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  • The Saint - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    Didn't past Nexus devices running stock Android support external storage via USB on the go?

    Does this mean that stock Android from Jellybean on no longer supports external USB storage?

    What reasonable explanation could account for why the Nexus 7 fails to support USB storage?
    Reply
  • Ninhalem - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    Why would you need USB storage if everything is in the cloud?

    Think about it from a main consumer point of view instead of through the eyes of people who read this site.
    Reply
  • JohnnyL1953 - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    What reasonable explanation could account for why the Nexus 7 does not have a micro SD slot?

    The main consumer cares diddly squat about the cloud and more about making sure they have enough content loaded up to survive being off the net for a number of hours and not having to worry about connecting via WiFi from god knows where when on a trip.
    Reply
  • semiconshawn - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    Wrong. I love the cloud. Its how I keep an enormous music and video collection on a 16gb device. What am going to do carry around a portable hard drive? Dumb. Get Verizon get service everywhere. Only time I want usb or sd is to load pics off the cam card. I guess if you fly a ton you might need to preload something but where can you not get internet in the U.S.? Reply
  • Zoomer - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    Plenty of places unless you are willing to suffer ISDN speeds and horrible latencies, and plenty more places where you have no option besides paying truckloads of money for 2 way satellite. (Rural)
    Oh, and plenty of urban places where there is NO internet, period. Unless said truckloads are sent to some well placed transit officer who could use said donation to upgrade infrastructure.

    And Google is a global company.

    Cloud is all good and fine, but reliability wise, it adds an uncertainty to things: The cloud ate my homework/presentation.
    Reply
  • festrada007 - Wednesday, August 08, 2012 - link

    Exactly, I live in a very forested and rural part of Northern California. I get dial up speeds from Satalite and U.S. Postal speeds on conectivity due to latency. When it snows I have no internet and when we have heavy rain it get un-bearable. Then you have to think about going on a Cruse, WTF I would rather have my Internet at home in a heavy down pour than the Internet speed they have on a Cruise Ship. I need more than 16GB. I love my Nexus 7, (I'm already married so I cant marry my device) it is better than any other device I have owned Apple or Android. Palm Web OS still is the best OS. But Jelly Bean is getting close. Reply
  • chrnochime - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    So what if you love the cloud. That's your opinion. Plenty of ppl want to not have to rely on the cloud and when flying can watch shows or what not preloaded using microSD. Where can you NOT get internet? When I don't want to pay for internet services at airports. And "But internet through tethering always works blah blah blah" well again that's your opinion. Reply
  • Ananke - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    My hotel in Mexico was charging $12 per 5 minutes Internet; or $29 per day. The speed was loading yahoo.mail in more than a minute. Virgin was asking for $5 for in flight WiFi. Everybody in Las Vegas is asking at least $15 per day internet, etc thousands of examples...besides the speed always has been like 14.4kb modem connection..so, that cloud thingy is total BS. If this device is useless on the go, i.e. is not portable, I can browse "the cloud" at home with the very same success using laptop/desktop or iPad 16GB sold for $300 today on a deal. Reply
  • Spuke - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    Sorry but regular people don't care about storage in any form. Regular people aren't geeks. Most don't know the difference between memory and hard drive space. Most of the regular folks see tech in a general sense, not in specifics like us geeks. No one cares or even knows that you can hook up an external drive to their tablets. Hell, most don't know that's a USB port on their tablets. They just assume it's just a battery charging port (even though there's a USB plug on the other end). As long as their stuff is available, that's all they care about. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, June 30, 2012 - link

    Your argument doesn't make sense since regular people would not be confused by those (microSD, USB storage) inclusions. If they want to use the cloud, adding the above will not make their life more difficult.
    And I can't imagine that the cost and man-hours spent to implement the above is that great, since every android device except the Nexus' use them. So they lose the "geeks" who don't want to pay shit-loads for mobile data and they gain maybe 50 cent BOM. Awesome.
    Reply
  • Jedi2155 - Saturday, June 30, 2012 - link

    Changing complexity from 1 port to does not add much complexity in their but the simple matter that I've noticed is that they simply don't care. Most people don't bother to look up anything, and just ignore it. Yet they want everything to work when they want it and want it fast.

    I'll agree that USB host is an awesome feature, and IF it became widely known to the masses, I'd say a sizeable portion of them would want it, but the difficulty to even explain what it is to masses is hard enough, that it will remain a niche feature.
    Reply
  • Jedi2155 - Saturday, June 30, 2012 - link

    On the bright side, its usually the geeks with money, and voice to the manufacturer, so we got leverage through that side :). To argue that the masses, want it though, that's just a can of worms as we have already witnessed. Reply
  • veeman - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    The reason why they didn't include an SD slot is because if they did include it, less people would be using Google's cloud services and Google wants as many people to use it as possible. Reply
  • g00ey - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    But that is a GREAT misconception. The number one major determinant of whether or not people will use cloud services is the bandwidth, or accessibility. If the cloud services are seamless and convenient to use, people will use them REGARDLESS of internal storage in their phones, PERIOD!

