All apps (even ones without external storage permissions) can now read and write from a designated private folder on external storage.
There's a new sharing framework called the Storage Access Framework that can be used to request access to other folders, which treats external storage in a manner similar to cloud storage.
It might be a harsh transition, but not completely surprising since it's been quite a while since Nexus devices have had external storage slots, and it's been quite obvious for a while that Google has been discouraging external storage.
The hopeful takeaway is that Google will be relaxing this discouragement now that they've figured out a strategy for external storage moving forward.
2. everyone buys other companies (budget?) phones because they have more features (eg sd card slot)
3. break that in software (because they can) so that feature is not "missing" on the flagships anymore.
4. instead of just removing, make the functionality be yet another entry point to gdrive by making the sd write api be analogous to the cloud write one.
google only fear to not fuck up like that was something like cyanogenmod, but, well...
Anyone can be a SAF file provider by implementing the interface, and it's as easy as Intents to switch between them. It's silly to have "external" storage with special behavior at this point. Storage should act like storage, and apps should access that data consistently, without users having to remember which storage they're using for any particular purpose.
"The SAF makes it simple for users to browse and open documents, images, and other files across all of their their preferred document storage providers."
There is absolutely NO reason any mobile device should lack this. [This is ESPECIALLY aimed at Mr. Smug; Ive]
Not only is so restrictive as to be insulting, it harms the environment by forcing devices to die a premature death, I know my iPad 1 would be a whole lot more useful with a 64GB SDHC card in it.
I was super stoked to buy a Google Nexus tablet, after finding out there was no SD card slot, I forever declined that purchase.
now, had i been using stock image on that device... first it would be full of crapware that i couldn't uninstal. and since the available space is something like 250mb for apps, i wouldn't even be able to install 2 apps.
now, i've spent $500 on it. why should i already replace it if it does exactly what I need? just so i can have NFC? ha! no SD? ha! even less, non replaceable, battery life? ha! (i use an extended SEIDIO battery). no trackball with extremely visible and customizable full color alert led? ha!
the only thing it misses is a better screen some time. but i like the size, so i won't be switching to a fullHD phone with a phablet screen size. to fix it. Also the OLED screen is awesome to read at night. Ironically because of software, by features REMOVED on android after 2.3. on 2.3 on my custom roms i can have smart inverted colors in the browser. I don't have to choose between white on black pages with inverted images or bright pages with correct color images. i can have both! Also i can enable night mode render effects. Good lucky doing any of that on your shinny nexus 5.
I'm just a bit too old (31) to care anymore. No SD card? Whatevs. I'll use Dropbox/Evernote/Amazon's MP3 Player with wifi to get whatever I need onto the phone.
There are less and less reasons as to why devices need physical external storage.
(1) We have more and more things we'd like to carry with us that take up more and more space.
(2) Fewer and fewer people in America and other countries have unlimited data plans.
(3) Lots of us take things like subways which have no internet access.
(4) Cloud privacy is a disaster thanks to the NSA, poor security implementations at cloud companies, regular intrusions of providers, regular intrusions of network infrastructure (example: ASUS and Netgear routers), etc
(5) Obscene markups of memory sizes above base by manufacturers
(6) Inability of consumers to get many phones with more than 32GB of storage and artificial limiting of supply on some providers (see: the incredibly stupid decision to make the HTC One 64GB an AT&T exclusive)
(7) etc etc
Yes, Google wants you to use the cloud and have everything in your Google Drive. For most of us, it's a bad idea from a financial, convenience and privacy perspective.
According to , a 3.5" floppy has a volume of 27828.9 mm^3 whilst the volume of a MicroSD is 132 mm^3. That's a ratio of 210. Biggest MicroSD I can find that's commonly available is 64GB; that gives you
(27828.9/132)*64GB = 13492GB or ~13.5TB
Can't write, edit, or move files. No downloads. No music sync. No file renaming. No editing of mp3 metadata.
Only walled gardens allowed on the new Android "open" platform.
Most of the people here don't get how scary external storage was with Android. Every time you install an app with the android.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission you have to worry about what it will do to every other applications data. Some apps (like file managers) need this but letting every app that wants to write data to external storage have the ability to trash every other apps data is just crazy. The private app directories on external storage is a MUCH better approach.
And if you want to install apps that can trash other apps then I'm okay with needing root for that.
Are there bad apps? Sure, but PCs have had this problem for years and there hasn't been the kind of meltdown you describe.
