Want better apps? Here's the thing...

ardoreal

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Everywhere I look, from the developers of Diner Dash to the developers over at Groundspeak and Gameloft...the sentiment is always the same...the app space limitation is really the core of our issues.

Google has been trying to pass this off onto the handset makers, but really we need to thumb Google to allow Android Market to install app data to the SD card.

Right now the reason we have such limited Java-esque apps is because the devs are trying to cram everything into as small a space as possible. On the iPhone devs have a virtually limitless amount of space to work with. On Android developers have to work with 1-5MB. This prohibits us from getting apps and games rich with detailed art and audio. If our developers could tap into the SD card we would have some fantastic stuff. Even Google could improve things like their Navigation app, and some of their other Labs software.

We need to keep this matter first and foremost on Google's attention until this gets fixed.

Firstly, go here and put a star on this issue at this URL Issue 1151 - android - RFE: Support install of apps on SD cards - Project Hosting on Google Code

Then place a comment to voice your opinion and that you demand we get high quality apps that can define Android. With a Droid class phone, we have the horsepower to chew through richly detailed apps.

Then, signup at this group and ask for an update on where Google is with this issue. Google engineers frequent this discussion group. It is moderated, but if enough of us try to start a new topic addressing the issue they will likely answer.

Discussions - android-platform | Google Groups

The developers have tried, we the end users need to voice our feedback and influence them to change their stance on this. When this gets fixed, we will see some more apps that we can love.
 

ardoreal

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Rumors have it that Flan fixes this, but seeing as to how nobody's talked about it as the 2.1 SDK isn't out yet.....hmmmmm???
 

cqq1jmg

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Wow i had no idea android had this limitation when i bought my droid. No wonder we don't have flashier apps in the market. Starred and commented by me!
 

Jerry Hildenbrand

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Does anyone realize that applications on the SD card means that you no longer have removable storage?

While you're phone is running delete the /data/app/ directory. Thats what will happen if the phone is ever on without the SD card mounted to the OS. Lose or damage your SD card? Wipe and reload time.

Developing applications that have a small tidy binary and use resources stored on the SD card is a much better solution. That's the way the platform was designed. Of course that would involve work for the developers, so they are against it.

Feel free to want it though. As long as it can be disabled I'm still happy.
 

ardoreal

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Does anyone realize that applications on the SD card means that you no longer have removable storage?

While you're phone is running delete the /data/app/ directory. Thats what will happen if the phone is ever on without the SD card mounted to the OS. Lose or damage your SD card? Wipe and reload time.

Developing applications that have a small tidy binary and use resources stored on the SD card is a much better solution. That's the way the platform was designed. Of course that would involve work for the developers, so they are against it.

Feel free to want it though. As long as it can be disabled I'm still happy.

Regardless though, I have to disagree. The simple solution is to have the app go and retrieve a ton of data and download that to the SD card but you still have the same problem. If you take an app that uses removable storage whatever it's trying to do will also crash. Even the iPhone can't stop the end user from taking the phone and smashing the screen willfully onto the edge of a desk, cement slab, or whatever. Don't pull out your storage. The fact of the matter is, we're hamstrung by this. Do you really want the solution to be the handset maker fixing the issue by including a 16gb rom? This negates your whole point about removable storage as well.

The can of worms by this is really too much. People want rich applications with lots of artwork and rich with audio. The solution to put this off to the handset maker does no good to the person who just bought a Droid and is now in a 2 year contract. What's really ironic is that the Droid, aside from the iPhone and Nexus One, is perhaps best suited for these types of intensive apps.
 

cqq1jmg

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Who is really using the SD card as removable storage? The percentage of phone users who have more than 16 GB of stuff they need to swap out on their phone regularly would be EXTREMELY small. I doubt most people will ever even take it out.
 

Jerry Hildenbrand

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Regardless though, I have to disagree. The simple solution is to have the app go and retrieve a ton of data and download that to the SD card but you still have the same problem. If you take an app that uses removable storage whatever it's trying to do will also crash. Even the iPhone can't stop the end user from taking the phone and smashing the screen willfully onto the edge of a desk, cement slab, or whatever. Don't pull out your storage. The fact of the matter is, we're hamstrung by this. Do you really want the solution to be the handset maker fixing the issue by including a 16gb rom? This negates your whole point about removable storage as well.

The can of worms by this is really too much. People want rich applications with lots of artwork and rich with audio. The solution to put this off to the handset maker does no good to the person who just bought a Droid and is now in a 2 year contract. What's really ironic is that the Droid, aside from the iPhone and Nexus One, is perhaps best suited for these types of intensive apps.

