Trending February 2024 # You Told Us: Your Current Smartphone Supports Storage Expansion # Suggested March 2024 # Top 11 Popular

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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Storage expansion isn’t necessarily a given in the smartphone space these days. Sure, microSD slots are very common in budget tiers, but they’re becoming somewhat of a rarity in the flagship space.

It all brings to mind the 3.5mm port and how it’s disappeared from higher-end segments. So with this in mind, we asked Android Authority readers whether their current phone has storage expansion (via microSD or NM card).

Does your current phone support storage expansion?



Results

Comments

Phonecard Mike: I will not buy a phone without expandable storage. Having all of my music collection with me is important – quality, convenience and not having to worry about a signal for streaming. I currently have a Note20 Ultra with 512GB internal and 1TB external. I have loaded over 110,000 songs on it and have room for hd video should I need to take a video. Embrace technology, it is not that much more to add to a phone. I won’t buy another Samsung unless it has this feature.

Diwa Alejandro Galvez: Yes. Here in the Philippines, where internet is both expensive and slow, we need our Micro SDs. Most of us have low to medium income, and we live in a developing country, hence we aren’t spoiled with flagship phones. Most of us opt for phones that are cheap yet usable enough, and those phones often sacrifice their internal storage for this.

thesecondsight: I don’t purchase a phone unless it comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack, an FM radio chip and expandable storage. Last summer an F3 tornado tore through my small town. My home was spared but I was without power for two days. During those days without power, access to cloud service and the internet was non-existent. However, I was still able to enjoy two days’ worth of entertainment due to expandable storage. All of my mp3 music tracks, e-books, e-comics, console game emulators/roms, mp4 movies and offline gaming apps like Titan Quest are locally saved.

KRB: My phones have always supported expandable memory. In fact I’d probably not by a phone without it, being able to simply and quickly swap the SD card and the nearly two-thousand songs I carry is a heck of a lot faster than waiting for my laptop to write all that data to a new device over some cable. Also my playlists exist on the SD card but not my inventory on my laptop.

James Updike: I just got the Pixel 6 pro. It doesn’t have a headphone jack, but I would never go back to wearing wired headphones anyway. It doesn’t have an SD card slot. That would be nice, but it’s not a deal breaker. 128 GB is enough for all the apps I need and all my pictures and videos are automatically backed up to the cloud So I can always clear up space

Shizuma: Nope, and I don’t care either, I used to back in the days when Android phones all shipped with pitifully low 16GB of storage, or maybe 32GB, but now that 128GB is pretty much the min I see no reason to care since it’s more than I would ever need on a phone.

user65: No. Even though my previous phones had expansion slots and I bought cards for them, I rarely used them. My current phone is a OnePlus Nord with 256GB of storage. I have about 15 apps, 10 games, 20 albums and various photos, which adds up to around 39GB of space used. An expansion card slot isn’t necessary. And for backup, my phone is setup to automatically backup every photo I take to Google My Drive.

Joe Black: As I use Pixel, I sadly do not have the option of expendable storage … or a headphone jack

Demongornot: Sadly, the POCO F2 Pro doesn’t have one, but thankfully, it still has a 3.5mm Jack though

You're reading You Told Us: Your Current Smartphone Supports Storage Expansion

We Asked, You Told Us: You Prefer Google Chrome Over Samsung Internet

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Google Chrome isn’t the only major mobile web browser on the market, as there are quite a few challengers out there. One of the biggest challengers is Samsung Internet though, shipping with Samsung phones.

Samsung’s app bucks the trend of ho-hum manufacturer-backed browsers by actually being pretty good. Between features like ad blocking, anti-tracking, and redirect warnings, Samsung Internet has plenty of welcome additions. And that’s aside from things like the toolbar, customization, and dark mode.

Our own Mitja Rutnik praised Samsung Internet in an article recently, but also asked Android Authority readers whether they preferred Samsung’s browser or Google Chrome. Here’s what you told us.

Do you prefer Google Chrome or Samsung Internet?



Results

We first posed this question on our website on January 24 2023, subsequently posting it to YouTube and Twitter as well. Over 38,100 people voted across all three platforms, and the overall results show that almost 70% of users prefer Chrome to Samsung Internet.