The problem isn't insecure SD storage. It's bad apps using sensitive data and not storing it securely.
As far as user expectations go, MP3s, videos, word docs, and a whole slew of other file formats don't and shouldn't really belong to any application.
MediaStore is actually an unholy hybrid of database and filesystem. If you assume the data is entirely in one or the other (I mean, you didn't expect it to be consistent with itself, did you?) your code will break in different ways on different devices, since for some reason it's a favourite area of the manufacturers to play with.
This is also the standard API you access through ContentResolver, and this is still present in Kit Kat.
MP3s that belong to another application
Since when mp3 (or any media files) should belong to applications???
That data is the user data, it's not tied to a specific application.
File systems are the worst general-purpose way to access data, except for all the other ways.
If Apple launches a device with a bigger display they will eat part of the Android ecosystem.
>With WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE, they also have:
> - Read and write for any public folder on the primary (built-in) storage
> - Read (not write) for any public folder on the secondary (SD card) storage
If this were really about security, why does the built-in storage let you write everywhere but the sd card not? It's not about security. It's about forcing you into the cloud. And there are a ton of reasons not to (privacy, financial aka bandwidth, lack of access on subways and similar, etc).
With every release, Android is less and less of an operating system that I recommend to friends and family. Openness and expandability were some of the key selling points and they're both going bye bye.
Each change is defensible if viewed in isolation, but when seen as an whole it is obvious what the overall plan is.
I think our only hope might be Ubuntu.
I am a little confused about using root in the example as on a PC a user can have an external storage device with music and all apps can find and play and write to it.
Look at where things are in the PC world, viruses, malware, keyloggers, etc. The android permission model is the alternative. Allowing any application access to the entire external storage if it needed to write one single directory was a bad thing. If you want android to continue to allow random apk installation from different sources they needed to patch this hole. The other option to keep your phone safe is a completely walled garden approach (Apple) that polices apps a lot more than Google seems to want to.
Not only is this a betrayal of many early Google evangelists - myself included - it's a fairly cynical exercise to build such a system on the Linux kernel.
SD cards have the problem that they can be removed, and thus easily inspected, so cloud services wanting to keep their data locked up when it's cached have to resort to measures such as Facebook's Conceal library, which is more to do with preventing users from getting their own info out of Facebook than it is preventing any actual malicious activity.
Seems like this would be the best of both worlds, no crazy free-for-all external storage but shared data with some type of prompting to grant an app access to a particular path of shared storage.
Remember how outraged people were when the iPhone didn't support flash, and how people here on HN used that as a selling point for android?
How things change.
Its becoming clear that two distinct androids are forming: the ghettoized one that is AOSP with its outdated/feature stripped version of apps and the first class versions that require the Google play service.
Having a much more organised system for storing data (and removing it if the app is removed) makes a lot of sense.
The permissions change doesn't really fix any of these problems, but the sugary API they've written to support it certainly makes it a lot nicer to work with. Dealing with all these cases using the File API is not an enjoyable task.
P.S. If there is a setting to tell google play to install to SD card, let me know. I keep running out of internal space because I forget to move new apps.
Isn't this backward? Controlling clutter is more important on the internal storage that can't be replaced. If some apps write a bunch of crap to my external SD card I can clean it up myself or swap out a larger capacity.
You can still delete files from your internal storage, but now Android can help you manage it as well.
The internal storage should have restrictions on managed data because if you have untracked files that get left behind when an app is uninstalled, you may not notice and they'll just be cruft. That's where I think the restrictions should be placed, not on the SD cards.
...now we don't even get to use an on-device file manager to clean up the stupid mess the Android File Transfer app leaves behind?
The question to ask is: What about the consumer in general? Does this decision limit choice?
The answer is: Yes, it does, and that's a bad thing.
I now cannot use an app that I paid for to copy MY files to an arbitrary folder on MY device and use a different program I also paid for to view/manipulate them.
This is one of the key reasons I prefer my Galaxy Note 2 over my previous 3 iPhones. Anyone here who loves working with iTunes? Crickets...
Making specious arguments about the coding difficulty involved with SD cards suddenly being removed is just inane. Are these people going to be arguing for PCs that prevent you working with external hard drives? No? I thought not. Are these people not bothered with having to pay an "Apple-like tax" on internal storage at 2-3x markup?
People have been using memory cards in their cameras, mp3 players etc and there's been no backlash about hard that is to manage. It's a non-issue.