Difference being, an application crashes and not the operating system. You have to think of it from an end user support perspective. The 1000 users that claim they know better than to have the phone running without the card correctly mounted is a drop in the bucket compared to the number of people who will do it anyway.

Google/carriers aren't worrying about supporting users like you or I. They have the general public to worry about.

As I said, I'm not against it as long as a solution to shut it off is implemented (see below), but I can understand Google wanting the app developers to use external resources. It decreases production costs by only having to use small flash memory and is much better from a support perspective. In the end there is nothing wrong with choice, so in theory I support a native solution, but I also can't fault Google for not wanting to do it.

Who is really using the SD card as removable storage? The percentage of phone users who have more than 16 GB of stuff they need to swap out on their phone regularly would be EXTREMELY small. I doubt most people will ever even take it out.
I have a small case with 12 16GB cards that houses my music collection and I enjoy being able to swap out on the go without using a computer. I also enjoy being able to plug the phone into a PC and copy over a number of huge CAD files and carry them home rather than having them burnt to a cd. Of course that's not the normal user, but I would say a good number of folks have more than one SD card full of music.

But mostly what i meant is you will have to try and convince people that the "removable" storage can no longer be removed, and that sin't going to be easy.
 

Cory Streater

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One of the things I appreciated about Windows Mobile, was the option/ability to install apps to the SD card to save internal storage space. This never caused any issues AFAIK. Developers that required apps to run from internal storage, had the option of disabling user prompting for where to install.
 

cqq1jmg

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Good lord man, thats a lot of music. I guess what it boils down to is they should have had more internal memory on the phone AND allowed removable storage. But since they didn't I still think the majority user would be happy to trade their removable storage for better apps. Obviously if you carry around 12 SD cards which you swap out regularly, its not the ideal solution...but then again there arent many good solutions yet period for people who need to have instant access to 200GB of music.
 

Jerry Hildenbrand

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One of the things I appreciated about Windows Mobile, was the option/ability to install apps to the SD card to save internal storage space. This never caused any issues AFAIK. Developers that required apps to run from internal storage, had the option of disabling user prompting for where to install.

Yep. And Android just can't do it that way. The applications are indexed by the VM and need to stay where they are supposed to be. You can move that "wherever they are supposed to be" to any location, but it needs to stay there.

No idea why dalvik was written that way, or why Google doesn't want to change it. If they would, this would be a complete non issue. But you never know...this is Google and they like to keep secrets. Maybe they really are re-working the dalvik Vm and just want to have something to keep us talking about Google :D

Good lord man, thats a lot of music. I guess what it boils down to is they should have had more internal memory on the phone AND allowed removable storage. But since they didn't I still think the majority user would be happy to trade their removable storage for better apps. Obviously if you carry around 12 SD cards which you swap out regularly, its not the ideal solution...but then again there arent many good solutions yet period for people who need to have instant access to 200GB of music.

LOL. My home theater system takes SD cards, so it made sense to rip all of our music. iTunes loves us :D It's a neat way to do things and I'll bet more audio equipment starts doing it that way.


This type of dialog is important, and Google needs to see it. I think they just need to be convinced that users will accept the 'temporary' solution of the OS potentially breaking if the card is removed while they re-work things for a better solution.
 

ardoreal

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Difference being, an application crashes and not the operating system. You have to think of it from an end user support perspective. The 1000 users that claim they know better than to have the phone running without the card correctly mounted is a drop in the bucket compared to the number of people who will do it anyway.

Google/carriers aren't worrying about supporting users like you or I. They have the general public to worry about.

As I said, I'm not against it as long as a solution to shut it off is implemented (see below), but I can understand Google wanting the app developers to use external resources. It decreases production costs by only having to use small flash memory and is much better from a support perspective. In the end there is nothing wrong with choice, so in theory I support a native solution, but I also can't fault Google for not wanting to do it.

Dude, you have a desktop at home? Seriously, they should make a HD solution you can just mount or plug in via USB, and then you can go off and use a 1TB pocket drive ;)

Seriously though, there are so many ways this could work. The primary thing to consider though is that for many of us, the SD card needs the battery taken out to get at it. This is just semantics, and it needs worked out, I agree. However, to give up in lieu of such a superficial issue is rather asinine.
 

Zorro1

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And there's another point missing since the solution is still missing. Card encryption. For biz users like me, this is a must. I don't want to encrypt apps, for sure. Just data. I like keeping them separate.
 

ardoreal

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From the Google press event, Andy Rubin states "Future software update will allow encryption of the apps for storage on the SD card".

Alright....well...ok um....

So there we go. Now it's just a matter of WHEN.... and I hope that isn't going to be too long from now.
 

njperry

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Are there any 3rd party solutions like Zlauncher for Palm OS? I always used that on my Treo and Centro to store and launch apps on the SD card.
 

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