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Friday, October 08, 2010

Should Google force developers to make their Android Apps SD Card Compatible?

I’ve had my HTC Desire for a number of months now and absolutely love it, easily the best phone I have ever had, does pretty much everything I could want it to and more. However there is one thing that in recent weeks has really started to bug me, apps that can’t be moved to the memory card.

I’ve got about 30 apps installed on my Desire (not included those which come as standard) and use most of them fairly regularly. A key feature of Android 2.2 is the ability to move apps from the phone to the memory card, but with one caveat, the developer must have enabled this feature first.  For most apps this isn’t a huge problem as they are only a few kilobytes in size, however some newer apps are much larger such as Flash Player and Skype (both in excess of 10Mb in size) and don’t have the option to move to memory card.

These are the apps I currently have downloaded and installed according to the “Manage Application” option under the phones settings. Those marked in RED can’t be installed to the memory card.

Adobe Flash Player 12.4MB
Air Control Lite 548kb
Alchemy 296kb
Andro Lotto UK 148kb
Angry Birds 1.64MB
ASTRO 3.53mb
Barcode Scanner 520kb
Basket Ball Lite 1.36MB
Basketball Shot 496kb
beebPlayer 488kb
Box Tower 1.29MB
Chrome to Phone 216kb
Currency Converter 380kb
eBay 2.15Mb
Evernote 3.86Mb
Facebook 3.8Mb
Gmail 3.77Mb
Gmote 428kb

Goggles 1.7Mb
Google Search 1.09
gTasks 704kb
Handcent SMS 4.54Mb
HTC Sync 1.16Mb
Kindle 3.78Mb
Listen 1.16Mb
Maps 8.49Mb
Robo Defense 1.41Mb
Scoreboard 868kb
Shazam 1.64Mb
Shopper 1.41Mb
Sky+ 3.06Mb
Solitaire 224kb
Spotify 3.37Mb
Street View 604kb
Task Manager 376kb
TTS Service Extended 2.2Mb
TuneIn Radio 4.75Mb
Twitter 9.03Mb
Unblock Me 488kb
Voice Search 2.55Mb

That's 40 apps in total (including the likes of Gmail and Google Search), only 10 of which can be moved to memory card, and none all are less than 2Mb in size.  Ignoring the updates to the standard Google apps such as Gmail and Search, if the other apps could be moved to my memory card it would free up almost 70Mb of memory on the phone. In terms of the storage space on the phone this is a sizeable chuck, but on a decent sized memory card it would hardly touch the surface.

My phone has around 20Mb of free space at the moment, fine for installing a few more apps, but a few days ago I installed an update to the phones software. Before the update would complete I had to uninstall a selection of apps as the update couldn’t be applied unless there was at least 25Mb free memory on the phone.

I looked at getting rid of some of the least important apps, but other than Skype (which I uninstalled to apply the phone update), non of the apps are more than a few kilobytes in size, so would make little difference to the amount of space available.

As more and better apps become available on Android, this is likely to become more of a problem, particular as the newer apps seem far more bloated. Perhaps Google should start to force developers to allow their apps to be installed to memory card so users can have more apps on their phones. Everyone benefits, after all the more apps users buy, the more revenue generated for developers and of course Google.

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