It’s understandable that people would opt for this pick, as more people likely have experience with Chrome on mobile than Samsung Internet. So it could be a case of some users voting for what they know rather than trying out Samsung’s offering first. Several users also pointed to Chrome features like cross-platform synchronization as a reason why they picked Google’s browser.

Comments

Diwa Galvez: I’ve tried Chrome, Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, UC, Samsung Internet, Firefox, and Brave. I still use Samsung Internet for both my tablet and my phone.

Shaunak: I am 100% onboard. Save some sights that block its use on purpose, I have had a much better experience on Samsung Internet. The dark mode is a killer feature!

missmotta: I love the Samsung browser for all the reasons you stated. It just works. And dark mode! Hallelujah! I do keep Chrome for certain websites that don’t play nice with Samsung ,like when I’m trying to share financial information, but it’s definitely been my daily driver for years. I’m hoping more people give it a try since it’s available in the play store for any Android device.

: Chrome’s sync feature is so good that I can’t leave it

darjen: Samsung Internet also works a lot better with Dex, where chrome crashes more frequently. I also like Opera better, with its adblock and built in vpn. It may be a small thing, but Chrome has no way to make new tabs open in the foreground. I hate having to scroll all the way up to the top in order to switch over to the new tab. There is also Opera’s setting to always use desktop versions of websites which is very helpful in Dex.

Bojan Tomic: No need to change anyone’s mind. Chrome is just superior.

ANTHONYinCALI: For what I do on the internet chrome is the way to go. Idc where the toolbar is or really about any of those extra features in the article. All I care about is the curated articles, the password sync between devices, and dark mode. Samsung Internets dark mode is amazing and I really wish chrome did dark mode like that but it’s not quite enough to get me to switch.

jdrch: Firefox Nightly on Android is even better. So is Microsoft Edge. At least with those 2 you can sync to a desktop browser. No such thing with Samsung Internet.

That’s it for our Chrome vs Samsung Internet poll! What do you think of the topic and results? Feel free to share your thoughts below!

Overclock Your Smartphone, If You Dare

WARNING: Overclocking is not for the faint of heart. Do not attempt to hack your phone unless you understand and accept the risks of turning it into a useless “brick.”

However, Android phones typically allow everything from overclocking the processor for speed boosts to installing entirely different operating systems.

We have open source to thank for such cell phone hacks; the fact Android is built on Linux allows people to view the code and make modifications entirely legally, albeit without the blessing of handset manufacturers.

Of all the tweaks, overclocking–which involves tweaking the phone’s processor to run at a higher clock rate than its maker intended–seems to offer significant rewards. A previously laggy phone can be turned into a truly responsive handset and for a zero-dollar outlay.

But is it wise to overclock a phone that cost several hundred dollars and is tied to a lengthy and expensive contract?

The question might seem to answer itself, but the real-world issues to consider are heat generation and decreased battery life between charges. After all, some phones struggle with these problems at stock speeds set by manufacturers.

Although warnings are always given about possible hardware damage arising via overclocking, most PCs get away with it provided adequate cooling is provided. Essentially, the faster a chip runs, the more heat gets generated.

In most cases you can set upper and lower clock speeds for your phone, and the phone will scale between the two extremes depending on user demands. It’s even possible to under-clock to stretch out battery life, although the phone may be punishingly slow to use.

However, while overclocking presents risks, they’re nothing compared to installing a custom firmware. If anything goes wrong there’s a real chance your phone will become little more than an expensive paperweight. For obvious reasons this is known as “bricking” a phone. You upgrade at your own risk, and should only do so with the power lead attached to the phone. Double and triple-check to make sure you have the correct files for your make, model, and perhaps even hardware revision of phone, if applicable.

You might lose any data stored in the phone, such as text messages and contacts, so perform a backup beforehand.

The Profiles section of the app lets you set CPU speeds for various phone modes. You can set the phone to always run overclocked when the charger is attached, for example, or ramp down the speeds when battery life goes below 50 percent. Many users claim they’ve even extended their battery life by setting very low CPU speeds for “Screen Off” periods, when the phone goes into hibernation mode after it’s been slipped into a pocket or bag, for example.

