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Why Doesn't The Google Nexus Tab Support SD Cards?

If you are looking to buy a new tablet then you may be intrigued by the Google Nexus Tab. However, there is something to bear in mind, a factor of the device which puts many people off: there is no support for SD cards. With every new iteration of the tablet it is always anticipated whether or not Google will finally include SD card support. So far it has been a resounding no from the technology giant. This article will explore their reasons behind the lack of compatibility with such a popular external storage medium.
Currently, the most amount of on-board storage you can get on a Nexus tablet is 32GB. This can always be expanded through storing data in the cloud, but this is limited to an extent. Those who want to exceed the storage capacities cannot do so with a SD card.
One of the reasons offered up is from Android (the operating system that the Nexus tablets run on) engineer Dan Morrill. He states that one of the core philosophises behind Android is that you do not need a file manager. Unlike other operating systems where it always asks where you want to store your data, Android just puts it all in one place to. Apparently, this is done to make it less intrusive for the end user. Morrill acknowledges that they could put such a facility in the settings and let the user choose the default storage device. However, he states that this is close enough to the file manager experience that they dislike. Frankly, that feels like a bit of a cop out. That may be an Android principle, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it should be followed or that it is right.
Google’s director of user services on Android, Matias Duarte, echoed similar thoughts to Morrill. Apparently, offering consumers expandable storage through SD cards was too confusing. He states that deciding where to store data and how to handle it when the SD card is removed is “too complicated” and that apps just seamlessly work without users having to "worry about files or volumes or any of that techy nonsense left over from the Palaeolithic era of computing". Again, this seems like a bit of a silly reason. Everything could be stored internally by default, with an option in the settings to allow for SD storage too. It works on other Android tablets, so why not the Nexus?
A different reason for lack of SD support is multiuser support. SD cards are usually formatted with FAT file system. This file system does not have support for file ownership. As such, having multiple users on a single tablet using an SD card could cause some issues. There is nothing to control multiple users using a single app through the same SD card. Even more troublesome would be moving the SD card to another tablet with different users. Although multiuser isn’t something Nexus supports at the moment, it is very likely to in the future.
These are some of the reasons the Nexus tablets don’t have SD cards. If you are looking for a tablet that supports expandable storage then you will have better luck with something like a Samsung Galaxy.


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