Galaxy S7

The Galaxy S7 Family Won’t Support Adoptable Storage

February 21, 2016 - Written By David Steele

Now that the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are official, we can start to pour over the detail and specifications of the devices. There are relatively few surprises, but there is something that will delight some fans of Samsung devices because the MicroSD card is back, and it supports cards of up to 200 GB in capacity. After announcing last year that the Galaxy S6 didn’t need a MicroSD card slot, a trait that followed into the Galaxy Note 6, many customers asked for one and so Samsung has put it back into the device. Good for them! So as not to lose the device aesthetics, the MicroSD slot is built into the same area of the SIM slot. However, whilst the Galaxy S7 supports the MicroSD card, Samsung are not implementing the new “adoptable storage” options that is embedded into Android 6.0 Marshmallow – similar to how the LG G5 also has a MicroSD card slot but won’t support adoptable storage.

First, a word about adoptable storage. This is a means of increasing the effective internal storage of a device: the MicroSD card is encrypted to only work with the host device and is treated by the operating system as a part of the handset. The advantage here is that it means a device with relatively limited internal storage (and we are looking at entry level smartphones, such as Android One devices) can benefit from a simple and very effective upgrade. You see, some applications will only install – or will only work properly – when used on the internal storage of a device. Installing the application to the MicroSD card causes the application to crash. Whilst this technique can help a device with limited internal storage, there are a few of disadvantages. The main one is performance: MicroSD cards are not as fast as internal storage, and will be slower with the layer of encryption involved. Having a slow MicroSD card inside a smartphone may well likely slow every application that uses this memory card, and could severely impede how well a smartphone runs. Second, and as Samsung are saying, using a removable MicroSD card as a permanent feature of the device could be confusing for the customer. There are some concerns that a MicroSD card could wear out quickly when used like this, but all storage chips have a finite life and this should not be a concern for the majority of customers.

Samsung have said that some markets, and many in North America, will only receive the 32 GB model of the Galaxy S7. This means that a MicroSD card is a desirable feature and it’s great that Samsung have provided this. For many customers, one would hope that 32 GB of internal storage is enough for those applications and services that must run from internal storage. And our external media cards can be used in the Galaxy S7 as we’ve used them in every other Galaxy S model, apart from the Galaxy S6.