When overclocking watch out for the heat issue, which might take a few minutes to show after the change has been made. Try doing processor-intensive tasks, such as browsing Websites with a lot of content, for example, or playing video files.

If you decide overclocking isn’t for you, it should be possible to perform a factory restore by resinstalling your phone’s original firmware. Visit the phone manufacturer’s Website for details.

Keir Thomas has been writing about computing since the last century, and more recently has written several best-selling books. You can learn more about him at

and his Twitter feed is

@keirthomas

Best Voice Recognition Apps For Your Smartphone

Voice-recognition software is nothing new. But put it on a smartphone, and it comes to life. All of the frustrations of trying to control your PC by voice–fiddling for a microphone, repeating yourself again and again, resisting the urge to relent and turn to your trusty keyboard–are eliminated when you use the same technology on your mobile phone.

Luckily, plenty of apps provide such access–and more. Here’s a roundup of some of today’s best voice-recognition apps for your phone.

Google Mobile Apps

Platform: Android, BlackBerry, iOS

Price: Free

Whatever platform you’re on, you can give your fingers a rest with one of Google’s Mobile Apps. Whether you use the Google Quick Search Box on Android, the Google Mobile app for the iPhone, or the Google Search App for BlackBerry, the application lets you access the goodness of Google with the power of your voice. Search the Web, your contacts, and more without lifting a finger.

Bing

Platform: Android, iOS

Google isn’t the only search engine in town–and it isn’t the only one that delivers mobile searches powered by voice, either. Microsoft’s Bing does it, too, with the same elegance that the desktop Decision Engine delivers.

Vlingo

Platform: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Nokia, Windows Phone

Price: Free (Basic version only; prices of Plus versions vary by platform)

Personal assistants are not just for the rich and famous: In virtual form, they’re also available to smartphone users. With versions for Android, iOS, and other platforms, the Vlingo app does your bidding, whether you want it to update your Facebook status, fire off a text message, or search the Web.

Siri Assistant

Platform: iOS

Price: Free

Too busy to type? Turn to Siri Assistant, a virtual personal assistant that resembles Vlingo but is more focused on such tasks as finding restaurants, making reservations, locating theater tickets, and booking taxis. And just like a human assistant, Siri Assistant learns more about your personal preferences over time.

DriveSafe.ly Pro

Platform: Android, BlackBerry, iOS

Price: $13.95 per year

Dragon Downloadable Apps

Platform: Android, BlackBerry, iOS

Price: Varies

Nuance’s popular line of Dragon voice-recognition software has gone mobile. The company offers various mobile apps, including Dragon Dictation (free), which lets you control many functions of your iOS device by voice; Dragon for Email (free), which enables BlackBerry users to compose and send messages by voice; and FlexT9 for Android ($4.99), which lets you choose your preferred method of input–speak, trace, write, or tap–based on your current needs.

ChaCha Answers

Platform: Android

Price: Free

Search engines are great when you’re looking for a wide swath of information. But if you have a narrowly specific question, digging through multiple pages of results looking for a simple answer is counterproductive. That’s when you need ChaCha Answers, a question-and-answer service that provides quick answers to your pressing questions.

Jibbigo Voice Translation

Platform: Android, iOS

Price: $4.99 and up

What good is talking if your intended audience can’t understand what your saying? Enter Jibbigo. This two-way translation app for Android and iOS listens as you talk in one language, and then translates your words into another language. It’s available in eight different language pairs, including English, Filipino, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish.

Storage King For A Day: Dreaming Of Storage

A few weeks ago I had a dream that I was the COB, CEO, and CTO of a major storage company, with the opportunity to architect and develop any product I wanted. Basically, I got to be the storage king in this dream, but of course, with being a king comes the responsibilities of your subjects (the company stockholders and employees) and your lineage (ensuring that you are successful in the market so your company has a future).Also, as a king you are periodically required to take over other lands (buy companies), make treaties with others (joint marketing and/or development agreements), or declare war and eliminate the enemy (beat them in the market to render them a non-factor).

