Google’s Matias Duarte Explains Why Nexus Devices Have No SD Card
Google’s Android design mastermind, Matias Duarte, was plucked from his role at Palm in 2010, weeks after the company was acquired by HP. He was responsible for the beautiful and functional aesthetic overhaul in Android 3.0 Honeycomb, which was a large influence on the phone UI’s eventual redesign in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
A day after the announcement of the LG Nexus 4, Duarte took to Google+ to answer a few questions about the Nexus program. The queries were varied and passionate, but one thing that came up repeatedly pertained to why Nexus devices don’t have microSD slots. This has been contentious from the very beginning of the program, but with the announcement of the Nexus 4, it’s even more important. The $309 version of the device has 8GB of storage; the $359 one comes with 16GB. There is no $409 32GB version, and Google will not comment on its future availability.
He explained why Google seems to shy away from including microSD slots on its Nexus devices, which has always been a major annoyance for consumers. According to Duarte, including microSD slots makes things “confusing for users.” He brought up a litany of questions that come along with using microSD cards on mobile devices – “If you’re saving photos, videos or music, where does it go? Is it on your phone? Or on your card? Should there be a setting? Prompt everytime?” – and concluded that they just make things too complicated. We’re not sure users would agree with that, but at least now we have Google’s reasoning for not including microSD slots on its devices
Duarte explained Google’s motivation for switching up the status bar and system button with Android 4.2 devices, stating that Google wanted users to have a consistent Android experience across the majority of screens. Duarte says that Google’s utility research found that muscle memory is important, as users will expect the buttons to be in the same place regardless of the device’s orientation. With Android 4.2, Google has made it so the system bar will always keep those three buttons in the same place, though while this happens “dynamically for every screen size,” he does point out that these new system bar updates won’t apply to small handheld screens (read: phones). The reason for this is that having the status bar stretch across the screen horizontally while in landscape mode would leave too little vertical space.
What do you think? Will you be buying a Nexus 4 or Nexus 10 despite a lack of microSD slot?