You know, I’ve always wondered with today’s kind of technology, why nobody has come out with such an implementation yet… with the availability of high capacity microSD/microSDHC memory cards, why not have two to four individual slots for them in a single phone (I think just about all phones currently have only one memory card slot or just a big chunk of internal memory with no expansion slot). This way, consumers and users can decide how much memory they want for their phone and, at the same time, will be able to ‘upgrade’ memory in the future as they see fit. No more dilemmas whether to buy the 16 GB or 32 GB variant of X Phone from Company A, no more having to buy the highest capacity variant of a phone in case “# GB isn’t enough”. And best of all, no more worries whether the repair guy will take a sneak peak at your phone’s contents, or if you’re the paranoid type, having to empty out your entire phone before sending it in.
I have a friend who sent in her Apple iPhone 3G last weekend (for repair) because the speakers malfunctioned and couldn’t work. Besides ranting about how she can’t survive without her iPhone (facepalm), she’s also been worried for all her personal stuff and data she keeps in there. Sure, she has the phone password-protected (which makes me wonder how the Apple repair guy is gonna diagnose the problem and test if the replacement speakers function), but the thought of having all your data in a device in someone else’s hands, away from you, would make anyone shudder, no?
From the side of a manufacturer, having multiple memory card slots in a phone along with perhaps a measly 512 MB or 1 GB (by today’s standards) of built-in memory for the phone’s core; OS and applications, would eliminate the need to market and sell multiple memory variants of a single phone (not to bring them up again, but the biggest example is what Apple is doing with their 8 GB, 16 GB and 32 GB various iPhones). Essentially having a one phone fits all solution, no pun intended. First-time/casual users can “choose” to put just a single 4 GB microSDHC card in one slot, while power users can stuff in something like 16 GB microSDHCs into all available slots.
Sure, probably the most lucrative things about having phones with built-in memory and no expansion is that manufacturers can charge whatever they like for their 8 GB phone, 16 GB phone, etc. because THEY decide the capacity and price, you only get to choose which size you’d like to purchase. But not everyone can pull off such a trick and having big profit margins pouring in. By NOT having a large amount of built-in memory, a manufacturer can probably lower the price of a phone significantly and let consumers outfit their phones with whatever amount of memory (from microSD/SDHC) they feel that they need. Now, you’ll probably be wondering why, why would a company let go of something with high profit margins like overcharging for internal memory? Simple – Market share. By making a phone more affordable to the masses, you get more users. More users mean more chatter about your brand and product, even if it’s just “average”, and if they become satisfied with your product and the user experience it brings, you might just be getting an additional sale from a repeat customer during the next round of phone announcements.
I personally think this is one of many great ways Windows Mobile phone makers (especially HP with their so-so iPAQs lately) can pull up their sales and market share once Windows Mobile 6.6 or 7.0 hits the streets. Make a good mobile phone that offers an intuitive, hassle free user experience along with versatility and expandability… while bringing “memory wars” to a totally new level, among other things (imagine a phone with four microSDHC slots; users can outfit them with 16 GB cards far cheaper than a manufacturer who builds in their own 64 GB module). Not everyone would want or need so much memory, but sometimes the features that sell are those that people think they need but don’t really use in reality.