Do Windows Phone 7 devices have expandable memory after all?

Up until now, most of the reports have said “no”, which to users of any other smart phone (excluding the iPhone) seems a little odd. Many of the devices announce so far have been announce with only 8GB of memory, with a few having 16GB options. Compare that to the iPhone 4, which comes in 16GB and 32GB variants (with rumours that a 64GB version might come), or an Android device with expandable memory, and you’re left wondering why Windows Phone 7 devices are stuck at 8GB.

According to an article posted on WMPoweruser.com today, that discusses the way that storage cards work with WP7 devices, the blogging community may have gotten the memory situation all wrong. The author of that article claims that the reason most WP7 devices seem to have 8GB of built-in storage is because that’s what Microsoft has mandated – and that anyone wanting more will be able to slot in a microSD card and expand their memory (although those cards won’t be hot swappable and will need to meet speed specifications). If this is true, WP7 devices will be able to hold up to 80GB (16GB+64GB) of data, or even more (with microSDXC coming). This theory seems to fit the Microsoft business model – componentise and let users choose what features they want. It’s worked on the Xbox and PC, and expandable memory in phones is something that people are already used to.

Some further research by Neowin (a quick Google search) brought up the HTC Accessory Store. There, the subpages for HTC’s WP7 range show accessories available for each phone. If you look, you’ll note that there are microSD cards listed amongst the cables and cases. For those that are unaware, the HTC Accessory Store is the official store and is owned and operated by HTC.

Right now the situation is still unclear, and Neowin has contacted HTC for clarification on the situation. Either way, we’ll know what the answer is in just a few short days (at least for a few lucky countries).

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Lol, neowin's a bit slow on this one. Saw this from paul's wp7 site days ago. =P
Microsoft said no "external" memory expansions. But anything internal would be fine, and blog sites have failed to pick that up before.
Just that users will not be able to assign what data goes where, so it doesn't work like a memory expansion in the traditional sense as users cannot micromanage the data. Hence, you cannot wap out the removable storage without resetting the device to factory settings, which is a bit annoying.

St4rOcean said,
Lol, neowin's a bit slow on this one. Saw this from paul's wp7 site days ago. =P
Microsoft said no "external" memory expansions. But anything internal would be fine, and blog sites have failed to pick that up before.
Just that users will not be able to assign what data goes where, so it doesn't work like a memory expansion in the traditional sense as users cannot micromanage the data. Hence, you cannot wap out the removable storage without resetting the device to factory settings, which is a bit annoying.

Think you don't get it. It was already known, that WP7 will support SD-cards. But until now it seemed that only one in the ten launch devices had a microSD-slot... (And that one device - the Samsung Focus - is not available in Europe...) Now it seems that atleast one device in Europe will support SD-cards...

Chemaz said,
God i hope the Omnia 7 has a microsd slot, if it does, im sold!

I can't decide between the HD7 and the Omnia7 myself. Hope they will have microSD -> <=16GB makes the devices uninteressting to me. I wan't to replace my broken mp3-player with a smartphone...

Was this unclear...? I thought the way expandable memory worked with WP7 was understood for a while now. There's really nothing left to answer about it.

It's just that the interwebs have been so polluted by the same old tired mantra of why WP7 will suck that people can actually be surprised to hear expandable memory is part of the design.

And this fits into MS's model of being somewhere between Android (removable storage) and iOS (NO STORAGE FOR YOU). There's also the fact that WP7 will have the cloud so heavily integrated into the OS, so I have trouble seeing how 8gb on-board and 32gb microsd can't offer everything a user will need for the next 2-3 years at least. People **** and moan about not being able to mount the phone like a harddrive, but the whiners never list exactly what they'd use that for.

All I can think of would be:

1) Music/video --> Zune synching solves this
2) Document transfers --> Cloud synching solves this
3) Hacking --> in the spirit of the FOSS movement, I'll just say: if the feature isn't there, code it yourself isn't there an XDA thread somewhere for you to harass?

Joshie said,

2) Document transfers --> Cloud synching solves this

No. We get support for very specific documents, starting with OneNote only at launch, plus Sharepoint and later SkyDrive support for the rest. MyPhone on WM6.5 at least backed up all Office documents in a certain folder, but if I wanted to back up a random filetype to the cloud I can't (not that you get randome filetypes anway... isolated storage per app should mean even a Dropbox app wouldn't work properly).

burnblue said,

No. We get support for very specific documents, starting with OneNote only at launch, plus Sharepoint and later SkyDrive support for the rest. MyPhone on WM6.5 at least backed up all Office documents in a certain folder, but if I wanted to back up a random filetype to the cloud I can't (not that you get randome filetypes anway... isolated storage per app should mean even a Dropbox app wouldn't work properly).

So in other words, app developers have to code cloud storage support into their own apps. If they go into the platform knowing this already, how is it any more of a challenge than local storage?

