Many people find that they regularly run out of storage space on their smartphone, with the amount of data being kept gradually outpacing the capacity of even high-end handsets. A Dialaphone poll has found although the storage offered by mobile devices is increasing there’s still limitations on what people can and can’t keep.
The results indicate that people feel restricted by their smartphone’s storage capacity, which is surprising considering that high-end handsets now regularly come in 16GB, 32GB and even 64GB versions, with the top end of this scale being enough to hold a huge amount. However, it appears that more and more data is now being kept by the people who use these devices, and the amount of photos, videos and personal information is outpacing the rate at which manufacturers are increasing storage.
With high-end smartphones now capable of capturing 1080p video and high-res images, the space that these take up increases due to their large files sizes. This can be added to further by the likes of HTC Zoe, which captures short clips from which individual frames can be selected, with the high-quality footage then taking up even more space on the handset.
Along with this the room taken up by apps is also increasing. Data analysts ABI research found that between March and October 2012, iOS gaming apps increased in size by 42%, with those that take up over a gigabyte of space now being commonplace.
During the same time period the average size of all types of Android apps increased by 10%, taking up more and more space on a user’s smartphone. While there are still many small apps that only weigh in at a couple of megabytes, there are others which contain a huge amount of data, such as those which deal with video content and music.
Beyond this there is a further hurdle which people have to deal with; the OS itself. While handsets are advertised with certain storage capacities, what often goes unmentioned is that not all of this space is available to the user due to several gigabytes being taken up by the phone’s operating system.
Samsung recently found itself the subject of a report by the BBC’s Watchdog programme after complaints that just over half of the 16GB version of the Galaxy S4’s storage was available for personal use. The rest was taken up by the Android software, user interface and pre-installed apps, although the Korean firm has since issued an update which makes a little more room on its flagship device.
There are ways of working around these problems, such as making use of a microSD card for storing music, movies and other media. A more modern solution is cloud storage, which can vastly increase the amount of space that’s on offer and is easy to access via a smartphone.
The increased data speeds offered by 4G networks makes this even easier and we could be moving toward a future where more and more of our digital possessions are stored in the cloud and streamed rather than being downloaded. However, this can still be an expensive business with the mobile data costs that could be incurred.
Ultimately, the physical size of smartphones does limit the amount of internal storage that they can offer and we feel that online storage is the way forward. This option is also far more secure, meaning that you won’t lose data should your handset get stolen, go missing or be damaged. There may well be another leap in handset storage space in the near future but years from now we can see almost all of our media and data being held online, ready for us to access whenever we want.