corporations are pushing local governments to block google fiber from coming into areas, and they are doing it.

            US — land of the free, government by the people and for the people. . . my ass. . . only if you have enough money.

          • rubber chicken

            yeah i get that impression , at least in the UK it is a small island so everything is tightly regulated with less chance for massive corporations to stir up problems and luckily we have a few very good isp’s (BT or Virgin not included!)

          • smokebomb

            “I have never understood why such an advanced country like the US is so poor on internet connection costs.”

            It’s the magic of capitalism. Our big telcos buy politicians to deregulate their industry and pass laws that benefit them and then fuck the customer so hard every month they can’t walk right.

          • Arturo Raygoza

            I use syncme app that syncs my music and pictures over to my laptop thru WiFi. just as a back up, I also sync to MEGA but I wish I could have an SD although I haven’t filled up my n5 32gb yet

          • Music Fan

            Bluetooth is a lossy compression format (throws out information
            deemed not important) as is the long-obsolete MP3 format. So that’s
            passing music through lossy compression two times, which is awful. I’m
            simply stunned that consumers have run off the cliff on this, and are
            not demanding uncompressed high quality audio. For many people (most?)
            they are hearing audio quality far inferior to that of a CD released 34
            years ago in 1980.

            24-bit 96kHz audio has been available to
            consumers for 10 years now, and it’s time consumers stop being dazzled
            by shiny screens, and start demanding quality. The music and movie
            industry loves that people are satisfied with low quality MP3 and streaming 720p movies.

  • John Hamernick-Ramseier

    I’m setting up owncloud this weekend because I can use my external hard drive and old laptop as my personal cloud storage. This has benefit of I own the storage, but I miss the SD card. Not having an SD card has cause me to set up my personal cloud.

    • Pal

      Have you considered RAVPower FileHub ? You can plug USB HDD or SD Card on it and access through Wi-Fi on the go. It’s quite popular.

      • John Hamernick-Ramseier

        I want to keep my hard drive at home and own cloud allows my wife to access it from her iPhone and let’s me access it in my phone and laptop

  • guy with guts

    As they asked media files i voted SD card. I store my daily documents and old photo albums in Google drive. But what about those massive HD movies. Downloading them in the first place is pain for many. And uploading them back to the cloud is total nonsense.

  • YankeeJatt

    SD card always for following reasons
    1) i’m paying $90 for 3gb
    2) don’t want NSA to host my files
    3) LTE is not available everwhere
    4) I don’t want google to scan my stuff and shows me ads related to that

    • rmcrys

      Plus I want to copy files at 10 – 15 MB / seg and not 10x slower.

  • Mystery Man

    Maybe just make 32gb the default because you know flash storage is very cheap? Still include sd card of course

  • mickey4mice

    Lack of SD card is my biggest peeve with Nexus 5 & HTC One. I use cloud for nonsensitive documents and other light stuff, but nothing beats local storage for music and movies. Thankfully, Meenova comes to the rescue with a relatively elegant solution, it’s no internal SD card, you can’t charge while using it but still a good workaround to a very annoying problem.

    • yeahman45

      and with ongoing reports on how “not private” data on the cloud is…sd card ftw!

      samsung ftw for still supporting sd card.. that’s why my next smartphone is a samsung one

    • M3D1T8R

      Yeah I was overjoyed to find that great little Meenova product a few months ago. Bought two so I have a backup. Makes accessing my 60+GB music collection on my 16GB DNA a brease. On my Nexus 7 not quite as easy because I have to transfer files first with Nexus Media Importer, but still useful. For this reason, as well as Foxfi wifi hoyspot support being broken with Kitkat, I will be denying the coming 4.4 upgrade from my DNA as long as possible, and probably rooting at some point too.

  • Stefan

    I don’t understand why you can’t have two options like:
    1. Let any app read/write in the SD card
    2. Don’t let any any app read/write what the files of others
    Also, the best way would be to format the card in a permission enabled system like NTFS (a little slow and old, but works on every system without new drivers) or ext4 (with drivers for access on Windows). By doing this you could get pretty good security and give the users a normal way of accessing their files.

    • JosephHindy

      “Don’t let any app read/write what the files of others”

      And you just killed File Managers lol.