I thought Paul T already "confirmed" this? He said it does support it kinda but not in the normal way. It's used sorta like JBOD or Home Server in that they just pool together whatever storage is available into one big pool so the user doesn't get the "Where to install" crap.

EDIT - Yeah RustyGrom posted the link to some Windows Phone Secrets stuff.

SHoTTa35 said,
I thought Paul T already "confirmed" this? He said it does support it kinda but not in the normal way. It's used sorta like JBOD or Home Server in that they just pool together whatever storage is available into one big pool so the user doesn't get the "Where to install" crap.

JBOD would be a nice idea, as it means that all programs will be able to use the SD-card as it was internal memory.

You'll be able re-download any purchases, Zune allows you to redownload or keep as Smooth Streaming.. any videos you have purchased, add in some Skydrive/Live integration along with other cloud services like Xbox Live and I don't envision it being terribly arduous to upgrade your memory later on down the road. Does myphone backup your stuff as well?

Another thing is to consider, is that I don't think these phones are supposed to replace your laptop/pc... it's supposed to enhance and make available only that which is most important to you. To carry every video/song that you've ever owned may not be the best use of WP7.

You can always redownload a game you bought through Xbox live even though you haven't played it for years.

Ugh. Please... stop. It's almost as if that article was written months ago. The devices aren't "leaked" if they've been announced. Several have been shown off with 16GB of storage so it's not even accurate.

Yes, you can upgrade the memory in your WP7 phone, IF it has a SD card slot (not all necessarily will).

No, you cannot swap the cards on the fly.

http://windowsphonesecrets.com...ne-7-and-removable-storage/
http://pocketnow.com/windows-p...ort-removable-storage-proof

As of now, the only one I've seen confirmed that does is the Samsung Focus.

RustyGrom said,
Ugh. Please... stop. It's almost as if that article was written months ago. The devices aren't "leaked" if they've been announced. Several have been shown off with 16GB of storage so it's not even accurate.

Yes, you can upgrade the memory in your WP7 phone, IF it has a SD card slot (not all necessarily will).

No, you cannot swap the cards on the fly.

http://windowsphonesecrets.com...ne-7-and-removable-storage/
http://pocketnow.com/windows-p...ort-removable-storage-proof

As of now, the only one I've seen confirmed that does is the Samsung Focus.

Amazon Germany's official spec sheet (PDF, from HTC) lists the HD7 as having a microSD slot, and clearly defines its 8/16GB of memory as 'internal' (ergo, not on the microSD), so that's another handset with confirmed support.

RainJones said,
Can you download the memory?

Only if its Intel memory chips, and you buy a special "upgrade" code from best buy

neufuse said,

Only if its Intel memory chips, and you buy a special "upgrade" code from best buy


Sad but true.

on another note, most always this is not possible as hardware is uh, hard meaning physical and cant be 'downloaded'.

This has been said time and time again. Windows Phone 7 devices support "expandable" storage and do NOT support "removable" storage. The difference being that once you put the memory card in, you're not supposed to take it back out, as the device will treat the memory card as if it were 1 big memory pool of data.

IceBreakerG said,
This has been said time and time again. Windows Phone 7 devices support "expandable" storage and do NOT support "removable" storage. The difference being that once you put the memory card in, you're not supposed to take it back out, as the device will treat the memory card as if it were 1 big memory pool of data.

That's correct! Which means, it should be done once you buy your new WP7 device since it requires a hard reset (data loss).

IceBreakerG said,
This has been said time and time again. Windows Phone 7 devices support "expandable" storage and do NOT support "removable" storage. The difference being that once you put the memory card in, you're not supposed to take it back out, as the device will treat the memory card as if it were 1 big memory pool of data.

Does that mean it would need to be restored from a backup once the new card is installed?

reverseswing said,

Does that mean it would need to be restored from a backup once the new card is installed?

That part I'm not 100% sure of yet. But one of the reasons the requirement is for the card to be under the battery cover is so users don't take it out as easily (or maybe so it doesn't fall out as easily?). But I'd guess that if you need to do a hard reset on the device when you put the card in, doing a restore would be the next step.

IceBreakerG said,
This has been said time and time again. Windows Phone 7 devices support "expandable" storage and do NOT support "removable" storage. The difference being that once you put the memory card in, you're not supposed to take it back out, as the device will treat the memory card as if it were 1 big memory pool of data.

I just hope we will get some sort of a File Browser. Even an unofficial one will do.

IceBreakerG said,
This has been said time and time again. Windows Phone 7 devices support "expandable" storage and do NOT support "removable" storage. The difference being that once you put the memory card in, you're not supposed to take it back out, as the device will treat the memory card as if it were 1 big memory pool of data.
Agreed. This article is more about the HTC devices and if they will or won't have slots (as that was previously not known)

Well let's just hope the $500 million spent on the advertising has been worth it, for Ballmer's sake anyway.

SH3K0 said,
Well let's just hope the $500 million spent on the advertising has been worth it, for Ballmer's sake anyway.

Yeah... Otherwise he won't receive full pay bonus next year either.