back to article Half a terabyte in your smartmobe? Yup. That's possible now

Here's a challenge: do you reckon you can fill half-a-terabyte of memory using only a smartphone? For some people, we're sure, the answer will be along the lines of “hold my beer while I set my camera to HDR mode and snap some selfies”. So the good news is that from February, you'll be able to lay out the readies on a 512 GB …

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  1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    Easily.

    I have over 300GiB of audio books from the National Library Service (NLS) for the blind. They're essentially an encrypted & protected MP3 that requires an authorized & registered NLS player.

    Add to that another 200+GiB of audio books from other sources (audible.com, independant authors, etc) & I've just filled one of those cards.

    Stack the e.books (mostly plain text) from places like Project Gutenberg & other sources, there's another 115GiB.

    If you add my music collection to that (~40 years of ripping all my CD's to high CBR MP3's), then that alone comes in at nearly 750GiB.

    Back when I could still see to enjoy them, I had over a TiB of movies I'd ripped from all my DVD movie collection plus all the ones I'd gotten as downloads from the places that offer such things.

    A 512GiB card would be great, I'd love a box of them, but if you *really* want to impress me then give me a call when you've got a 512TiB card instead. THAT one might take a while to fill... because a USB3.0 connection can only saturate the databus for so long before the card catches fire.

    =-)p

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Easily.

      Well its nice that you can fill 500gb with books, but do you really need to hold the 500gb on a single fingernail sized card? you might lose it!

      Is this going too far? that amount of data density? do we really need it? really?

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Easily.

        Have to agree with V.Jeltz, that seems like a risky business, unless of course you have decent backups and lots of patience whilst doing the transfers.

        Each to his own but 500Gb does seem like a lot of data on a support that is just waiting to be lost or corrupted..

        1. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge

          Re: Easily.

          Agree. I have a 128GB SD card that is about three years or so old now. It's only around half full. It's used to backup documents and stuff from my machines' hard disk.

          Nevertheless, I still crap myself every time I use it, just in case "today is the day".

          I need a backup of the backup. And I'm only talking about ~60GB - nevertheless there's decades of work from long-forgotten projects in long-forgotten languages on that little SD Card. In effect, my life's work.

          Can you imagine losing it all?

          Now imaging losing half a terabyte. Perhaps all the photo's of your children from the present day right back to the day they were born. Your wedding. Your mother before she passed away. Your grandparents at their golden wedding anniversary (long gone, now).

          It would break my heart.

      2. davidp231

        Re: Easily.

        "Well its nice that you can fill 500gb with books, but do you really need to hold the 500gb on a single fingernail sized card? you might lose it!"

        It's quite possible (and sadly happens too often), to lose 500GB* of storage when it's plugged into to a laptop, so it's gonna get lost either way.

        *gb is not the same as GB </pedant>

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Easily.

          Well, I guess having a single SD card prevents the opportunity to lose it whilst swapping between smaller SD cards, especially for folk with impaired eyesight or manual dexterity - though swapping cards in Android devices has other pitfalls anyway.

          But yeah, it's niche - most smartphone users don't go a month away from a WiFi hotspot or their homes. Having a huge library on a single device is *nice to have*, but for most not essential, since there are other ways of accessing storage, and its usually cheaper than buying such a large SD card.

      3. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Easily.

        Is this going too far? that amount of data density? do we really need it? really?

        Of course it's necessary, how else are governments depts meant to compete with eachother on peoples personal data left in pubs/taxies/coffee shops conveniently ten years from now.

      4. Sebastian Brosig
        Coat

        Re: Easily.

        Dear Prst. V.Jeltz, here is a 0.5TB microSD for you. Please fill it with your finest poetry.

      5. PleebSmasher
        Pirate

        Re: Easily.

        @Prst: "Is this going too far?"

        It's not going far enough. Current SD standards max out at 2 TB, just four times the size of this card. And that includes the full-sized SD cards as well. In fact, it's past time for the Secure Digital Association to boost that ceiling to 32 TB or 1 petabyte, because there's probably no technical reason that a 2 TB SD card sporting some 3D QLC NAND can't be released in 2018-19.