      • Guest123

        and caused every app to create a duplicate file in order to make any modifications to a file, etc. . . just so stupid — amazingly it’s how apple does it pffff….

  • Andrew White

    I was looking forward to my next smartphone with
    Kitkat on board, but now it will simply be about buying the very best hardware. Which will include an SD slot and support for up to 128GB, so that 4k can be accomodated.
    In terms of alternative operating systems, ‘Sailfish’ immediately comes to mind.
    Windows 8.1 is similarly ‘cloud centric’ on my Surface Pro 2, which I didn’t realise till it came home. Sold it recently and bought a powerful second hand laptop with an SD slot, installed a Sata 3 (120GB) SSD and run Linux Mint 16.
    I will definitely be staying with Jelly Bean on my current phone (SD carded) because it works well.

  • Jordana Lewis

    I’m using my first non micro SD added device (Nexus 5). I made sure to buy the 32 GB version to make sure I had ample space for documents and app data. I don’t watch movies on my phone, so I don’t carry them around. I’m currently using Play Music, but that’s only because my iPod broke and I haven’t replaced it yet. On my Nexus, not having the SD card hasn’t started affecting me yet, but I know I’d be sunk without one on my 16 GB Note 10.1 (1st gen). Reason being I’m an engineering student and I use Lecture Notes. I save the notes to my 32 GB SD card and it’s almost full! 16 GB internal definitely wasn’t enough. Not even a 32 GB would have been enough. I now have to upgrade to a 64 GB card. We definitely need SD cards. For my Nexus 5 I’ve already decided to buy one of the USB- micro USB – OTG combos. A 64 GB version.

    • Groud Frank

      Please ignore the immense amount of ignorance in the comment section. The changes in Kit Kat will not affect someone like you. The update didn’t render the SD card slot unusable. You can still access and store media(videos, documents, pictures, etc) on your SD card. What has changed is the ability of 3rd party apps to alter folders that doesn’t belong to them.

      • Jordana Lewis

        Thanks for the reply. I should have made it clearer that my response is more in line with whether or not just cloud storage is enough as opposed to cloud plus SD cards in terms of availability of your media, not so much with Kit Kat’s SD changes. Still someone else might see your response and get clarification, so once again, thanks. [EDIT]: Edited a sentence to Better reflect my line of thinking.

  • Froggy

    Its a no brainer, no WiFi access = no cloud. SD = always accessible.

  • Pal

    SD Card all the way, unless you can play game iso from cloud directly. If you play lot of emulators iso (epsxe, ppsspp, drastic, reicast), even 32GB sdcard will be eaten up quickly. Cloud is not the option.

    I always hope Android OS add support for ext4 filesystem on sdcard, as fat32 on sdcard larger than 64GB will be very inefficient, and subject to microsoft licensing too. But instead of doing that, they choose to go away from sdcard and embrace the cloud..

  • Be Cool

    Hope at least Samsung, always will give us SD support(as for S5 is even 128GB SD support)
    Samsung is also may be, the only one OEM, that makes “Apps to SD” possible on their devices, no matter that stock Android version doesn’t allow it.
    No matter how big is the internal storage, the SD option is always welcome. For several reasons.
    Cloud is good thing, but “only cloud” option is BS.
    Waving hanging dongles on the smartphones is disaster.

  • rmcrys

    The always/almost only cloud is nonsense: that option requires permanent, fast, non limited Internet access, plus it drains the battery a lot faster. At Home/work with high speed WiFi it works, but most people do not have WiFi or LTE “everywhere”, than the whole cloud concept simply is suitable for a bunch of IT people, living in the Center of a city, with WiFi Internet at the job. I would say that does not apply to more than 95% of the buyers. Also it is not good always having cellphone radiation at full power while you listen music or watch a movie.