    The fact is that the more internal storage people have in their phones, the more need for backup services they will have. So it is pretty much the other way around.
    Reply
  • hrrmph - Saturday, June 30, 2012 - link

    So your justification for denying worldwide users the ability to carry their own storage and data is that your personal travel habits keep you in the US?

    You know - the United States... 20% of the world economy... 1.9% of the surface of the earth... 6.6% of the land mass... 4.5% of the population. Pick a number - they all mean the same thing: we're citizens of a country that represents a minority slice of the world and the world market.

    As much as the Nexus is a halo product, clearly targeted at wealthy countries, all of the manufacturers would do well to not ignore opportunities to both serve the world market in its entirety (ie: profit from it) and help out US travelers.

    I wonder how the Nexus is going to work down-under in the Outback, say about an hour outside of Alice Springs, where you'd be lucky to get a phone signal much less WiFi. How about off the coast of Japan or Korea? Or the North Sea? Alaska? Montana? North Dakota?

    Further, I would argue that plenty of US customers would like their devices to work wherever they go, including outside of the US. For users with large data sets, that is going to be tough to do without bigger internal storage options or more robust external storage capabilities.

    WiFi-ac, fully functioning USB 3.0, mSD slots, etc. are amongst the many ways to achieve this.

    I applaud Google for attacking the $200 price point. This is a major improvement over the extremely limited capabilities of the Kindle Fire (I own one) and the too-expensive-for-what-it-does iPad.

    Let's hope that someone attacks the $300 price point with an equal vengeance... and adds the missing functionality. If no one ponies up and offers it, I'll probably buy this for the same reason I bought the Kindle: $200 mobile access to a browser in a compact frame - when I can find a signal.

    While I'm dreaming, wouldn't it be great if you bought a software license and it was device agnostic? Does anyone think that my Acrobat Pro licenses will work on this? MS Office? Yeah, right. But, that would be worth at least $400 for such a device, dontcha think?

    So in conclusion, before you purport to speak universally for all users of such a device, I would suggest you get a passport and actually use it regularly. Let us know how that WiFi thing worked out for you when you were traveling and wishing for access to that big data set.

    -
    Reply
  • festrada007 - Wednesday, August 08, 2012 - link

    If you love the Cloud, why dont you marry it...? Reply
  • Kognos - Saturday, October 13, 2012 - link

    You folks who think that the cloud is the complete solution obviously never go anywhere interesting! just back from a great vacation in the US west, Yosemite, canyon country etc. Internet and cell coverage very intermittent at best.

    We need choices, not people telling us that one size fits all.
    Reply
  • euler007 - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    Cost is a reasonable explanation.

    Take the percentage of the users that require this feature and the cost of this feature. Then add in all the other features with similar percentage of users that require it. Now you have a 300-400$ tablet.
    Reply
  • CFWhitman - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    Most one hundred dollar or so Chinese tablets come with USB-OTG, a micro-SD Card slot, and an HDMI connector, so no, I don't think cost is really a big issue. This is especially true for the USB storage feature since it doesn't require any additional hardware. Reply
  • CFWhitman - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    Why would you need USB storage if everything is in the cloud? Oh, perhaps to get the pictures from your camera's SD card.

    Not to mention the fact that I go places all the time where "the cloud" is not available.
    Reply
  • m-p-3 - Friday, July 27, 2012 - link

    Considering the Nexus 7 is WiFi only, I cannot rely on the cloud anywhere I go. Reply
  • Noriaki - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    Android 2.3 and earlier use a separate partition for system and apps from user data. Only the user data partition was ever USB mass storage mountable.

    Android 3 and higher unify the partitions, so you don't have to worry about running out of storage for apps while you have an empty media partition. The drawback to this is that the unified partition can't be exposed by USB mass storage (it requires the device to unmount the partition to allow your computer to mount it).

    They use MTP, which on Windows amounts to pretty much the same thing. MTP gives you drag and drop access to internal storage via Windows Explorer. But MTP support is a bit more DIY in Mac OS or Linux.

    Android honeycomb, ics and jellybean all still support USB mass storage, but they'd only expose SD cards over USB Mass Storage, which the Nexus 7 doesn't have.

    This is exactly the same as the Xoom, Galaxy Tab, or Galaxy Nexus unfortunately.
    Reply
  • Noriaki - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    The Xoom has SD, and the SD card is USB mass storage mountable btw.

