Consumers are now living with the knowledge that disparities in the costs of gadgets can depend on how much storage space you need. And phone manufacturers, who created this storage apartheid, are taking advantage of it to the hilt.
This is how it works; you go to buy a new gadget. For the same model, you have different prices for devices that look alike in every way.
You’d be told, on inquiry, that model C is pricier that A and B because it has a larger storage space. Or A is the cheapest because it has the smallest storage space.
Most times, it is a case of 8GB vs. 16GB vs. 32GB of storage space, for hundreds of budget phones available to users.
And the difference in prices between the models? Let’s look at the gold standards of mobile phones to give you an idea.
At the time of launch last year, the iPhone 7 cost about $650, $750, and $850 for the 32, 128 and 256GB models respectively. A hundred dollar difference to upgrade to a higher model based on storage space.
Samsung has two models of its Galaxy S7 series released last year: the 32 & 64 GB models. Respectively, they now cost about $600 and $700 depending on the kind of bargain you get. Here again, there is roughly about the same price disparity based on storage space.
Clearly, storage space must be important to consumers and OEMs are taking advantage of that. But this begs the question of how much digital storage space people actually need in their lives.
The world of digital storage space
Phone experts would tell you the average phone user doesn’t really care about the amount of storage space available. The most important thing they need is a good phone with a performance that is near flawless over a long time.
Storage though becomes very crucial especially when you start downloading and storing all sorts of files on your gadget.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest culprits that hog our storage space.
Every smartphone worth its salt has a camera. How good the camera is depends largely on the lens. Having a mobile camera makes it easy to take photos these days.
The very best cameras take pictures of high quality. The downside is, these high-quality pictures take up a larger amount of space on your device.
Even at that, it would take a lot of photos to fill up the storage space of even a budget smartphone with just 8GB of space.
That said, it is mostly the professional photographers who would need more space than what is offered by the high-end brands.
2. Music, Videos and Games
Games apps have grown geometrically in size to what it used to be in the past. It is now common to get HD games of over 1GB in size (FIFA 14 and Infinity Blade 3 are just two games that need more than 1GB storage space).
Clearly, you can only have a limited number of those games on your 32GB phone.
Music and videos too play a large part in why people need storage space. There are so many music and video files we wish to download and keep that it doesn’t take long before we run out of space.
However, savvy adults or parents don’t bother with such games, music, and videos on their gadgets. For these set of people, needing more space is never something to worry about.
3. Ebooks and documents
If you love reading, and ebooks other documents are what you love storing in your device, inadequate storage space would hardly be a problem.
Documents no matter how big, take up just a little space on our gadgets.
To put it in perspective, a collection of 90 ebooks by James Hadley Chase took up just 21MB of storage space while 70 ebooks by Stephen King occupied 75MB storage space.
Carrying about 1GB of books and documents in your device is almost the equivalent of carrying a high school Library in your pocket.
The need for extra storage
The market for extra storage space is a booming one. Obviously, many people find the storage capacity of their devices not nearly enough. There are so many choices available.
One of the popular options to getting extra storage space is to use microSD cards. Most gadgets have a slot for microSD cards and they came in various sizes.
It now common for people to use microSD cards having bigger storage capacity than the one on their phones. However, the money you need to part with to get high-quality microSD cards can be enough to buy a decent low-end Android Smartphone.
For instance, the Samsung 256GB microSD card (transfer speed of 95MB/s) costs about $200 on Amazon online store. On the other end of the size scale, one can get a good 64GB SanDisk microSD card with a transfer speed of up to 80MB/s for about $20.
Manufacturers are not done with coming up with large microSD cards though. In September last year, SanDisk announced the biggest microSD card. The card would have a storage space of 1 terabyte.
Obviously, a card like this would be very expensive when it hits the market.
Cloud storage offer another good option if your device storage space is not enough.
Major cloud storage services offered by Amazon, Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive, and a host of others compete among themselves to offer their services to consumers.
Recently, Amazon canceled its unlimited cloud storage service which was priced at $60 for a year. It is either they had too many clients or just wanted to start cashing in on the customers they reeled in with the unlimited offer.
However, what they are now charging is still cheap compared to others like Google and Dropbox. For the same $60 a year, you get 1 terabyte of storage in the clouds.
Microsoft One Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox charge $70, $100, and $100 respectively for 1 terabyte.
ICloud though is priced at $120 for 2TB annually which should make it the cheapest except that 2TB is the limit. But I can’t see how anybody would need more than 2TB of storage space.
Flash drives and External hard disks
These too are common in the world of digital storage space. They also come in different capacities and price
The evolution of flash drives roughly imitates microSD cards. Manufacturers are making bigger capacity drives as people demand more storage space for their files.
Realistic Storage space
The huge storage spaces mentioned above are not really necessarily for most people.
With about 32GB of total storage space, most of us can manage just fine. You can always delete old files or move unwanted files to external storage devices.
Even some cloud storage services give out a limited amount of free storage to subscribers.
Going forward though, the landscape is more likely to be different. As the world adopts better techs like 4k and 8k videos, 360-degree videos and VR technology, people would find it necessary to get larger storage spaces.
Hopefully, by the time such space hogging files have become commonplace, good storage devices like microSD cards and cloud services would be cheaper.
As you explore all your storage options, make sure you have backups for most of your important files. Here is a thought for you, how would you cope if your huge microSD card with very important documents gets corrupted?
So, your backup storage is your failsafe against something disastrous like that.