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back to article Google's Nexus 7 tabs 'can't perform' if flash RAM crammed

Reports are filtering in that some Google Nexus 7 tablets slow to a crawl once the memory starts filling up, and require a hard reset to bring them back to the admirable speed expected of Google's flagship hardware. Most of the reports, on various forums, relate to the 16GB model, and claim that once the remaining capacity is …

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Anonymous Coward

Completely side-stepping the storage issues of the article, users who complain "a device that is labeled for 16GB storage, that in reality only has just over 13GB of storage" bug me. Where do they think the OS is stored etc.? Do they complain their 500GB hard disk only has 485GB free after Windows is installed?

Full comment for clarity incase anyone confuses the extract above with the issue in the article:

"So here I am, stuck with a device that is labeled for 16GB storage, that in reality only has just over 13GB of storage ... but due to performance issues, REALLY only has 9-10 GB of storage available for content and software."

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My phone is labeled as 16GB, it actually has 13.2 GB 'available', and the OS takes up another GB of that so I actually only get around 12. As far as I'm concerned that's false advertising.

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I think more to the point their 16GB Nexus 7 will only have a usable storage size of about 14.8GB when formatted, which then has another 1.8GB or so in OS and pre installed files.

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Anonymous Coward

"My phone is labeled as 16GB, it actually has 13.2 GB 'available', and the OS takes up another GB of that so I actually only get around 12. As far as I'm concerned that's false advertising."

You say false advertising, I say lack of understanding of technology.

I can't speak specifically for the Nexus 7, but the Nexus S has 13.2GB of "external" storage space for media/content, 1GB dedicated for applications and their data, 500MB for cache (application temporary storage) and 500MB for the OS. So that's 15.2GB.

Granted I'm missing about 800MB here, but I don't know if the 'df' command on the device is using 1024 of 1000 as the multiplier and what rounding is happening, the output is definitely in human readable format.

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Anonymous Coward

But people don't think of tablets or phones in the same way as computers - so the OS is just something which is there, not something that has to be stored alongside everything else. For instance, in the old days of non-smartphones, if you got a phone that said it had 2GB of storage, it actually had 2GB of storage (well, still a bit less due to formatting, but that's always been unavoidable)... you didn't lose some for the OS, because that was probably on an EEPROM.

People just haven't switched to a "computer" way of thinking with tablets or phones, they don't care about the internals, and really, unless you're a geek, why should they?

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Silver badge

Fair enough

Then the marketing bods need to get used to quoting approximate storage space. We're in the land of "up to" here, but at least people won't have reason to grumble.

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JDX
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You say false advertising, I say lack of understanding of technology.

Yes but you're a nerd who knows about how computers work, the typical user isn't.

We know why broadband doesn't always/normally get the quoted maximum speed but we still complain it's misleading. Same deal.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You say false advertising, I say lack of understanding of technology.

"Yes but you're a nerd who knows about how computers work, the typical user isn't."

That was my original point though, they shouldn't be complaining (wrongly) about something they don't understand.

The device does have 16GB of storage, it's not advertised as having 16GB of free storage, the same way a PC isn't advertised as having a 500GB hard disk with 485GB free.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Re: You say false advertising, I say lack of understanding of technology.

Okay, in your very black and white world, how about I sell you a tablet that has "100EB of storage, yes, you read it right, EXAbytes". Okay, but to access 99.9999999% of that storage you have to be connected to the Internet, to get to my cloud, but it does technically have 100EB of storage available, so I'm not lying...

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Re: You say false advertising, I say lack of understanding of technology.

Or, for that matter, that their 1TB hard drive only has 931GB on it once the formatting and marketing has chalked up "TB" drives that hold 1000 "GB", that are 1000 "MB" each, made up of 1000 "KB" per, instead of powers of two like the engineers intended.