  • Rick jaan

    SD card is always handy …. coz u can still use cloud storage beside sd card ……

  • yeahman45

    sd card! not everyone/country can afford mobile data

  • SD card just cause…
    1: Able to gain access of content such as media, files and more on-the-go as it is IN MY PHONE DUHHHH.
    2: I don’t need to sign up for an account just to use it unlike cloud.
    3: If the files were to be deleted or corrupted, it will be entirely my fault instead of blaming the Cloud company.
    4: If it’s full due to amount of 4K video capture and more, I’ll just go buy a new one.
    5: the standard 32GB on a phone is simply not enough as due to the software size, we might just get 27GB free or worst if you have a 16GB Sammy phone, 8GB of it will be free and SD card is wayyyyy essential.
    So, enough talk… SD ALL THE WAY!

  • asd

    I will never buy a phone that does not have a sd card because it is more convenient but i back up my files on the cloud

  • namesib

    SD card always. I want permanent access to my files without having to redownload them and ‘media’ isn’t just music and films. I need space for large apps like Bard’s Tale, Agarest War, Chaos Rings etc. The cloud does nothing for me in this case. I think about 45GB+ of my external SD card is used for apps alone. Once the new 128GB one drops in price slightly I’ll definitely be a buyer.

  • Milton

    SD card will always be better, I don’t know who was the dope that thought the cloud was a better option, I don’t trust that cloud thing, my data just wouldn’t be safe there

  • Nobody

    I signed up for a cloud storage service (OneDrive) in order to test its security protocol. I hacked into it with little trouble. The same happened with a few other services. The “cloud” is a joke. It’s only purpose should be convenience files (music and movies); any sensitive data (personal & business) should be put on storage locations that are local or immediately physical (USB, hard drives, microSD, etc). If you’re going to use a cloud storage, remember, nothing personal or valuable. I couldn’t get into iCloud or Google Drive, so those two are “secure,” I guess, but if they wanted to, though it’s illegal, they could look at your data, if they wanted to enough.

  • radiotrib

    I’ve never filled the 32GB on my phone yet .. I don’t try to carry everything around, just my current choice of music (about 10 gigs out of the 500 or so that I have) and I use my desktop raid as a backup .. other than that i’m a 100% cloud fan – since I actually develop SaaS software for a job I guess I’m biased, but SD cards do seem a little ‘antiquated’ and they can corrupt very easily.

  • Xajel

    I believe that what Google is doing is okay, they’re concerned of security and privacy, but the problem is with the way they’re doing it…

    I think that microSD is a must for a lot of contents like music, pictures ( for camera lovers ), movies.. specially for travelers and peoples with slow or bandwidth limited plans… true I have Google Music account ( which is btw isn’t available in my country which is another reason of why Google is doing it wrong… forcing peoples to go cloud while the services them self’s are not available in every country )… but I do keep my current lisitening in the microSD… not because of no internet, but I like to save my bandwidth for other more important things, other things I’m missing is the way Google is protecting every thing, I mean why there’s no other Google Music client ? why there’s no API so other applications can use the service also… + even in desktop/laptop, the only way to use Google Music is through the browser… making our beloved keyboard media shortcuts, or desktop media players absolute…

    I like Cloud music service as it allows me to access all my library from every where, but I don’t like how I’m limited on the ways of accessing it

    As for applications security, I think Google should make use of encryption and force apps that use the microSD to encrypt sensitive data but keep other data open ( like media files for chat applications )… but they have to figure a way to ensure that backup applications will work, the point is… there’s no way to backup applications data in case someone wants to reset his device or move to newer one, unless the app it self provide a way to backup/import the data which most apps don’t… they could make use of cloud to save all applications data also.. but they just don’t

    • Guest123

      so, are you saying up until 4.4 google wasn’t concerned with security or google is just so stupid they didn’t see the security issue there for years?

      either their a bunch of morons or didn’t care about security until just recently, can’t have it both ways, and that leads many of us to conclude they are doing it for other reasons.

      there are lots of apps that any user can download via the play store that would allow them to lock personal or sensitive files on their external SD card. As far as “organization” that just a bunch of horse sh!t.

      anyway you look at it google has an agenda here, and their current excuses for doing what they are doing don’t wash.