        There are plenty of applications where you want as high as possible of a data density. Spacecraft and drones come to mind. And while you may be able to fill your card up by being creative with audio books and Project Gutenberg, you can do it a lot faster by shooting some 8K resolution video, or 360 degree video for VR.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Easily.

          Actually, when it comes to space, density isn't your biggest concern; it's radiation hardening. It's amazing how much havoc bare electronics can wreak when there's no atmosphere to protect it.

      6. Shadow Systems Silver badge

        Re: Easily.

        Do I really need to fit it all on a single card? No. Do I want to be able to store it all on a single card? Dayamn skippy! =-D

        If they had 512TiB SD cards then I'd buy a box of them, essentially RAID the little buggers, & have so much storeage at my disposal I could stop worrying about the total space (capacity) I'm currently using.

        If 512TiB cards came down in price to where they were as ubiquitous as 5.25" floppy disks used to be back in the day, I'd buy them by the box & RAID them together to make sure all my data remained backed up on multiple sources, in multiple versions, both on site & off. I could afford to make a copy on $HowEverMany cards then store those cards in a fireproof safe locally, another copy in a bank vault (safety deposit box), and yet another at each of a dozen disaster recovery sites around the continent. Hell, if they're that inexpensive, I could afford to keep a set at hundreds of such sites, updated with a fresh set every month, from now until they came out with even greater capacity cards.

        "What's that, you've managed to store a GoogolplexiByte on a single card? I'll take TEN!"

        *Cough*

        I may not *need* such capacity, but I'll be damned if I ever say no to having more. You can never have enough capacity!

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. TonyWilk

    At last - what people really want !

    You could have:

    2 continuous years of audiobook

    250,000 ebooks

    6 months of mp3

    4 weeks of decent FLAC

    or even *one full minute* of 120fps 12bit 8K UHD glorious cat video !!!!

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: At last - what people really want !

      'One full minute',... er,.... that it takes 80 mins to transfer,......

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    That's a lot of data to lose

    ...when the unbacked up card fails.

    Of course, the bright side is for Apple owners. You won't lose 500 Gb of data from a micro SD card failing in your phone. In fact you will never lose a single byte from that scenario.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: That's a lot of data to lose

      The NAND in iPhones is far faster than an SD card can be accessed (the bottleneck is often the bus). This is good for snappy app loading times and saving very high frame rate video, but overkill for audio files.

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: That's a lot of data to lose

        Presumably why most Android users* have the apps on the built in memory and audio and image files etc. on the SD card?

        *You can put some apps on the memory card, I have in the past. I didn't notice a slow down to be honest.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: That's a lot of data to lose

          > *You can put some apps on the memory card, I have in the past. I didn't notice a slow down to be honest.

          Well not all apps are that big, and some of the bigger apps keep their resources (example, in a game model textures) on the SD card. The way Android treats SD cards has changed over the years, and sometimes swapping a card (to transfer data between devices) can sometimes cause issues for apps.

          However, most Android phones' internal storage is slower than iPhone NAND (see Anandtech benchmarks) so difference twixt internal and SD card storage speed is less pronounced.

  4. Phil W

    Slang

    "lay out the readies" maybe its just me but I had always understood the slang for money was not "readies" but "reddies" and really more specifically referred to £50 notes because they're red.

    Is "readies", presumably derived from "ready cash", in common usage?

    Of course either works in this case given the price....

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Re: Slang

      'according to t'internet it;s been around since at least the early 1700's.

      Did they have £50's back then?

      1. Frenchie Lad

        Re: Slang

        Guineas my dear fellow, Guineas!

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Slang

          It comes from ready money, ie cash as opposed to a cheque or asset that must be liquidised.

    2. Phil W

      Re: Slang

      Thanks for the responses, though I'm not really sure what prompted the down votes, I was only asking about phraseology I wasn't familiar with.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Slang

        I don't think those of us who responded are the same cats who downvote you!

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: Slang

        People can politely ask something on here, and if their original premise is wrong, some reg users downvote them, even if they state it as a question like you did.

        I can understand downvotes if someone stubbornly asserts something incorrect, but why this happens for posts like yours is a mystery. I think it may be some kind of elitest geekyness - how dare anyone ever be wrong about something!

