You may have noticed that among the first crop of Windows Phone 7 smartphones that only the Samsung Focus has a memory expansion slot. The reason for this is that the new Microsoft mobile OS doesn’t treat flash memory cards like older Windows Mobile or current Android smartphones do.
Because Windows Phone 7 employs memory cards differently than most mobile devices, we’ve posted a page in the Help Center to answer questions you might have about the Focus and its special memory card handling.
Read: Samsung Focus microSD Memory Card Help
I was very interested to read Paul Thurrott’s post today regarding Windows Phone 7 and flash memory cards. I wanted to share the highlights with you as this will likely be of great interest to those looking forward to grabbing one of the first Windows Phones released next month.
In the post, Mr. Thurrott confirms that Windows Phone 7 will – despite some previous indications to the contrary – support memory cards microSD and microSDHC). But that support is somewhat unusual in its implementation. Rather than being adjunct storage – i.e. something you can use,remove and/or upgrade on a whim like an external hard drive on a PC or an Android phone’s memory card – Windows Phone 7 will add the space on a microSD card to primary device storage. Put another way, the OS will see the additional storage no differently than the internal storage, so files will be stored in internal memory and/or card memory as needed. Removing the card, therefore, would result in missing files, likely causing system malfunctions (missing apps, app data, music, etc.). To remove or replace the card, you’ll have to perform a hard reset, restoring the device to factory specs.
To make things even more interesting, the microSD cards – according to the post – won’t even be readable on a PC if you were to remove it and try to access the information stored there via a card reader. This suggests either encryption or a non-standard file system.
I can’t imagine why such a setup would be desirable, but Mr. Thurrott says details will be forthcoming. I can imagine that this will cause problems, particularly when users want to expand storage after a few months’ use and are met with system errors only a hard reset can correct. Perhaps there’ll be some backup and restore solution via the Zune PC software which would allow for painless memory card upgrades?
Apparently, Microsoft has also mandated that hardware manufacturers that do opt for memory card slots must position them under the battery, presumably to curb the notion of the cards being hot-swapable.
M. Nichols, Products Editor
Prices have fallen quickly on the new 32GB microSD flash memory cards. A few weeks ago, the 32GB microSDHC card from SanDisk was priced at over $170. Today, you can get the card for under $100 at Amazon.com: it’s currently selling for $91 with free shipping.
We don’t expect this price to fall much more in the near future. This may be about as good as it gets until there’s downward pressure from newer cards.
Modern Windows Mobile and Android phones are compatible with 32GB microSDHC cards. iPhones, of course, have no memory card slots.
I’ve been actively looking for 32GB microSDHC cards for weeks, and have yet to see any show up in my favorite online stores (Amazon, Buy.com, etc.). This morning, after a friend asked me what was going on the 32 gigabyte microSD front, I decided to dig a little deeper. Although there are still no 32GB microSDHC cards in the top-tier online stores (as far as I can tell), there are now several of these gems for sale on eBay, new and unopened.
Most of the search results for “32GB microsd” are 32GB standard SD cards or kits with two 16GB microSDs, so I’ve tried to narrow the results as much as I can to help shoppers looking for these new high-capacity cards:
View 32GB microSDHC Memory Cards on eBay
Keep in mind that 32GB microSD cards won’t work in every device with a microSDHC card slot, though most late-model Windows Mobile and Android smartphones are 32GB-ready. Check your product literature for details.
UPDATE: Some users have posted comments regarding 32GB microSD scammers on eBay. Unfortunately, scams are always a possibility with P2P sales services like eBay, but there are ways to reduce the risk to almost zero:
Check sellers’ ratings to make sure they’re highly rated – 99% or better is ideal.
Don’t purchase items from eBay sellers with less than 30 recent sales which have received positive ratings.
Check a seller’s sales history to see if they’ve sold the same item you’re looking to buy and have received positive feedback from a buyer for it.
Pay with a service like PayPal that has a buyer protection policy.
UPDATE: The SanDisk 32GB microSDHC memory card is now available for purchase at Amazon.com.
32GB microSD cards will soon be a reality – but it’ll cost you. SanDisk has just announced that it will begin shipping the 32GB version of its microSDHC flash memory cards in the U.S. next month, for the low-low price of $199 per unit.
The company is already accepting pre-orders for the card (model SDSDQY-032G-A11M). Third-party retailers such as Amazon.com and Buy.com will likely begin selling the 32GB card in the next few weeks, and almost certainly for less than the sky-high MSRP.
Many smartphones running Windows Mobile and Android are already compatible with 32GB microSDHC memory cards. Check your product literature for details.
SanDisk Press Release