The real problem isn't the amount of storage on the devices -- users know they're not going to get the full measure there. The problem is how poorly the device handles nearing the capacity. If the gizmo requires a reserve, then it shouldn't show the reserve space as free. Proper OSs don't let mere mortals use ALLLLL the disk space either, reserving what they need to operate. Automobiles show "E" on the fuel gauge well before the fuel runs out as well. Why not this thing as well?

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Re: You say false advertising, I say lack of understanding of technology.

The shit's really gonna hit the fan when he discovers his 2 litre car is really a 1996cc...

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Unhappy

Re: Fair enough

And I HATE that. IMO "up to" is outright false advertising because they lead you on but then say they never promised the maximum speed. No, ads should be conservative...and services should guarantee a speed so that they're forces to say "at least" instead of "up to" (and if they can't deliver, they're not fit for purpose and can be pursued legally for it). If you can't guarantee the speed, then you can't guarantee your business and shouldn't be in it. Insist on ABSOLUTE truth in advertising: the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help your deity.

PS. And that goes for ALL advertising, not just electronics and services.

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A comment from the person who was actually quoted.

AC, thanks for differentiating from that comment. I'm actually the person who the article quotes as saying that, and this is my FULL comment from the forum (http://www.modaco.com/topic/356978-n7-slow-down-laggy/page__pid__2019222__st__20#entry2019222):

"So here I am, stuck with a device that is labeled for 16 GB storage, that in reality only has just over 13 GB of storage (don't get me started on how the industry can continue to get away with this), but due to performance issues, REALLY only has 9-10 GB of storage available for content and software (including the OS)."

Anyway, this is a real issue for the Nexus 7, and it sort of bugs me that the Register is basically claiming that it's difficult to fill up 16 gigs with just apps....uh, not really. At least, not if you play games.

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Re: You say false advertising, I say lack of understanding of technology.

Dude, you need to chill out. I understand the technology, and it still bugs me that the industry continues to mislabel these things. It's particularly important with lower capacity devices. I bought a 16 gig N7 full aware that the actually storage would not be 16 gigs. I get that. My whole point in the forum was that it's labeled one thing, in actuality is another number, and in terms of practical usage is even less. So now my "16 gig" device is really only 10 gig. You're totally going off on something that isn't the point.

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Re: You say false advertising, I say lack of understanding of technology.

THANK you! That is the point.

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Re: You say false advertising, I say lack of understanding of technology.

it is someone else's responsibility, not the user who only cares about being a consumer and being able to throw it out the window so it disappears when done. Why on Earth would anyone expect people to know complex things like basic technology? It's like the car, when something smells or breaks it's time to pay someone to help me make it all better. I don't need to know the basics of how brakes work to know that the screeching sounds for the past month every time I hit the brakes were indicators of a problem. When I hit the back of the car in front of me when I couldn't stop was all the indication I needed to know.

Silly geeks.

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Pint

The issue du jour is the final drop from about 13 GB to about 9-10 GB

The initial drop from 16 to about 13 is a well-known given. I think that it was mentioned to set the stage for the issue du jour, that is the inexplicable Android storage bug that somehow causes performance issues when the mass store gets even close 80% full.

So... What's the point of the 8GB Nexus 7? 8 becomes 5 after the OS is loaded (fine), but one needs to leave about 4 free to avoid performance issues, that leave ONE ???

FAIL.

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Re: Peter H. Coffin

Hard drives use SI prefixes, which are strictly powers of ten, no matter what certain parts of the IT community want to believe they mean. It's not the drive manufacturer's fault when the OS misreports that.

Once you accept that fact the discrepancy is not much of a problem any more, especially if you're aware of it, and you can get on with worrying about the important things in your life.

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In-depth clarity.

One would never see 500GB/500GB on a hard disk. Some of that is lost when it's initially low level formatted at the factory, due to sector/layout information etc. In reality a 500GB disk when unpartitioned will only allowed something in the region of 440GB because of this. Much in the same way 3.5inch floppies had an unformatted capacity of 2MB. A chunk of that is taken when it's formatted, leaving you with 1.44MB. I've got 2x 250GB hard disks in my rig, and their unformatted capacity is 232.88GB, due to the above reason.

