Flash memory is all well and good, but what if it’s the cause of many smartphone performance issues? Researchers claim that there is a big link between poor performing smartphones and many of the top selling flash memory cards, causing slowdowns in WiFi connectivity. Results varied wildly, averaging a performance decline of between 100% and 300%, even plummeting 2,000% in one instance.
The reason for this is simple: there is little quality control when it comes to flash memory cards. Two identical cards will often have very different benchmarks, making it difficult to recommend a particular brand or class.
This, in fact, is the very reason why Microsoft has all but banned expandable memory via microSD cards in Windows Phone. A few select first-generation handsets–most notably the Samsung Focus–supported permanent expandable memory with microSD, but Microsoft refused to support that use case scenario and manufacturers let customers do it at their own risk. There are rumors that the Apollo update might usher in some form of official support, but it’s all rumor and speculation at this point.
Android, on the other hand, fully supports removable microSD cards. Unfortunately, the most popular 16GB embedded flash memory cards caused a wide variety of performance issues and drops in battery life. That’s not to say that all flash memory card are bad, but it’s certainly a somewhat risky scenario.
In a world where most people are concerned about the processor, screen, and battery life, it’s easy to overlook just how much flash memory can affect the device. Thankfully, the researchers have a few ideas on how to improve flash memory in the future. But until these issues are resolved and flash memory has better quality control, you should be wary of buying cheap flash memory. Unless, of course, you like a slow smartphone.
[Revisiting Storage for Smartphones via Computerworld]