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Xiaomi’s VP explains why their flagships lack microSD slots!

by on May 9, 2015

One of the major differences between iOS and Android is that Android devices have the option to expand memory using the microSD slot, which now a days offer an option for storage upto monolithic 200 GB. LG and HTC are giving microSD slot in their flagship devices ever since. Surprisingly, Samsung who used to be a strong promoter of their option of removable battery and microSD card slots, didn’t give the same in their latest flagship device, the Samsung Galaxy S6, which was really unexpected. Samsung looks this decision despite of the fact that they recently launched their new microSD cards.

Xiaomi Mi3 flagships lack microSD slots - Bitsnapper

Xiaomi Mi3

Xiaomi, 3rd biggest smartphone distributor, also doesn’t prefer microSD in their flagship devices. Though Xiaomi provides with microSd card expansion in its Redmi series but it isn’t giving this option in the flagship devices. Hugo Barra, the Vice President of International of the company, explains why their flagships lack microSD slots!

“For high performance devices, we are fundamentally against an SD card slot.”

Barra pointed out that  his team didn’t want to compromise battery capacity, ergonomics design and in case of their latest flagship, Mi 4i, an extra microSim slot. Barra added “microSD cards are incredibly prone to failure and malfunctioning of various sorts“. He also pointed out to the presence of many fake cards in the market, which can cause serious issues.

He actually went on record to say that “You think you’re buying a Kingston or a SanDisk but you’re actually not! Fake cards are of extremely poor quality, they’re slow, they sometimes just stop working, and it gives people huge number of issues, apps crashing all the time, users losing data, a lot of basically complaints and customer frustration. It’s gonna be a while before you finally accept that maybe the reason why it’s not performing the way it should is because you put in an SD card, right? You’re gonna blame the phone, you’re gonna blame the manufacturer, you’re gonna shout and scream and try to get it fixed, so many different ways until you say, Actually, let me just take the SD card out and see what happens.

“May be it ‘s a trend: microSD cards really will disappear,”

Barra cleared the fact that you should basically not expect SD card slots in any of our flagships. So, all Mi Fans what’s your take on this?

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  • ctsurv553
    September 16, 2015 at 3:16 am

    I have never had a MicroSD card fail in any Android or Garmin device I have owned, as long as I dismount the card before physically removing it from the device. The biggest source of storage card problems is user error; typically unplugging an OTG cable with an SD card mounted, or popping out the device’s external MicroSD card without either shutting down the device or using the Storage Card Dismount command in Device Settings.
    But I can see that the author of this post makes an important point about poor quality counterfeit flash memory cards. Users should take every possible precaution to make sure that what they are buying is a genuine product. An unrealistically low price from an unknown on-line vendor should be your first clue that the card they are selling might not be legit. Unfortunately, counterfeit products are even showing up on Amazon. I won’t buy batteries on-line anymore, for example. All too often, they turn out to be expired and are dead on arrival, even ones purchased directly from Amazon.


    • September 21, 2015 at 6:58 am

      Bang on ctsurv553! That’s exactly how it should be. But with launch of Samsung Galaxy S6 with UFS (Universal Flash Storage) 2.0 standard which makes the internal storage model less like an SD card in nature. When comparing the eMMC 5.1 standard to the UFS 2.0 standard, we see a move from a the 400 MB/s maximum of the eMMC 5.1 standard with HS400 physical link interface to MIPI M-PHY, which allows for a theoretical maximum of around 720 MB/s and should be more efficient in transmitting data than the current eMMC standard. In addition, UFS makes it possible to do full duplex communication, which means that reads and writes can happen simultaneously.

      So unless we see a breakthrough in eMMC tech which jumps the performance at par with UFS, I think we will see SD cards phasing out as time passes by. 🙂


      • ctsurv553
        September 21, 2015 at 11:38 am

        >Samsung Galaxy S6 with UFS (Universal Flash Storage) 2.0 standard

        I am not familiar with UFS. Computer technology is advancing at such a rapid pace that I often don’t notice new standards or products unless someone points them out to me. I just want to put in my 2¢ worth about one aspect of SD cards when used with devices that have the newer versions of Android: The switch to MTP and removal of Mass Storage Mode, which happened somewhere between Gingerbread and Jelly Bean, has been a huge problem for me. When I need to do a file transfer between my Windows 7 PC and my Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 (running KitKat 4.4.2), I want to be able to use a file management utility like TeraCopy or WinMerge that uses CRC Checksum verication. There’s something buggy and unreliable about the MTP drivers in Windows 7. Quite often, I transfer large binary files like JPEG photos, MP3 music, or AVI videos to the tablet from the PC. I then do a random check of a couple of files to make sure they copied properly; on about 1 out of 3 such transfers, which might have taken 15 minutes or more, I discover that the files, usually most or all of them, got corrupted somehow and the whole thing has to be done over again. To fix whatever is causing this problem, I have to reboot the PC, which makes it take even more time. Anyway, if I could only use TeraCopy, I could tell much more quickly and easily if the file transfer is free of corruption, thanks to TeraCopy’s built-in CRC Checksum comparison of the source and target files. I have read Google’s public statement about why they removed Mass Storage Mode from Android, but that doesn’t help me when they substitute a newer protocol like MTP that makes my device less versatile and hurts my productivity by forcing me to repeat corrupted file transfers. On my older Samsung Galaxy MP3 Player, that ran Gingerbread, I could mount the whole device as a pair of Removable Discs (one was the Internal Storage and the other was the External MicoSD Card) and use TeraCopy. And I don’t recall ever encountering a corrupted JPEG or MP3 file out of many hundreds of file transfers. Mass Storage Mode simply worked, and it was reliable. Anyway, sorry for this extended rant if it’s off-topic. Will this new UFS standard allow me to mount my Android Device to my PC as a removable drive with a drive letter, so I can use TeraCopy for file transfers, or are we going to continue to be plagued with MTP or some other just-as-awful communication protocol?


        • September 24, 2015 at 10:22 pm

          Haha! I feel your pain. Even I hate MTP. Mass storage used to be super convenient.

          To answer your question, well no. UFS is basically the underlying storage (hardware), which has nothing to do with MTP (software). It’s upto the OEM how they want to go with it and looks like every one is happy with Google’s MTP implementation.

          And yes Teracopy is a fantastic tool. Even I use it all the time to transfer data to external HDD all the time. I wish there was a workaround without rooting but sadly there isn’t. 🙁


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