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 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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