    Unfortunately the trend is towards no SD cards. I think the Galaxy S3 dropped it, the Galaxy Nexus and Tab don't have SD slots either.
    Reply
  • The Saint - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    Galaxy S3 still has a micro SD slot.

    That combined with its unlocked bootloader and quality internals is really helping make Samsung the choice for Android power users.
    Reply
  • hrrmph - Sunday, July 01, 2012 - link

    The Galaxy S3 is a $675 phone.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-...

    You are probably thinking of the low upfront cost of the S3 when purchased locked down with an expensive month to month service contract.

    While I like the spirit of your thinking, it's not really fair to compare the cost of an unlocked tablet to the cost of a locked phone.

    I strongly prefer unlocked devices, as it avoids being 'indebted.' Unfortunately, only two countries absolutely prohibit the practice of locking devices down and shackling customers to months or years of indebtedness and psychologically 'hidden' costs.

    In spite of locking only being absolutely prohibited by two countries, buying unlocked devices and paying the full cost upfront is still the norm in many places overseas, where both the customers and the providers often prefer it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SIM_lock

    Also, per same reference, at least unlocking or buying unlocked is clearly legal in the US now. There was a time when it wasn't even clear if you could legally unlock a device in the US.

    Overall, I prefer devices (including tablets) that have worldwide telecom functionality for those times when WiFi isn't available. But, that pushes a tablet to cost hundreds more.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with this when more tablets are offered with telecom functionality. For now, Samsung's telecom enabled tablets are expensive, much like their smartphones.

    So the Google Nexus and Amazon Fire really are breaking the mold here. Unfortunately, to reach $200, they both felt it necessary to omit mSD slots and telecom functionality.

    But in any case, yes, the S3 is a nice piece of high-end, expensive kit, and I'm glad Samsung is pushing the limits at the upper end of the market.

    Although very expensive, at least Android on the S3 is more open and less proprietary than iOS and iTunes.

    -
    Reply
  • bplewis24 - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    So, then, as I suspected, this isn't really news to anybody that had/has a Galaxy Nexus? Reply
  • Noriaki - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    I don't want to speak for everyone who owns a Galaxy Nexus, but I can't see why it would be, since it's the exact same storage model and access methods. I have a Galaxy Nexus and it's certainly exactly what I expected.

    But that was only one sentence in the post, I think it's mostly about whether USB OTG and MHL support, both of which the Galaxy Nexus has, but the latter is lacking on the Nexus 7.
    Reply
  • The Saint - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    My question wasn't about USB internal storage, but about USB external storage.

    I thought from Honeycomb on, USB thumb drives were supported by Android. Have they now removed this functionality from Jellybean?
    Reply
  • Noriaki - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    Oh! I had it completely backwards. I know nothing about mounting USB thumb drives. I'm useless to you. Reply
  • DeesTroy - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    Another reason to not allow mass storage on these devices is that the unified partition is formatted as ext4, which Windows won't recognize without a driver. Instead Windows will claim that the drive isn't formatted and offer to format it for you.

    I applaud the use of ext4. FAT32 doesn't support files larger than 4GB which can pose a problem for some videos that you might want to watch on the upcoming HD tablets. It's also a problem for making nandroid backups if you're using a custom recovery.
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    exFAT. SDXC defines its use, so all OSes will likely get support eventually. Reply
  • Penti - Monday, July 02, 2012 - link

    The OS supports it, with support coming from code developed with Microsoft's help that you need to buy and license. Sadly exFAT aren't actually a part of the standard. You need a separate Microsoft license agreement and the code needs to be closed. Asus already licenses it though, so it's Google that has taken some strange decision here. As Google builds there own software for the Nexus devices. Obviously nothing would stop Asus bundling it with the device. It has nothing to do with the fact that they don't support the internal memory being mounted as mass storage. MTP is a much nicer solution there no matter the filesystem. You could obviously use MTP for external SD-memory too. Thus not really a problem until we get to USB-OTG. Don't really know the reasoning behind it as lot of other stuff isn't free either and any built in exchange support is licensed from Microsoft any way. Reply
  • fteoath64 - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    "Android honeycomb, ics and jellybean all still support USB mass storage, but they'd only expose SD cards over USB Mass Storage, which the Nexus 7 doesn't have."

