Smartphones have basically become an all-in-one electronic for many people. They're computers, they're mp3 players, they're cameras and media players. Smartphones nearly have it all these days, but with so many features in a phone there's no question that in order to fit all of that in there you're probably going to need a lot of storage. Most smartphones, aside from the iPhone, came with support for microSD cards in the beginning. As the years have passed, the amount of storage that a phone can hold has grown - from being able to hold up to an 8GB SD card, to 16GB, to 32GB and now it can go all the way up to 64GB of memory. But as time goes by, fewer and fewer devices are relying on microSD cards for storage and are starting to learn more towards using cloud storage as an alternative method.
At first, I was pretty reluctant about it. In fact, even today if I was given the choice to choose whether a phone had support for microSD cards or not, I would still probably opt for the microSD card. I've used both cloud storage and microSD card storage, and to be quite honest both have their perks and downfalls in their own respects. It's hard for me to say that I actually do favor microSD cards over cloud storage given that they're extremely unreliable, and I've seen the heartbreak that happens when people forget to make a backup and they lose everything, often times very important photos. Yes, even physical memory cards have their limitations, and given how small and frail they are it's no real surprise that they're also easily damaged.
But it's still comforting to know that you have a physical copy of all of your important files that you can hold in your hand, instead of trusting some digital online database somewhere to keep tabs of all of your informations. The microSD card also gives people a sense of privacy in the fact that it's not all stored on some random database. Only you have access to it, you know where it is, and you can take it out and put it somewhere else. Just knowing that you can physically take that important stuff out of your phone and put it somewhere else is nice in itself.
However, as mentioned, it's a small piece of plastic and metal and it's not exactly the most reliable thing on the planet. I have been in several situations where customers would be transferring everything over to another phone, and between taking the microSD card out of one phone and putting it into the next something didn't hit right and rendered the SD card completely corrupt or unreadable. It's foul wizardry if I've ever seen it, but that's why I always tell people to make frequent backups of their microSD card's contents on a computer after anything important has been stored on it for just such occasion. Sometimes, however, I would only be able to tell them after it's too little too late. There's nothing like rubbing a little salt in the wound.
They're also not completely unreliable, considering that I still have two or three SD cards in a box somewhere that still have pictures from cell phones of the past. It's nice to know that there is a copy available somewhere.
Cloud storage, on the other hand, might not be physical or anything you can see, but boy howdy does it make storage between multiple devices convenient as ever. There was a point in time where I was extremely skeptical of using services like Amazon Cloud Storage or Dropbox, but now I don't think I could imagine life without such services. Between my computer, phone and tablet, I have a lot of stuff that I like to store on each device and Dropbox is accessible from all three, which is really nice. I've also used Dropbox to share data with other people, It's also worth noting that I haven't run into any problems with cloud storage yet, where as I can't say the same thing for microSD cards. I might have a few that are laying around for "just in case", but there has been a time or four where my SD card randomly, and without much of a reason, decided to stop working.
I guess it really depends on which one you trust - do you trust the physical thing that easily damages, or do you trust the service that is run by somebody else? Neither one is really a guarantee. I kind of just wish that phones would keep implementing microSD card support because I'm a firm believer that you can never have too many backups. In the end, yes, I think that SD cards are still important to have as an alternative option. With that in mind, I think cloud storage is equally as useful and important.
Readers, what are your thoughts? Have you switched completely to cloud storage, or do you prefer an SD card? Perhaps you're able to run entirely off of internal storage, given the large amounts that some smartphones come with these days (Note 3, anybody?) Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Images via Storage Look