Most flagship smartphones like Samsung Galaxy S7 has quite large internal storage. Most 2015 flagship Android phones started with 32GB internal storage. This trend will continue in 2016.
Android system and the essential apps take about 4-5GB storage. Vendors may pre-install their own apps and some bloatware. These apps usually consume about 1-4 GB storage.
So, among the 32GB storage, owners can use about 23-27 GB depending on your region and your carrier. This is actually sufficient for at least 80% smartphone users.
But consumers always want more.
This doe not necessarily means consumers actually need more internal storage.
It is more or less a psychological demand, not a real (physical) demand.
But do not overlook such a psychological need. This can be one of the decisive factors when purchasing smartphones.
Apple successfully exploits such psychological demands with iPhone 6 and 6s storage configurations. They managed to sell more 64GB iPhones to buyers who initially may only budget for a 16GB iPhone.
But for Samsung Galaxy S6, the 32GB model is still the most popular model. Actually, some distributors even do not renew the 64GB inventory at all because of the weak demands.
Samsung is not Apple.
If you are a iPhone user, you have no choice: get it or forget it.
However, for Samsung smrtphone users, if you want a SD card slot (although you may never use it), you have many other alternatives: LG, Motorola, Huaiwei and may other vendors are waving their Android phones with a micro SD card slot.
Why did Samsung remove micro SD card support in Galaxy S6?
When you transfer files or update Google apps, you will find out that Galaxy S6 is significantly faster than any other Android phones if your network connection is good.
For file transfer, Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5 are both significantly faster than any iPhones.
In addition, you may notice many new phones were fast when you bought them. But it becomes slower and slower gradually. This did NOT happen to Galaxy S6 or Galaxy Note 5.
UFS 2.0 in Galaxy S6 is about 3 times faster than the latest eMMC 5.1 storage. You can imagine the difference as that between SSD and your old mechanical hard drive.
In addition, UFS 2.0 uses less power for the same workload.
Most micro SD card is even slower than internal storage (eMMC). For the class 10 Micro SD card, the transfer speed is only 10MB/s, which is about 35 times slower than UFS 2.0 standard (FYI, the standard only states the minimum requirements. Samsung’s UFS storage is faster than the 350MB/s transfer rate in the standard) . Even the high-end micro SD card is usually less than 100MB/s transfer rate, for example, SanDisk Extreme 64GB XC UHS-1 card only offer maximum 90MB/s transfer rate.
So, if you mix the usage of micro SD card and UFS 2.0 storage, you will not feel the speed improvement of UFS 2.0.
This is probably one of Samsung’s justifications of removing SD card support in Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note 5.
But some long-term Samsung customers apparently are not ready to accept this (although they probably will never use the SD card even if SD card support was offered in S6).
Please note, non-removable glass back is never the cause of removing SD card support in Galaxy S6. SD card can use the SIM card try or separate SD card slot/tray in any sides of Galaxy S6.
Alternatives to micro SD card support on smartphones
Storage is always a big concern for budget and middle-range mobile phones. 8GB or even 4GB internal storage can always be a headache if you cannot expand it easily.
For flagship phones like Samsung Galaxy S7, the storage will start from 32GB. Storage actually is not an issue for more than 80% users. But, more than 80% users want more storage although they will not need that extra storage.
As mentioned, this is sometimes a psychological need, not a practical requirement.
Anyway, for Galaxy S7, Galaxy S6 and most other Galaxy devices , USB OTG is supported. You can easily hook a USB OTG drive (or a less-than-$10 USB OTG cable + normal portable drive or thumb drive) and enjoy the expanded storage for media files.
Actually, USB OTG is supported by Android by default unless vendors choose to disable it. Of course, USB OTG support depends on the drivers in the firmware. You may find some USB OTG devices may not work on your phone.
Of course, USB OTG storage is mainly for your media files. You cannot use it as internal storage. You cannot install apps to it. You also cannot save camera photos to it automatically.
Will Galaxy S7 have micro SD card support?
Very likely, Galaxy S7 will have micro SD card support. The SD card probably will probably use the same slot as SIM card slot.
First, there is no reason for Samsung to disappoint some potential buyers by committing such a feature. Sales of Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5 should tell the story loudly enough.
Adding micro SD card support does not increase the complexity of design or manufacturing.
Second, better SD card support in Android Marshmallow also gives pressure on Samsung. In Android Marshmallow (Android 6.0), Google decided to support micro SD card in a better way, especially for budget and middle-range Android devices. In Android Marshmallow (btw, it is not a secret or a guess that Galaxy S7 will ship with Android Marshmallow), users have the option to adopt SD card as internal storage.
This means you can expand the internal storage with a micro SD card, which is far cheaper than the high price OEM charges for more internal storage.
Although Google designed this SD feature targeting at budget and middle-range phones with 8GB or less storage, some Galaxy S7 may owners will very likely take advantage of it (at the price of performance).
What do you think about micro SD card support in Galaxy S7? Is it a bad or good idea? Will you buy a Galaxy S7 without micro SD card support?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.