        EDIT: Sorry, incoherent, not slept since Saturday

  5. NateGee

    Huh?

    Who the heck reading El Reg only ever stores things on their phones? Between my NAS and GDrive (as an additional backup for my photos synced from the NAS), I consider my phone's storage as a portable backup. An offsite NAS helps too. Some would say I'm being paranoid about failure, but ATEOTD, no storage solution is guaranteed not to fail at some point. Hell, I've had the onboard storage fail in an early smartphone (OK, OK, it was a Motorola flip running WinCE so not that smart) I had many years ago.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Huh?

      Stuff that was originally downloaded - such as movies or music - and can be downloaded again doesn't need to be backed up by the user. The event of storage failure is an inconvenience and not a disaster.

      The idea of using a phone with a big SD card as off-site backup for one's computer is worth thinking about (in event of house fire one probably has phone next to bed, and will escape house clutching phone to call the firebrigade). 512 GB would store photos of family events etc.

  6. J J Carter Silver badge
    Trollface

    Get real

    Sufficient for the average mans pr0n collection, then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re. porn

      we'd better start hoarding now, the deadline when naughty-naughty becomes trackable by the gov order is approaching, what is it, this spring? No more titties for you, unless you display your id, sonny!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: re. porn

        My name is not sonny, it'a Anonymous Coward. Anyway, all my porN is on DVD, paid for.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re. porn

          People pay for Pr0n ??

      2. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: re. porn

        This time next year, the hedgerows will be awash with illicit SDcards

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: re. porn

          It may happen. Just a few years back, it was illicit DVD-Rs.

    2. The Dogs Meevonks

      Re: Get real

      Having just deleted my entire p0rn collection from my media server... Why wold anyone be storing it on a mobile device anyway? Are some of you that desperate for a quick shufty at work that you need assistance from some video.. does no one have an imagination or memory to revisit your greatest hits?

      As for 'why' I deleted everything I had... I got bored with it... ease of access to internet p0rn has ruined my enjoyment of all p0rn. :(

      1. PleebSmasher
        Happy

        Re: Get real

        @The Dogs Meevonks

        Insert your phone into a VR headset, and you can conveniently fáp to 512 GB of glorious 360-degree pr0n anytime, anywhere.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Get real

        "Why wold anyone be storing it on a mobile device anyway? Are some of you that desperate for a quick shufty at work that you need assistance from some video.. does no one have an imagination or memory to revisit your greatest hits?"

        What about a long flight and you could use a few minutes in the toilet to vent some urges? And no, the stale imagination lacks the punch of a fresh hit of the actual senses.

        As for keeping copies, I always work on the assumption that what's on the Internet one day may not be there the next.

  7. Fullbeem

    Dashcam

    I would'nt want to use a microsd card of that capacity in a dashcam.

    Had too many 32GB card fails and become write locked due to overuse.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Dashcam

      Surely that'd mean each block was only written 1/16th as often and therefore would extend the life of the card?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Dashcam

        That's usually offset by the reduced endurance per cell. At capacities this high we shouldn't be expecting miracles.

  8. Julian Bond

    My ideal iPod Classic 512 gets a step closer. Now I need a music player that has the same battery life and ease of use of the old iPod Classic but that will accept and use a 512 microSD.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      You can get portable music players with dual SD card slots, with far better audio than any iPod, for around 100 quid.

      The scroll wheel bit is harder to come by though.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        FiiO had a model with a scroll wheel, though most if their range is touchscreen Android based. A few if their models have dual SD card slots - currently up to 2x 256GB, but someone might have got 512 to work. They mostly use ESS Sabre DACs, which have the reputation that Burr Brown or Wolfson used to enjoy.

        There are other vendors offering similar kit, ranging from £100 to £stupid, but their names escape me right now.

        Like discrete compact digital cameras, PMPs haven't disappeared completely due to smartphones - the survivors have just got better and and less expensive.