      • Xajel

        Don’t get me wrong, Google is planning on this for years now, they noticed this change since Android 3.0 but the change wasn’t active or forced to the manufacturers, so manufacturers just disabled it…

        Google now doesn’t want this and might be forcing manufacturers to not disable this.. we don’t know for sure as we have to wait for more devices from different makers to be upgraded to 4.4 and see…

        and as I told you, the current way of how apps are using the microSD has some flaws if the apps doesn’t encrypt the data and a lot of apps will not encrypt the data making these data open to any other app in the device…

        Google now wants to change this, but what I see is that they’re doing it using the wrong way, why not having organised structure in the microSD and apps have their private folder where no other app can access and also theres some public area where all apps can access ( media, pictures, videos )… and allow only System apps to have full access to the microSD… of course rooted apps will always have full access as they can bypass the limits for non-root apps…

  • Luka Mlinar

    Considering the NSA intercepts and stores all data moved to online storage, it’s better to just put everything on SD. Or use MEGA.

    • EvenInTheDarkestHour

      If the agency can access your phone, and it wants your data… Do you think it’s really any safer on a card?

      • Luka Mlinar

        They could but they aren’t. That would need a crap ton of people. Also you can’t really extract data without being detected. Intercepting data is a fool proof plan.

  • Mattya1989

    Micro SD card for me.

  • ryq24

    Sd card of course. Cloud can be hacked!

  • bigtrucker26

    I use the sd card, and I periodically get bigger ones as they become available. I store gigs of audio books and a few tv shows on them, because I am a trucker. I often go places where the network is unstable or unavailable, and I want to be able to listen to my audio books (usually jacked into the truck stereo), and catch up on 30 year old tv series I grew up with, but never got around to seeing the whole series…, when I am sitting on a dock, waiting for the truck to be (un)loaded. Building design, and occasionally cell jammers mean that I need a in device solution. When I want to do something…, I don’t want to be looking for signal, or begging for net access to do it, besides, alot of customers won’t let you out of their holding pens while they’re working your truck. For me it’s not a data price, it’s purely about reliability.

  • Heisenberg

    Until we get full 4G coverage, unlimited 4G data and better battery life on phones, I’m sticking to SD cards. I only use the cloud to back up important data on my phone from time to time.

  • [S]unjay Burn[s] Red

    It’s SD card or nothing.

  • AndroidBrian

    SD all the way. It’s not even close. Paying for storage monthly!? F that. A one time payment of $50 for a 64gb Micro SD. Or $10 a month payment for 50gb of cloud storage at Dropbox. That’s not even mentioning the obvious benefits of internal storage.

    • Heisenberg

      I agree your comment but did you read about Google slashing Google Drive storage prices? $1.99 for 100GB per month!

      • AndroidBrian

        Yeah I read about that on AA. It does seem cheap. $25 a year for the rest of your life, or one payment of $50. Not to mention the $50 option requires no network.

        Its kinda funny. Even with it being so affordable, its still not worth it IMO.

      • Joseph Olson

        The whole issue I have is that even with dropbox I can burn 100MB of data in a 20 minute drive home.

  • lol

    SD card 10000 times over. Idc but i dont feel safe by clouding my photos and private life in servers that people can access…

  • Tim B.

    I’m in the mix of both crowd. The tier data plans makes using cloud for everything really unrealistic for me. I use my own sftp server so I don’t use Google or drop box other then pictures. Things like this, allowing encrypted bootloaders, and carrier bloat, locking out permission management, is really starting to make me loose interest in android all together.

  • Joshua Hill

    Well said Darcy, I hope Google listens.

    SD card for me, streaming data costs me money. Accessing my SD card = free.

  • Ramsudharsan Madhavan

    The problem with the cloud is that it is not easily accessible when needed! The uploaded files have to be downloaded again and if the file size is large, it not only swallows the data plan and bandwidth but also takes time to download! We also cannot rely ourselves on cloud storage as the Internet is not certain! I think Google is forcing people to use their services! Recently, a mobile called Moto G released by Google had initially OTG able support after the KitKat update. By this support, people can use their external storage device by plugging it on the phone! But I heard from many that Google has removed that feature after an update! This instance clearly proves that Google is forcing people in an indirect approach!

    Think wise, act wise!