Google, don't eff this up. Prefer choice over restrictions.
From what I heard WebOS was awesome. It's surprising that nobody has picked up where Palm left off.
LG turned it into a TV http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/6/5279220/rebooting-webos-how...
I've heard from android developers that a major feature of android is being able to change the source in the event that Google takes away their favourite features.
There are now 2 Androids. There is the Android base operating system which is open source. And there is the full Android install with Google that you get on a phone or tablet that actually runs all your apps.
It's an entirely open source version of Android. SD card support is probably available already in Replicant. If not, you can easily add it back in yourself.
My guess: pretty small.
Here in Taiwan everyone uses SD cards. Also because when you take your phone to servicing (which it will inevitably need some point), can just take the SD card out, and you have your data. With internal storage you better wipe the mother before handing it in, because who knows who will be checking what you have on your phone..
Just some thoughts.
The main reason I like the external SD card is that I can bump up the storage capacity tremendously, which has all kinds of benefits. It also has other nice perks: changing between devices becomes easier, easier to use as a portable USB drive, etc.
I feel I cannot be alone in this, but I don't have any hard numbers for you, sorry.
Why do you think most (and best) Android file explorers are Chinese?
Seriously, Nexus are not even marketed or sold retail or with contracts in most countries, and the list of countries in where they can even be bought online is a very small list of countries. Samsung outsells Nexus 100 to 1 because they phones actually exist as a product someone looking for a phone can choose.
Motorola offers more storage than Samsung and almost all of their phones come with SD slots and is also outsold by Samsung 5 to 1.
(It sure ain't TouchWiz!)
It is mainly the large screen though for me, but the 64Gb card holds my music collection and some videos and a lot of reference books when I am in no position to stream anything.
Most non-tech people I know have no idea what a Nexus phone is because there is no promotion for it. Those that have a Samsung phone got one because they knew it was popular, thought it took great pictures, and loved the screen.
I would hesitate to call them good, but they sell.
These users will be able to see the photos on their Android tablet, but they won't be able to free up space or modify any of these photos until they get to a computer. Or iPhone with an SD card accessory.
I keep wondering how far the lock-down on new computing devices will go. I really wish someone would build an open device even if it isn't a phone (e.g. iPod Touch).
http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/Q4.06/600D65E6-A31E-45CA-AF... (read the Technical Innovations section)
I have not seen that complaint from people fiddling with the cm11 4.4.2 build
what you are looking for is how to format you sd card in Ext so it can a 1st party partition. breaths new life to old phones. like the intentionally storage crippled samsung nexus
This helps with unwanted orphaned files when uninstalling an app. That is pretty much it.
Back to laptops.
Apple products are bullshit because obvious planned obsolescence is obvious. No removable storage, and no removable battery makes Jack a dull boy.
Now Google too?
Vote with your feet.
Yes, that must be why they're the best in the industry for mobile OS updates.
I'm sorry for your loss, but it's time to adapt my friend.
If these are your positions, please offer some support for them, as I'm not sure the rest of us see them as self-evident.
I would argue usability. Having removable storage causes you to have to handle quite a few additional issues:
* Storage is removed (while app is off/in background)
* Storage is removed (while app is active)
* Users have to understand there are two places to put things (may still exist with this)
* Users have to understand the filesystem (decades of experience says... they don't)
Let's not forget that there are tons of 2.x, 3.x, and 4.x devices that probably won't get this update. This is only going to effect devices being actively updated and new ones.
As for new ones, Flash is getting cheaper and networks are getting faster. The fact is cloud storage is getting more and more practical (assuming carriers don't ruin it). This may be a bit early, but it would have been impossible a few years ago.
All in all it seems like a relatively sane decision to move the platform further. They could have just dropped SD card support. That would have also fixed the issues.
I would argue that usability is in the eye of the user. I don't care if most users don't understand what removable storage is and won't notice or care about this change. I know what it is and how to use it, so making it effectively useless impairs my usability.
The fact is cloud storage is getting more and more practical (assuming carriers don't ruin it)
Big assumption. Also not the only one: you're assuming cloud providers can keep your data private.
So pretend the GP said > It's clear these distinct developer teams have decided direct access to a filesystem is some kind of risk (whether to security, usability, or ubiquity)
Some of us need large screens and more processing power.
I realise @geeNoThanks might be partly trolling so I'll leave it at "different strokes for different folks"