Do you really need 16GB on your phone?

Do you really need 16GB on your phone?

Summary: Pronouncing that a given device doesn't need any more storage is a near-foolproof recipe for looking stupid somewhere down the line. However, I'm sceptical that many people need a 16GB mini-SD card for their phone.


Pronouncing that a given device doesn't need any more storage is a near-foolproof recipe for looking stupid somewhere down the line. However, I'm sceptical that many people need a 16GB mini-SD card for their phone.

SanDisk next month will start offering a 16GB microSD card, which — unsurprisingly given the format — is aimed at the mobile phone market. The SD card will set you back $141, and will initially only be available in Crazy John's. (There's also an M2 model for Sony Ericsson models, but I'm not sure how many people will need to get that niche.)

That amount of capacity inevitably leads to the question: how are you supposed to fill up that space? Pictures might be one potential answer, but 16GB will give you a hell of a lot of semi-quality phone shots. Indeed, the whole Pictures folder on my PC doesn't take up that much space.

The other obvious candidate would be video, but again, it's debatable that you need that much space for video that's viewable on a phone screen. My 8GB iPod Touch can handle an entire US sitcom season and still have plenty of room to spare.

Not everyone will agree, of course. For its announcement, SanDisk even rolled out a tame analyst, Avi Greengart from Current Analysis, who made the following observation: "Flash memory cards have increased in storage capacity, but even an 8GB card may be too small for anyone with GPS map data, a few movies, a game or two, a presentation file and other applications."

But if this is you, then I suggest you re-compress your movies into a more screen-friendly alternative and stop overloading your PowerPoint presentations with meaningless graphics. Save the capacity for where you really can use it — on a desktop PC where the OS will reclaim it in the blink of an eye.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, iPhone, Storage

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  • Yes

    I think we do need 16GB, and as pointed out in the first par, will not be enough in a few years time. The amount of data we use is expanding at ridiculous rates. Yes, images and videos from phones aren't great. But what about when we have a 10 megapixel lens/sensor on a phone with 3-4MB files.

    Phones are also a good way to have a portable hard drive with you at all times.

    Also, re-compressing takes too much time :-).
  • Agreed

    Although i think 16GB is plenty for now, i would hope that it won't be long before phones are able to take decent quality stills and high-def video.

    When that happens, i don;t think 160GB will be enough...
  • phone only for conversations

    "But what about when we have a 10 megapixel lens/sensor"

    And what use for 10mpix sensor with very crapy optics in phones as they are now?
    What use of that not very perfect sound and mini display? For phone use that's - OK, but for personal entertament system, sorry but no, atleast for now.
  • Yup

    I don't carry a USB key, my phone doubles as that (via bluetooth on my machines, USB on others), so bring on 16gb cards.
  • Um.... Music?

    I currently have a 4Gb M2 card in my SE phone, and its nowhere near enough for my music collection.

    You seem to forget that some people use their phone as their MP3 player and therefore have no need for an iPod Touch. 16Gb barely covers my music collection.
  • Exactly!

    most people could fill 100GB+ easy
  • Music?

    Easy. I'll fill it with music in the time it takes to copy the files over and be looking for more space.
    Another top quality non-article by the team at Zdnet.
  • yep

    "near-foolproof recipe for looking stupid"
    i have 40 gig of music and would love to combine my phone and mp3 player
  • looking stupid

    'looking stupid' is the only sensible thing in the whole article.
    Weren't the Hard-disk IPODS 40Gig? So we aren't even up to those sizes yet.
  • 32Gb is already on the way

    Of course 16gb is not enough..
    Only technology newbies use a separate mp3 player or pod device for music, the rest of us use our phones as our music players.
    All new-gen phones have perfectly good media players that are equal if not better to the standalone players.

    Saving a nights worth of after work drinks pics from the phone camera and most space would be used up if u only had a 4gb or 8gb card.
    If u save map data forget it.... 16 is too small.

    Phones are becoming mobile PCs.. the more storage the better.
  • Spot On

    Exactly right. My PDA serves as my MP3 player as well as phone, my work device (presentations, etc.), and also as my GPS navigator (using both TomTom and OziExplorer). I can fill 16Gb in a second, and would be keen for the 32Gb card to come out........
  • Idiot of an article

    Angus Kidman - your an idiot. There are thousands of reasons people might want 16gb on a phone. They are usually exactly the same reasons people want more memory on an iPod, music and video. Many, many people have over 16gb of each.
  • Easy :)

    Come on, this one is easy. What would you fill 16GB with?

    - PORN!
  • Never too much storage

    You can never have too much storage. Photos, songs and video,storage will keep growing in size over time, unless you store these to other hard drive for backup. But then you won't be able to access that easily.
    So 16 GB is good but I look forward to 32 GB next year.
  • as stated above

    yeah, as stated above in other comments you need these larger SD cards. I used to use my Palm Pilot as an mp3 player / photo storage and RSS reader at one point and relied on SD as storage for the music, image and xml files.. Why not use the phone as a mp3 player, camera and reader and use these larger cards for storing even more content..
  • 16GB, that's only the start

    What a crazy article.. it reminds me of a famous Bill Gate quote 'computers will only need 640k of RAM'
  • Storage

    Hi guys, im my opinion, more space is always better. If I had 200gb card for a mobile at a "reasonable price" I would buy it. Do I need the space? hell no, but it would be nice to have the option. One thing i'd say to all those who have over 4 gig of MP3's on their mobile, I'd hate too see how bloody slowy your playlist loads up. Standard phone like a recent samsung model struggles to load up 200mb of songs in a reasonable timeframe, so god help you with 4 gig or more.
  • 16gb sd

    What planet are you on do you need to find a new job. 16gb is a relatively small amount of data when you really break it down. Most peoples mp3 collections would be pressed to fit. This could be 2 dual layer dvds of data. These cards also have a multitude of uses from tv's, dvd players, home and car stereo's consoles and various other devices can all use these cards. So stop being a zealot and being afraid of new tech cause many of us welcome this as a way of sharing and transporting DATA.
  • Impressive Angus

    Angus, It is impressive that one person could get it so wrong.

    Do most people currently need more than 4gb of storage on a phone? nope. But when you consider the readership of Zdnet this is just a stupid argument.

    The readership are people with 160gb ipods and 32gb thumb drives, why because they require them.

    Think of your readership prior to posting, this is not home and garden magazine.
  • High Quality Video + Pocket Projetors = killer app for mobile phone memory...

    When pocket projector technology will become more mainstream and affordable, I won't be surprised this feature being added to the plethora of feature added goodies to your mobile phone in the future...

    Just imagine watching 1080p video displaying at 42" viewing area from your mobile phone mini-projector!!

    (say good bye to 16GB... and start welcoming in 15TB!!)