  • Groud Frank

    *Sigh* people need to CLFreakO big time on this.
    1. Google isn’t try to kill SD cards and the Kit Kat update did not render your your SD card slot useless. They stopped Apps with read/write permission from altering folders that do not belong to them.
    2. You can still store media(documents, pictures, music,etc) on external SD cards and access them from your phone.
    3. I, as well as you, should be much more concerned and outraged about apps with r/w permission writing anywhere(banking app folders etc) on an external SD card than breaking functionality of some poorly coded apps that should have been programmed to only write to files that belong only to them in the first place.
    4. You want malware and poorly written apps writing to any external SD card folder?
    5. The people who are upset with this are the same people who were saying, “F U Samsung phones, the Nexus 5 is the bestest!” a few months ago.
    6. The people who this would really hurt are the really tech-savy people and tinkerers and they have the means and ability to flash a custom ROM that works around the issue.
    7. This is actually good news for Android presence in the business world. Business don’t have to worry about this huge security risk previous versions of Android presented with its permissions system.

    • bvaisoft

      You still don’t get it, do you? Apps still can write anywhere on internal storage where 99.99% of the apps write files, so you didn’t solve any problem. But as external sd card is concerned, you can’t even rename picture or mp3, you can’t edit mp3 tags, edit pictures, create sub folders, backup your internal storage etc.

      • Groud Frank

        http://m.androidcentral.com/kitkat-sdcard-changes There you go. You’re welcome :)

        • bvaisoft

          I am sure you can read articles, and?

          • Groud Frank

            And you read it and educate yourself. Ignorance is such a dangerous thing :)

          • bvaisoft

            Ignorance is what you show here. Unfortunately, I have to deal with tons of angry customers having lost the very functionality they bought their device for.

          • Groud Frank

            Just remember what I said.

          • bvaisoft

            Nothing of what you said really holds. Check your facts, apply some logic, maybe take a programming course here and there. Bye.

  • DarxideGarrison

    Cloud storage is great but its a plus to SD card options especially if you’re not near a good Wi-Fi or LTE area. Sadly my Nexus 5 & 7 only have 32gb internal with no expandable memory but my Galaxy Note 10.1 a 32gb internal w/ 64gb SD card. But now that I think about it, why the hell do I need more memory than that? So yeah I’m good either way! But Google needs to understand we need options!

  • Tyrone_83

    Nobody likes cloud services on phones. I wish they would stop forcing it down people throats. What happens when that cloud goes offline. People can’t retrieve their pictures or other documents. Rather having an SD card it’s only without and doesn’t offline line.

    Anybody who picks online cloud services for phones over SD cards are idiots. Sorry to say but its true.

  • Hellz

    i would like to see google use cloud effectively with 512 mb of high internet data a month. plus, when i need my music the most is when i travel to a nearby town few times a week and there are two mountains on my way there and i can barely 2g network coverage, so its sd for me

  • Fitzgerald42

    SD card. Screw clouds

  • Adon

    SD Card for me. (that Nexus looks really Nice through)

  • BuffyDawn Summers

    Sdcard slot and removable battery are the first things I look for in a phone. Due to the second feature, you can guess that I am attached to one vendor only. Now, I am planning to jump the Android OS due to the restrictions google is puting up. Take from me the management of my sdcard as I see fit is just one more step towards Apple. The first one was to remove apis for flash support in KK.
    Google is doing something very damaging to the OS, which is making us look in the competition. I was a nokia user up to Windows. When I had to change my old symbian and went looking for a phone of the company and found out all about Windows, I immediately went in search of something better. Found Android.
    Now Android is gearing up to be a cross between the worst features of iphone and windows. Time to look in the competition again.

  • Joseph Olson

    My issue is with all this cloud storage. I burn through 10GB streaming in about 48 hours. I have a friend who went the rules and he burned through 386GB of data. Who can afford that?

  • Nick

    I also would never buy a phone or tablet which did not allow an sd card to be inserted. I dismissed buying any apple products for this reason alone. To me sd storage is cheap and big, has faster access time than any of these cloud based server vaults whose ultimate reason to exist is to force people to rent space on their servers. SD cards provide everything that a server in the sky provides especially for people who have no need or desire to continually share data and photos with friends and relatives leaving in Mongolia…that is if they can get net access there. I will never get a cloud based account if for no other reason than that I feel that the providers are pushing people to use them.