As a mere storage consultant, I figured dreams could not get any better than this, and the best part was I remembered the dream in the morning. That next morning, I began thinking about the reality of what’s missing in the market and what requirements are not being met by the major product vendors’ current product offerings.

The old adage “build it and they will come” may well apply to mundane evolutionary products, but what about revolutionary products? What market requirements are not currently being met, and if the market truly is ready for something revolutionary in terms of large storage configurations, what would the product look like and why would customers consider buying it?

What Market Requirements Aren’t Being Met

Again, if I were king, I would first have my marketing requirements people confirm my speculation, but I personally believe there are three very important factors currently missing from the market. First, though, let me define the market.

I like to differentiate between storage and data. Storage for the most part has become a commodity market. RAID, for example, is now sold by dollars per gigabyte ($10-$20 is often quoted), while back in 1996 I remember RAID costs of over $1 per megabyte.

With storage now delivered and marketed as a commodity, what about the critical information you put on the storage — your data? To me, that’s where the real value is. People in general really do not care all that much about storage, but data is a completely different story. I believe that in the future data will become a more important requirement of the storage architecture, and the focus might even change from that of storage architecture to data architecture. (Well, that’s my hope at least, both as a consultant and as storage king in my dream.)

So the bottom line is that as king I want to define the market for my company as data, not with data being storage, but rather how you access, protect, maintain, and migrate what appears as files on the computer systems used. This includes, in most cases, the file system(s) that are used on top of the storage. And while raw devices are sometimes used for databases, for all intents and purposes the database is really managing the raw device the same as a file system manages a raw device, which is why I contend the database is a file system.

With all of this is mind, let’s take a closer look at what requirements are specifically missing from the market today:

High performance and predictive scaling

End-to-end security

Simplified management

Page 2: High Performance and Predictive Scaling

Continued from Page 1

High Performance and Predictive Scaling

Some newer NAS products do scale reasonably well, but you are currently limited to 1 Gbit connections (some new 10 Gbit host cards are out, but even at PCI-X 133, they cannot be used efficiently). Most sites requiring multiple gigabytes of performance solve the high performance problem by using Fibre Channel-attached storage. Given the TCP/IP overhead and NFS, this is not possible with NAS, as even 100 MB/sec from a single host is nearly impossible.

For the most part, file systems do not scale linearly. There are many reasons for this lack of scaling, including:

Sometimes the cause is due to the applications using the file system utilizing significant system overhead (see this article for more information)

If the file system does not place data in sequential block order on the RAID, the RAID cannot know how to efficiently operate. The SCSI protocol does not provide a way of passing the data topology to the RAID, so if the data is not read sequentially and allocated sequentially, the RAID operates inefficiently, which means that scaling with the hardware is not really possible.

Even if the addresses are not allocated sequentially, most RAID devices still try and readahead, but this adds overhead, as you are reading data that you will not use, which of course reduces the RAID performance. A new device allocation method will be developed over the next few years that uses objects. This method is now in the process of being standardized. This development should help, but the file system will still need to communicate with the object, and work on that end is far in the future at best.

Page 3: End-to-End Security

Continued from Page 2

End-to-End Security

Most local file systems provide standard security such as ACL (access control lists), UNIX groups, and permissions. Some file systems support encryption such as Microsoft NTFS on a file or folder basis, but encryption is very CPU intensive, and key management gets more difficult as we all get older and forget our many passwords more and more often. The issue of end-to-end local file system security has not been efficiently solved from the host to the RAID either. (Please review this article for a closer look at this issue.)

Now, add to this the requirements for multi-level security, or MLS, that many vendors are moving toward for authentication and tracking file access. The U.S. Government has some new requirements in this area that are interesting for both operating system security and encryption, but even with these requirements, true end-to-end security still comes up short.

In addition, as you may have read from past articles, I have been involved with shared file systems for a long time, and security policy between multiple vendors’ operating systems with shared file systems is virtually impossible. Some of the problems in this area are that file systems distributed across heterogeneous operating systems have no common and often no public interface for security, and issues like HBA, switch, RAID, tape, and SAN/WAN encryption have not been adequately addressed either.