    The main reason for OTG is to SUPPORT USB Mass storage devices!. Without this, the device is crippled and Google ought to know better. Still, their low price tends to allow them to cut features as needed to suit their OWN purposes at the EXPENSE of the consumer. We shall see that their competitors will climb onboard and cater for ALL the weaknesses with a slight price increase. Very soon. It will collapse the pricing of iPad for sure by the holiday season. Unless Apple release an equalizer with similar pricing and matching features.
    Reply
  • gatorproof - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    I downloaded user manual for Nexus 7. It clearly states mini USB will support external devices which don't need special software, like some game controllers. Since 40% of Americans don't have cloud access it IS IMPORTANT to have expandable storage. I prefer SD over USB.
    http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Multi-functional-Con...
    I have one of these and they work great. Small and HUGE BENEFITS. Gives you 1 Full USB port, 1 Full SD slot, 1 Micro SD slot, and also gives you back your mini USB power port.
    With the reported 8 to 10 hours of Nexus 7 battery life, and the Anker 8400mah 5v power block, you should get at least 24 hours of run time. I rip and convert Blurays to H.264 and carry 20 movies on one 32GB SD speed 10 card. I carry my audio books on a micro SD. I could fly any place on the planet and not run out of power or content.
    Reply
  • adboelens - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    I understand Googles reasoning that they want to move stuff to the cloud and I'm all for it. I use Gmail, Drive and Play Music for most of my stuff .I don't even have my music on my desktop anymore.
    However, connectivity is not ready for streaming stuff on the road and I feel Google is forcing something that is not ready yet. This annoys me and is similar to how Apple told us Flash needed to be replaced, so they wouldn't support it anymore. Meanwhile browsing on my iPad was a pain.
    So I understand that they want to push us forward, but they should remember their customers as well. For me this will be the reason not to buy this tablet, although I would prefer vanilla Jelly Bean over all the OEM skins .
    Reply
  • afoygel - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    So does this mean that outputting to a TV is not possible with the Nexus 7? Reply
  • kenyee - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    No MHL + no HDMI port = no HDMI output to TV :-P

    Pretty annoying since the developer devices they showed at Google I/O obviously had this feature for their demos :-(
    Reply
  • fmcjw - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    Thanks again Brian for the quick follow up.

    So this is Google determined to kill local storage as a feature. Going all-cloud is like downgrading from SSD to HDD, speedwise. There will be more lag in any kind of situation. Android was about choice and what made sense, but its clear its purpose is to force Google services down one's throat. Good hardware is just a sugar coating around the bait.

    So Google thinks it can herd sheep like Apple? Well, I'm moving on to Windows pastures.
    Reply
  • CFWhitman - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    I expect WinRT devices to be like this as well. It looks like custom ROMs and Chinese devices are going to be the places I'll have to go to get what I want. Reply
  • Penti - Saturday, June 30, 2012 - link

    Really? That is weak, they should update the software, maybe ExFAT is out of question but unofficial support with Ext4 should be available for those that like to use it. I thought Asus already licensed it from Microsoft though. Ext4 is supported natively on either a Linux desktop or on OS X and Windows with third party software though, at least. SDXC is made a nonstandard thanks to Microsoft not licensing ExFAT via the standard itself. Most license it via Microsoft though. I thought they even supported NTFS, maybe it's because Google does the software, but they could still fix it as long as the builder of the device actually has a license. Reply
  • probedb - Saturday, June 30, 2012 - link

    I guess I'll be rooting this at some point then ;) Reply
  • Impulses - Saturday, June 30, 2012 - link

    Yeah, it'll surely support host mode once rooted and I imagine that'll become reason number one to do so. Reply
  • nemi2 - Monday, July 02, 2012 - link

    Check out the nexus 7 formus on XDA. There are people with root and they have OTG usb storage working. Files can be written and read from the external USB storage. Only issue at the moment is that mount points or something is wrong so direct playback of media (videos) from the external storage is not working. expect that to be fixed soon. Reply
  • nemi2 - Monday, July 02, 2012 - link

    Also... I see the first custom ROM for the Nexus 7 is up, as well as rooting toolkits and CWM install instructions. ;-) Reply
  • tusaro - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    Hi since it has an USB port someine could design a protective frame like the ones for phone with built in sd or microsd slot and even a 3g sim card slot connected by USB Reply
  • colgur - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the article.

    I have a USB modem compatible with Ubuntu. Google demonstrated USB-to-ETH. Do you think Nexus 7 will be able to use any USB-to-cellular?
    Reply
  • kimhdstar - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 - link

    for storage, there is a very effective application on play store Nexus Media Importer, then you can connect your usb, hard drive or memory card with the Nexus 7 for unlimited storage (no need for root), here is the link to the application:
    https://play.google.com/store/.....

    for Flash Player, Mozilla Firefox gives you the ultimate solution to this problem,

    for the desktop rotation , the application ultimate rotation in the store play takes charge of this problem: https://play.google.com/store/.....

    if there is another problem with this tablet , share it !!

    tchaawww!
    Reply

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