        However, some versions of Samsung Galaxy phones, some of the LG G and V series phones and some others offer very good audio quality (the dac and amp stages) - and will take SD cards and offer more flexibility in terms of content than the dedicated players

        1. Rockets

          When my iPod Classic 7th Gen hard drive failed a little while ago I considered a whole bunch of different Portable Media Players like the Fiio, Sony Walkman, JRiver, Astell & Kern etc but the one thing that didn't make me buy one is car integration. Just about every semi modern car supports iPod to some degree via the USB interface with the ability to control from the head unit itself. All other PMP's seem to just use a line out and with the police cracking down on mobile usage in cars, touching the PMP could lead to fine. In the end I went with a new iPhone replacing my 2 year old Android phone.

  9. The Dogs Meevonks

    I've said this before... what's the point of having mSD cards of this size when the devices they go into are still stuck in the 'relatively speaking' dark ages of storage.

    Most low/mid range phones/tablets/dashcams and so forth don't take anything larger than a 32GB card, and those that can take larger cards seem to max out at either 64GB or 128GB.

    My phone has a 64GB card in it but will take a 128, my tablet has a 128 in it already.

    My nextbase dashcam... only supposed to support 32GB but has a 64GB installed without any issues so far.

    On the other hand... it's become the trend for manufacturers to remove the ability for extra storage from devices altogether... rendering larger capacity cards (or any size really) pointless once more.

    Perhaps in 5yrs when phones are coming with better equipped storage slots capable of using larger capacity cards... they'll find a market. But it's equally as likely that there will be very few devices that can make use of them outside of cameras... and any semi knowledgeable photographer/videographer will know to have a multiple storage devices and swap them out constantly when doing some work 'just' in case one corrupts and you won't lose anything. As happened to the wedding photographer of a couple I know... they got a friend to do it who had decent gear and could take decent shots... but had a single storage card for his camera, took hundreds of shots and then ended up with a corrupt card and lost everything... Even I know to keep a couple of 16GB SD cards handy for my 'bridge' camera for that very reason.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Well, having a large capacity SD card makes it easier to back up multiple lower capacity SD cards, no?

      And as you say, some equipment will record to two cards simultaneously - some at daft Res and frame rates (though that's starting to hit the limits of the bus the SD card sits on). Sony, Nikon and others are beginning to support a card that sits on a PCIE bus.

    2. PleebSmasher

      I have seen phones and other products (like the Nintendo Switch) that support microSD sizes of up to 2 TB. In other words, they will support this 512 GB card and bigger cards that don't even exist yet.

      SD Association needs to increase the standard to allow greater than 2 TB cards, because that limit will be hit very soon.

    3. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      At The Dogs Meevonks, re: other devices.

      There are USB3.0 Generation 1 Type A dongles that accept a mini SD card. While I wasn't searching for one, I would not be surprised if they made USB3.1G2Type C variants or even Thunderbolt ones.

      If you can't find one in the version (Type C, Thunderbolt) you want then get a U3G1TA version plus the adapter to convert it to what you need. Plug it into your phone so the phone thinks the SD card is a USB FlashDrive.

      I whole heartedly agree with you on using multiple cards to store the data from a photo or video shoot. I learned that lesson when a friend lost all his vacation photos because the *one* CFC his digital camera was using got crunched going through airport security. Kiss the card & a week worth of Bahama memories straight down the bog. =-(

      Use multiple cards. You'll thank yourself when one of them gets lost, stolen, damaged, or wiped due to unforseen circumstances beyond your control...

  10. Haku

    Crossing borders.

    With those American borders potentially slurping up a copy of your laptop harddrive, back it up to a large capacity MicroSD and factory restore the laptop to an empty OS, then stash the MicroSD somewhere safe & unsuspecting - should be easy, it's fricken tiny, you can even buy hollow coins to stash the card in.

    Then after safely getting through those TSA gates of hell, restore the drive from the card.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Crossing borders.

      Better still, fill the card with half a terabyte of random garbage, and hand it over for inspection. Let the TLA's take a copy, and keep it backed up forever in three or more locations, and spend their miserable, worthless lives running analystics programmes to try and find something interesting.

      Not sure what TLA storage costs, but might as well give them more hay for their needle search.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Crossing borders.

        But wouldn't they just get suspicious of you and detain you?

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