Simplified Management

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a tool that:

Manages your shared file system(s) on multiple platforms

Manages and tracks security policies for the file system, HBAs, switches, RAIDs, tapes, and libraries

Allows replication of data for use by others and for disaster planning and recovery

Manages all of your storage infrastructure, including configuration, performance analysis, and error reporting

Conducts performance analysis of data through the file system, to the HBA, to the switch, to the RAID, to the HSM, and/or to backup software, and out to the SAN/WAN

I’m sure I’m missing a few things, but even all of the above would be the Holy Grail for management. Unfortunately, though, we’re nowhere close to having a tool that does all of this. A number of vendors are working on tools — VERITAS, McDATA, and EMC, just to name a few — that will help somewhat, but we won’t be arriving at the Holy Grail anytime soon, I’m afraid.

Page 4: What This Product Would Solve

Continued from Page 3

What This Product Would Solve

Assuming that the market analysis is valid and that the pain points customers are suffering from are correct enough for them to considering purchasing it, the product I would create would be a SAN/NAS hybrid that combines the best of both worlds and adds significant new features.

Many NAS limitations are based on TCP/IP overhead, and NAS does not allow for centralized control. The only way to centrally control a heterogeneous shared file system is to move most of the functionality to a single unit, as you cannot control an end-to-end security policy from one host in a pool of heterogeneous machines.

So, for the data-centric world I think is coming, the only way to manage the data is to create a single machine with a new DMA-based protocol that looks like NFS in terms of no changes to the user application, but scales more like a locally-attached RAID communicating without TCP/IP. This new protocol would have to support:

Authentication

Encryption

High performance and scalability (i.e. low overhead)

DMA communication of the data to the host

No application changes (POSIX standards and read/write/open system calls)

WAN and SAN access

The new box would have a tight coupling between the file system and the reliable storage. I might have RAID 1-like functions for small random access files and RAID 5-like functions for larger, sequentially accessed files. The file system could understand the topology of the file in question and read ahead based on access patterns like reading the file backward, even though the file might not be sequentially allocated. Tight coupling between the cache and the data would improve scaling and reduce latency and costs.

Ah, cost — that’s the key. What would the return on investment (ROI) be for this new data-centric device? Well, that’ where my dream ended. We may never know if this box would work, what the ROI would be, and whether or not people would actually buy it, but I do believe it meets the requirements of the market.

Can it be built? I think it can. Will it be built? I don’t know, but it sure would solve a bunch of problems if done correctly.

See All Articles by Columnist Henry Newman

Storage Basics: Deciphering Sesas (Strange, Esoteric Storage Acronyms)

With all the acronyms floating around in storage discussions these days — and with new ones seemingly popping up on a daily basis — it can be quite difficult keeping on top of them all. As such, we often get emails from readers asking about many of these mysterious acronyms and what they mean to network storage. Sometimes understanding what the acronym stands for is enough to gain some understanding of the technology; other times it doesn’t help much at all. In the next two Storage Basics articles, we’re going to uncover a few of these acronyms, starting with FCIP, iFCP, SoIP, NDMP, and SMI-S.

FCIP

When we spell out the acronym FCIP, Fibre Channel over IP, we get an idea of what the protocol is designed for. FCIP represents two separate technologies designed to address storage networking requirements as well as the need to network over large distances. The first component is Fibre Channel. Fibre Channel is an established technology optimized for storage-data movement, interoperability, and proven applications for localized storage networking. The second component, Internet Protocol (IP), is a mature technology with a proven ability to transport data over WAN distances.

FCIP combines the best features of both Fibre Channel and the Internet Protocol to connect distributed SANs. FCIP encapsulates Fibre Channel and transports it over a TCP socket. FCIP is considered a tunneling protocol, as it makes a transparent point-to-point connection between geographically separated SANs over IP networks. FCIP relies on TCP/IP services to establish connectivity between remote SANs over LANs, MANs, or WANs. TCP/IP is also responsible for congestion control and management, as well as for data error and data loss recovery.