Flash memory/memory cards are no different in this respect. With this in mind on your nice shiny new 250GB drive (in this case), you'll have 210GB free after Windows (or your OS of choice) is installed.

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FAIL

You get what you pay for

Cheap Tablet = Crap Tablet

Simple

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You get what you pay for

Clearly you don't get what you pay for, otherwise I wouldn't have to constantly jump through Apple's hoops with iOS just to get half the functionality and freedom I have with Android devices

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Silver badge

Re: You get what you pay for

Send in... the tro-o-o-o-olls.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You get what you pay for

Exactly right. My motto is "Buy cheap, buy twice". So if you buy cheap stuff you'll end up buying something better and you lose more than just buying something decent in the first place.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You get what you pay for

Feature count means nothing. I don't need 10,000 features if 1000 does everything I need.

If I want to cut a piece of rope I'll use a knife, not a swiss army knife since the knife will do it easier.

Freedom? freedom to do what exactly? install bad or pirated software?

If all of the things you mention really bothered people the iPad wouldn't have 70% market share.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You get what you pay for

Ah, the other platform foamer. You and "Obviously!" should get together and FORM BABBY, as you clearly have a Romeo and Juliet ting gawn; neither can resist stories about Apple or Android.. Love from both sides of the tracks <3

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You get what you pay for

If all of the things you mention really bothered people the iPad wouldn't have 70% market share

So the fact that the iPhone only has 17% smartphone market share proves that it really bothers people? Or does it actually prove nothing and is unrelated?

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Devil

Re: You get what you pay for

"Cheap Tablet = Crap Tablet

Simple"

Crap Tablet = Walled Garden = Apple = Very Expensive Tablet

There fixed it for you

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Re: You get what you pay for

Not always true. I have what looks like a Alibaba special branded by a small European start-up that is surprisingly good, and it's available for the same ball-park cost as the Nexus 7.

It's got a 1.2 GHz Cortex A8 processor, 9.7" 4x3 IPS screen and an 8000mA/h battery that gives ~8 hours of continuous use. It runs ICS 4.04, and can use Google Play. Before the Nexus 7 was available, I would say that it was highly recommended. Even now with Google selling the Nexus 7 at little or no profit, I would say that it or one of it's follow-up tablets is worth a punt if you want something with a 4x3 aspect ratio larger screen.

And I can almost guarantee you that you have never heard of the company's name.

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Re: You get what you pay for

No, you didn't.

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Re: You get what you pay for

Care to give us the company name and model name anyway?

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Re: You get what you pay for

Yeah - that's why I have no issues with the 8GB model!

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Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated

"Anyone with a decent collection of music has gotten used to leaving most of it at home since the classic iPod disappeared"

The iPod Classic isn't dead... yet.

http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/shop_ipod/family/ipod_classic

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Angel

Re: Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated

Indeed. And with high-end iPod Touch or iPhone 4S you *can* run around with your entire music collection (unless it's more than 50GB*)

* Approximate, depending on format... blahblahblahblahblah. ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated

Yeah, sadly, even at 320k, mine's still too big. I have playlists set up to sync to each device, and have to rotate things in and out as the mood takes me. A pain in the arse to do, but nice once it's set up.

Still, I am ancient enough to remember the Walkman, so this seems like such a world of convenience and choice, despite my moon-onna-stick whines :)

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Silver badge

Re: Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated

Other hard-disk PMPs are available from Cowon and Archos, though sadly not longer from iRiver. The Archos unit that had a 500GB HDD did have problems with building its database if there were over 10,000 or whatever audio tracks on it, but this appears to have been fixed with a firmware update.

However, I'd probably buy a Sansa Clip and a pouch of microSD cards which are currently around 50p /GB. I'm clumsy and so have learnt to avoid gadgets with moving parts, so far as I can.

Though the iPod's scroll wheel is a handy thing (used to have one on my Sharp MD player) for long lists of music, I prefer to be able to drag n' drop.

