Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Truth of Moving Apps to SD on Froyo

As you may or may not know, I am on a Motorola Droid (1) and I am very much so limited on space.  The Droid has only 260 megabytes of space for installing apps.  However, it shipped with a 16gigabyte microSD card.  My problem was always having tons of SD space, and still no phone memory space.  Even with Move to SD, I am still grasping for open space.  WHY?!?  I thought moving to the SD would free up space!  Well it does, sort of.

The Move to SD option on Android 2.2 only moves as much of the app as the developer can allow it to move.  For example, images associated with the app, files that are not required to run quickly, and user information can be moved to the SD.  However, that means anywhere from a small percentage, to almost 95% of the app can be moved.  In some cases however, the opposite can be true.  Take Google Earth.  If you move it to the SD, it only moves about 5mbs of the installation leaving 50+ megabytes on the phone memory still.

Apps require a certain portion to remain installed directly on the phone or else it won’t work.  However, I find this a shortcoming of the OS and partially the App developer not allowing an app to be 100% directly installed to the SD card.  Perhaps leaving a small portion of the app on the phone to use as a Call to the app on the SD card.  This file wouldn’t need be nothing more than a few kilobytes that include the icon file, a few required files for the OS, and nothing more.

Another reason I see this as an issue not being pushed is because a majority of new Android phones being released now have no less than a gigabyte of space on the phone, and 8 to 16 gigabyte microSD cards.  Space is a non-issue on devices such as the Galaxy S phones, Droid X, or the Droid 2.

So, for those of us impatiently waiting for our contracts to be ready for renewal, we must endure small memory spaces on our early Android devices.  We must accept how Move to SD handles app storage.

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