Samsung claims to need to store my “device’s unique identification number, model name, carrier code, security policy records, … current software version, MCC (Mobile Country Code), [and] MNC (Mobile Network Code)” merely to provide SELinux policy updates to my phone.

ORLY? 1bbthn367vexe.png


David Megginson December 18, 2015 06:08

Time to root?

Michael K Johnson December 18, 2015 06:30

It’s my work phone. I’ll only root my personal phone.

But my next personal phone will be my first non-Samsung-manufactured Android phone, starting with the AT&T Captivate…

David Megginson December 18, 2015 06:44

I’ve been happy with my Nexus 6 so far, despite the sealed battery.

Michael K Johnson December 18, 2015 06:53

It’s ironic that after my first failing battery, I’m ordering one without a user-replaceable battery, but there’s not much choice these days. ☹

Garrett LeSage December 18, 2015 07:12

Things like this, and timely security and feature updates, are reasons for going pure Nexus when you can. (Too bad you cannot use a Nexus as your work phone.)

Michael K Johnson December 18, 2015 07:39

+Garrett LeSage​ I could have but chose not to. I have not agreed with many of the “Model T Ford” choices (of the “you can have any color you want as long as it is black” variety) in the Nexus line.

Garrett LeSage December 18, 2015 07:43

There are several different colors in the Nexus line now. (Even the Nexus 5 had white and red, although red was a limited release.) There are more color choices — and now for the first time – size choices too innthe Nexus lineup. It definitely has improved recently.

However, with all that said, I agree with you and would really like other manufacturers to stick to the hardware and ship stock software for more choice in handsets overall too, so we don’t wind up sharing all our information with all the companies involved in making a device.

Michael K Johnson December 18, 2015 07:51

I’m not actually taking about color. That was a metaphor. I’m taking about design choices, things like not having microSD. My work S6 is my first phone without removable storage and I dislike the omission as much as I expected I would.

Garrett LeSage December 18, 2015 10:02

Sure, it would be nice to have microSD. I, personally, do not really miss it (was wine with 32 gigs before, but happy to have 64 gigs of storage), but I can understand why someone would. (I don’t really watch media offline on my phone. However, if I would, I’d use a USB-OTG cable or something similar for USB-C.)

I do understand the many reasons behind NOT having microSD:

  1. People often buy the cheapest microSD card they can. This drags down the whole system’s speed down.

  2. Important stuff can go on a microSD card, and when it fails, things like apps and important data for apps would cause apps to no longer work.

  3. Prior to Marshmallow, microSD cards were not encrypted. If a phone is stolen or otherwise taken by someone other than the owner, there’s full access to the files stored on it. This has been fixed in Android 6.x, thankfully.

  4. The market is flooded with a lot of bad SD and microSD cards that pretend that they’re a certain size, and are sometimes even labeled in a legitimate way. If someone puts data on the card, it will (often silently) fail.

So, there are several very valid reasons to NOT support having a microSD card in phones. It’s not even about the cost of the hardware, the additional space needed to add the microSD port, or trying to emphasize cloud storage.

Many of the above wouldn’t be an issue for people who really know what they’re doing… but how many aside from the most tech-savvy of us would be able to figured out that a microSD card is a fraud? or know that is why the phone is running so slow now? or even consider the fact that thieves may have our personal data if a phone is stolen?

Michael K Johnson December 18, 2015 10:17

I recognize that those arguments are suggested to justify the omission, but I think that kind of reasoning can be used to justify lots of limitations that make the phone less useful, and if I wanted the manufacturer to pat me on the head and tell me to not bother my head about technical things and go play games, I’d use an iPhone. Apple has a lock on that market. I continue to think that the real reason is that Google benefits by pushing data aggressively into the cloud and they are pushing for phone designs that incent cloud storage.

I more specifically reject the card fraud argument because if it were truly a reason to leave out the port, it would also be truly a reason to leave them out of cameras, which (as I and fortunately many others see it) is absurd.

I understand that others don’t agree with me, and I don’t insist that I’m right any more than I agree with them. ☺

My use for microSD is very specific: I store all my music on a card, and then don’t write to it. I could use it in an emergency to store photos on if I run out of phone space, but that almost never happens (more specifically, has happened to me only once, long ago) because when I’m shooting thousands of pictures I have my real camera.

So I’m glad that my next personal phone will have a microSD slot.

Garrett LeSage December 18, 2015 10:50

Yep, I think you shouldn’t have to choose between a stock Android experience and a microSD card slot.

The difference with the camera is that people don’t add camera modules after-the-fact. In fact, aside from SIMs, microSD cards are the really only hardware someone adds to a phone. It’s a hard problem to solve correctly when there are a ton of actual issues with SD cards. However, I can think of several ways to design around all of the problems listed, to ensure microSD cards are appropriate for use. (Basically: The initial use of a microSD card could have a simple verification step that ensures the card is fast enough and actually has the storage it claims. This would solve all the real remaining issues, as Marshmallow already covers the encryption problem. Adding hardware can be offset by adjusting the price slightly. Adding a tony bit of thickness could be accounted for if people ignore trying to win the largest-but-thinnest phone race.)

Now that there are actually two Nexus devices, hopefully Google will treat the split a bit differently next year and have at least one of them with a microSD card. We’ll have to see. Meanwhile, a manufacturer might start to go with stock Android. Motorola was pretty close, and Sony is not so far (especially now with their new official AOSP-based releases), from what I’ve read.

Michael K Johnson December 18, 2015 13:34

Call the initial use “Format for maximum capacity” with an annotation that it takes longer than a “quick format” and people might even choose it! (I still want the option to mount without encrypting when I’m not putting anything sensitive on it, since I write my music to the microSD card on my computer and sometimes move the card to a different device on which I want to play the music.)

Yeah, I came pretty close to buying a Z5 earlier in part due to being closer to stock; in the end it looks like the Moto X Pure will get Marshmallow faster and is a very similar phone for my purposes. I’m not thrilled with the larger size; I’m hoping it doesn’t feel too large in my hand. And I’m not thrilled that I’ll have a work phone with back button on the lower right and personal phone with the back button on the lower left; that’s going to mess me up. But oh well…

Garrett LeSage December 19, 2015 04:58

MKBHD’s video of the smartphone of the year 2015 is pretty great, covering many of the best ones for various reasons: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> – I wonder how many of these have microSD slots.

Imported from Google+ — content and formatting may not be reliable