Presumably this Nexus device has USB OTG? (not that the existence of an ungainly workaround is any excuse for the thing not behaving as advertised)

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Alert

Really?

How many of those are stock, and how many are rooted?

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Anonymous Coward

Maxing out the device

"It also seems safe to say that few Nexus 7 users will ever max out their devices' capacity."

Uhh, 3 HD films, and it's maxed out. Even Transformers which came with it was something like 5GB on it's own when downloaded from the Play Store.

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Re: Maxing out the device

I would think it's safe to say that most WILL max out their capacities given enough time - just like used to be the case with hard disks.

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Re: Maxing out the device

I managed to nearly fill my N7 frighteningly easily - but I must say it was a real pleasure to do so as it makes such a good job of dealing with directory trees of data just dumped into it. Can't say I'm seeing it running slowly though - but I'm still going to trash 2-3 GBytes of music files...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maxing out the device

Well, quite, I have more than 16 GB of (just as an example) high quality niche pr0n that caters to one of my favourite combinations of taboos- gotta love rule 34.

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Silver badge

Not all Nexus 7 affected

I've filled my Nexus 7 a couple times (mostly video files). Right now it has 6.33 GB free, but I have had it down below 200 MB free.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that they fix the problem before I get hit by it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not all Nexus 7 affected

Is that a 16GB model (I'm pondering the 8GB)?

I also wonder if these are Google I/O freebies, there don't seem to be a large number of complaints on the linked forums and they seem to spread over a few months.

Some of the I/O freebies had screen ghosting issues which Asus then said was because they were pre-production units.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not all Nexus 7 affected

I have an 8GB and haven't experienced any issues when it's been filled. For the 8GB I'd recommend using the 1-click-root application, installing Stickmount and picking up a USB OTG cable and 64GB USB stick if you plan to watch many films.

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Happy

Re: Not all Nexus 7 affected

Most users probably wouldn't do this.

Then again I am not most people, thanks to Modaco I have a bespoke OS with working NFR and flash, as well as iplayer. I only stream, I don't store content. Although using stickmout I could. Makes the 8GB model very attractive. With regards to the memory issue I used advanced task killer. And sometimes I even clear the cache.

No trouble here officer, move along.

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Re: Not all Nexus 7 affected

It's a 16 GB that I pre-ordered from a local retail shop so it's one of the first batch to reach Canada.

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Silver badge

Or alternatively

Do what I did, took the cost of a new iPad and bought the Nexus for at home use as I don't need the storage for video / music / audio books etc as they are on my NAS, then bought a 64GB playbook for all the media needs along with email and browsing at work where apps are not needed so much. Add in the cost of screen protectors, cases and a rapid charging dock for the playbbook and it was still less than the iPad.

Each one does exactly what I want perfectly without the worry of carrying it to and from work as my phone covers that.

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Unhappy

Same old Android

I'm sorry to say, this sounds exactly the same as my experience with a whole host of other Android devices.

I was hoping that Google would have these memory issues sorted by now.

Android still isn't ready for the mainstream.

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The author is an idiot.

The Nexus 7 has 1GB of RAM, the rest is permanent flash storage.

the article is supposed to be describing permanent storage gets filled and slows the system.

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Boffin

Flash, even Flash "storage" is a type of RAM (specifically NVRAM, as opposed to DRAM and SRAM.) This is a form of memory, even if it's not the system operating memory.

While the author does use some terms ambiguously, none are used incorrectly.

Any apparent discrepancy between the article and the underlying subject matter can therefore be attributed to poor reading comprehension.

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If you buy a budget tablet you get budget performance.

As far as most people not using the whole amount, I assume android owners are like iphone / ipad users then they do have music and movies and apps for their commute and it doesn't take too many movies to eat into 16gb.

And if you plan on using the thing for more than a year then you will just accumulate junk. The average user knows how to add things but rarely deletes things (probably out of fear of breaking something) so if this problem is real then google needs to do something.

For a company that has so many supposed geniuses you'd think it'd cross their mind to test the thing with its storage used up.

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