Are Phone Manufacturers Using Storage Space To Scam Customers?
You go to buy your new iPhone and the clerk asks, "Do you want the 16 GB base model, the 64 GB model for $100 more, or the 128 GB for $200 more?" You figure that 16 GB is a ton of space, and that's an awful lot of money. The base model is almost universally the best seller of any phone model, and for good reason, that extra money is a whole month or two of service.
What a shock it is then, to get home with your new electronic goodie, and realize that even though you were told you bought the 16 GB model, your shiny new iPhone only has 12.1 GB available due to the space the operating system takes up. The only alternative if you need more storage for most phones these days is one of the various cloud-based models. Whether it be Google Drive, Apple's iCloud,or Microsoft's OneDrive, each phone OS is integrated tightly with their operating system manufacturer's ecosystem.
Although each company gives users a small amount of storage for free, to really store media or large files, you'll be paying.
|Service||Amount of Free Storage||Monthly Paid Tier 1||Monthly Paid Tier 2||Monthly Paid Tier 3|
|Apple iCloud||5 GB||20 GB/$0.99||200 GB/$3.99||500 GB/$9.99|
|Google Drive||15 GB||100 GB/$1.99||1 TB/$9.99||10 TB/$99.99|
|Microsoft OneDrive||15 GB||100 GB/$1.99||200 GB/$3.99||1 TB/$6.99, also includes Office 365|
As the table makes obvious, each company has quite the incentive for getting cellphone customers on board with their cloud services. With Samsung being the only major manufacturer that still offers SD card storage on their flagship models, Apple, LG, HTC, etc, are all leveraging storage to make major profits. Unlike laptops and desktops, cellphones are created as a "system-on-a-chip" which allows for cheap and quick production, but doesn't allow for say, charging extra for more RAM, or a faster CPU as it would be cost prohibitive to run two separate lines for what comes down to mostly the same phone.
Whether or not this practice is intentional or not. Cloud computing is still not very popular among the general population for major data storage. Sure people might edit docs online, as Office 365 and Google Docs have won people over, but no one is going to start keeping large amounts of data online until data becomes quick, cheap, and unlimited. The fact is, with any of the major cellular companies in the U.S., you couldn't stream a whole 1080p movie off a cloud-based solution, so what's the incentive for buying storage that you're not able to use unless you're on Wi-Fi? Until the major players solve the problem with mobile data pricing, and make "the Cloud" more inviting, then these business practices are simply cash grabs, forcing people to buy a service they can't even utilize as intended. Apple's recent lawsuit over their deceptive storage numbers is testament to consumer outage, as people are becoming more and more aware that they don't want to be tethered to the cloud anymore than they do to a wall socket.