Page 2: iFCP

iFCP

Often confused with FCIP is the closely named iFCP. The Internet Fibre Channel Protocol (iFCP), however, is an entirely different technology. iFCP allows an organization to extend Fibre Channel storage networks over the Internet using TCP/IP. As with FCIP, TCP is responsible for managing congestion control as well as error detection and recovery services.

The differences between the two technologies are straightforward. FCIP is used to extend an existing Fibre Channel fabric with an IP-based tunnel, allowing networking over distances. This means that the FCIP tunnel is IP-based, but everything else remains Fibre Channel.

iFCP, on the other hand, represents a potential migration strategy from current Fibre Channel SANs to future IP SANs. iFCP gateways can either complement existing Fibre Channel fabrics or replace them altogether. iFCP allows an organization to create an IP SAN fabric that minimizes the Fibre Channel fabric component and maximizes use of the company’s TCP/IP infrastructure.

Storage over IP (SoIP)

Another technology that harnesses IP-based storage is known as Storage over IP (SoIP). SoIP refers to the merging of Fibre Channel technologies with IP-based technology. As mentioned when discussing iFCP and FCIP, merging Fibre Channel technology and IP allows high availability and high performance storage solutions over great distances. SoIP uses standard IP-based protocols, including Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), and Routing Information Protocol (RIP).

As you can imagine, using familiar IP-based protocols makes SoIP highly compatible with existing Ethernet infrastructures. For those wondering about how SoIP differs from technologies such as iSCSI, the difference is in the IP transport protocol used. iSCSI uses the TCP protocol for transport, while SoIP uses the User Datagram Protocol (UDP).

TCP is a protocol that provides connection-oriented (guaranteed) delivery of packets across the network. Unlike TCP, UDP offers a best delivery mechanism for packets. As such, it offers lower overhead and therefore more efficient transport. UDP is a connectionless protocol and does not guarantee the delivery of data packets. UDP is used when reliable delivery is not necessary (i.e. when another protocol or service is already responsible for handling this).

Because of the use of UDP, SoIP data transport is faster, yet more unreliable, than iSCSI. The goal of SoIP, like other IP storage options, is to use an existing IP infrastructure to reduce additional hardware costs and retraining.

Page 3: NDMP

NDMP

The final technologies we will review in this article are the Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) and the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S). Today’s network environments are becoming increasingly heterogeneous with multiple hardware and software vendors represented. From time to time, operating systems are upgraded, and over time there is a diverse range of backup media technologies and devices used on a network.

In such environments, backing up and restoring data can become a management nightmare, as each software and hardware backup product can interact with applications in different chúng tôi is designed to facilitate interoperability in these types of heterogeneous environments. In a typical backup configuration, a backup occurs from the server to a backup device with the backup software controlling and managing the entire process. Individual software vendors use their own protocols to manage the backup data transfer.

In an NDMP backup configuration, the backup data flows through the server to the backup device using a common interface, regardless of the backup devices used or other hardware and software considerations. NDMP is an open network protocol that effectively standardizes the functional interfaces used in the backup and restore process.

NDMP is based on a client/server architecture that is comprised of three separate components: the NDMP host, the NDMP client, and the NDMP server. The NDMP host is the primary device that stores the original data. A NDMP server will then run on the NDMP host and is responsible for managing the NDMP operations. The NDMP client is the backup management software that controls the NDMP server.

SMI-S

SMI-S is a relative newcomer as well, but is expected to become a significant component for managing heterogeneous computing environments. Developed by the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), SMI-S is based on the Common Interface Model (CIM) and Web-based enterprise management (WBEM). The primary function of SMI-S is to simplify the administration of complex storage networks by allowing interoperability and integration of hardware and software.

SMI-S provides the ability to manage a heterogeneous storage network from a central location and eliminates the need to manage each device with a separate management application. As an added benefit, the increased interoperability gives organizations the ability to purchase any SMI-S SAN device, regardless of manufacturer, without having to worry about whether or not it will work with other vendors’ products.

In this article we’ve reviewed FCIP, iFCP, NDMP, and SoIP. The next Storage Basics article will continue looking at some of the more promising emerging SAN technologies, including Infiniband, VI, and DAFS.

See All Articles by Columnist Mike Harwood

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