General Question

Sponge's avatar

If they can make a micro SD card that can hold 64 gig, why can't they make a smartphone, tablet or laptop with a terabyte internal memory?

Asked by Sponge (541points) November 10th, 2012

Or make a tetabyte standard? Is it cost?

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8 Answers

digitalimpression's avatar

They can. There are a lot of figureheads planning our technological future to maximize the profit. If every technological breakthrough were immediately released to the general public, corporate big wigs wouldn’t make as much money.

If people weren’t so greedy we’d all be driving eco-friendly gravity powered cars by now.

dabbler's avatar

First, a terabyte is obviously quite a bit more than 64GB, and it will take up precious space inside the phone. If we can get 64GB on one ‘chip’ (which is a small portion of the microSD card package) you’d probably need 16 of those in your phone for a terabyte. A terabyte of memory will also require a somewhat more complex memory controller chip.

Second, that much memory, and the fancier memory controller, will eat up more power than the smaller amount does. There are ways to manage power by turning off sections that are less used or turning them to standby, but you could easily be randomly accessing stuff from several sections at once which would keep all of those sections active.

Both of those objections will likely be eroded within a few years by the typical advances in memory density and power consumption but using today’s memory chips it’s just not that practical.

A good example of using lots of high-density memory chips ganged together are the new SSD (solid state drive) that are an alternative to hard drives. You can get a ½ terabyte in a format that fits in a laptop computer, but notice that that drive size is at least half the size of a normal mobile phone.

…I’d also conjecture that not that many people want to have a terabyte of stuff on their phones either. They’d rather have stuff up in ‘the cloud’ or their home systems than have that much stuff on a device they could lose or is at much more risk of failure due to rough handling.

jerv's avatar

@dabbler Historically, clouds have failed a few times. More importantly, many people would rather have their porn collection elsewhere…. where all of their data can be deleted for some arbitrary violation of the Terms of Use. I think I will take my chances with drive failure :/

dabbler's avatar

@jerv Indeed, I would not rely on a cloud for sensitive information.
Just sayin’ that there’s not much reason to have a TB of info on what’s currently considered a phone. That much data should be on some other kind of device.
I can see a goal of using whatever pocket size gadget you have do everything you use a phone &/or a computer for, but I’d feel that was vulnerable to getting lost or broken ..then what?
These days it seems to me it’s a better idea to keep a datastore measured in TB on some other medium than a phone. One that’s backed-up, too.

CWOTUS's avatar

Seriously, @digitalimpression? It’s because people ARE greedy (and rewarded appropriately for their positive attempts to satisfy that greed) that we have cars that are as good as they are and in the quantity that we do. Your idea that greed has somehow stifled development and deployment of goods would be laughably ignorant – if it were at all funny.

dabbler's avatar


As far as I can tell the electronics industry lets loose new technology as fast as it can do that in a cost-effective way. Making a profit is part of the story, making the parts and gadgets so that reliability meets the expectations of consumers, and making the product reliable enough to minimize support costs, and it can sell for less than the competitor’s, and has all the features that consumers demand during this season is a daunting task.
“Every technological breakthrough were immediately released to the general public.” Plenty of technological breakthroughs are not better than existing forms, they’re just different.

Do you have any example of electronics technology that consumers want that has been held back for strategic profit-maximizing purposes?
Seems like usually the strategy is to get the new tech out there to keep and gain market share. That increases profit unless something is terribly wrong with the business.

Or did you mean that some industries will suppress other tech to keep their market share? e.g. bought the light rail passenger lines in Los Angeles, sold the city busses, then shut down the trains. Holding back some other entity’s technology or holding back their own tech?

LuckyGuy's avatar

Phones will be at a TB in 3–4 years. Are you willing to wait?

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