Why Doesn’t The BlackBerry PlayBook Have a MicroSD Card Slot?

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One of the most interesting deviations I am puzzled with on the BlackBerry PlayBook is the lack of external storage. Ever since the BlackBerry 8800 RIM has done really well with MicroSD cards available on ALL of their devices especially with the recent upgrades to MicroSDHC cards. While the PlayBook will come in variants with 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB on tap I wonder why RIM decided not to include a slot on the device. It just seems odd… When I first saw the bottom of the PlayBook I thought that white thing on the bottom was a place holder for a MicroSD slot but I was told it is not.

The only compelling reason I have come up with so far is that it would be hard for RIM to sell a 32GB PlayBook for $100+ more than the 16GB version if you could by a 32GB MicroSD card for less than $100. On the other hand that is not a consideration RIM has ever made in the past though this is the first time they have released the same device with multiple memory sizes. I really wish RIM finds a way to include a MicroSD slot in the next revision (or even the 4G Sprint version) of the PlayBook. It would be a real shame to give up external storage and would have been a great way to connect your camera memory card to your PlayBook by just using a MicroSDHC card in your camera.

What do you think? Is the lack of external storage a consideration for you? I am going to get a PlayBook either way but MicroSDHC slots are so tiny nowadays it would have taken so little for RIM to make sure one was included. If anything they could have done away with the cheesy chrome media controls on top and replaced it with a full SD card slot. :)

28 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. This is a little strange. I would like to see external storage as well.

  2. Thats the very question im asking too!

  3. Why would it need one? I’m only saying it in half-sarcasm. Isn’t it being marketed as some sort of interconnected appliance? Since apps won’t run from external card, the card would be purely for storage or transfer, why not be one of the ultracool and use the Cloud? Really, I have no idea why there’s no card. For all I know, it could have been an aesthetic decision to keep the unit smooth and hermetic.

  4. To me, that seems very Apple-esque and worries me. Although, the argument can be made that these devices will be so beefed up with internal storage that external storage is not necessary. For instance, I use the card on my Torch for all sorts of things but for the most part, it stays in the device and really only acts to increase the storage capacity.

  5. I think it would be nice but I’m also one who likes to store things in a cloud so it won’t be that big of a deal for me in the long run.

    But right not my cloud of choice is my Pogoplug and until they make an app for the playbook I would be inconvenienced for sure.

    • Same here. Sometimes I dread storing stuff on my card. There is very little by way of security for filed on external care should I lose my device. Locking and wiping internal memory seems so much secure. I toss stuff up on the internet as often as I can. I’m able to do more on my device knowing I have this peace of mind.

  6. It kind of seemed self-explanatory when they announced the 3 versions wasn’t it?

    It may differ from their previous devices, but this is their first tablet, so we can’t always expect the same thing.

  7. There are so many different ways (wireless) to transfer files now, i think its kind of a minor complaint

  8. I think it is time to start working on that Wuala app for the playbook. ;)

  9. I would definitely like to see a microsd slot as well. Perhaps they will allow us to link to our BlackBerry phone and access the files on it through the PlayBook.

  10. i can understand they want to have multiple price points for the playbook, but this goes against everything blackberry has done. they should have done what they did with the storm and storm 2, just throw in that micro sd card with the device :)

    • They probably feel what Apple feels.. that consumers don’t want to deal with an extra card .. they just want a nicely integrated device. not sure if i agree with it.. i’m actually quite indifferent. but i think that’s their line of thinking

      • It’s a fair assumption to make. If you had 64gb of internal memory, would you need an external slot for anything other than file transfer? And with all the connectivity, would an SD card make any difference? If my BlackBerry had even 16gb of internal storage, I wouldn’t need an SD card.

      • Yeah, that’s it. The consumer does’t want to deal with the card. That is just ridiculous. It takes less than 15 seconds to put the card in and be done with it. The prices constantly drop in the microSD market, so, as an informed consumer, I would much rather buy a device that supports external storage knowing I could more than quadruple the storage capacity for very cheap down the road. Ronen hit the nail on the head when he said it would be hard to justify the price gaps between models, plain and simple.

        • Hey not saying i agree with it (as i stated). Just think thats what they’re thinking.

          I know for all us here, its no big deal, but something as trivial as having two drives show up when you plug in a phone with an sd card inside could be confusing.

  11. This would disappoint me. I know people are saying you have 16gb and 32gb of harddrive. But I have an itouch and it gets filled with games, pics and music. Some apps. I’ve never had issues with my BlackBerry’s space wise. So having a microSD in addition to the 8, 16, or 32gb harddrive would be perfect. They are small, easy to install, and don’t take up much room. I have a 16gb microSD and it’s usually full of things that I’ve backed up or stored for some “genius” reason (that’s sarcastic!)

  12. The white slot could be where the SIM card goes when the 3G models appear.

  13. I was also wondering this when I first saw videos on another website.

    This would make me wait for a later model that might have a SD/microSD card slot.

  14. Apple’s done it. No expansion or connectivity of any kind on the iPad, yet it sells like hotcakes. RIM is giving us the connectivity but no expansion. I think that is soley a marketing decision but one I hope RIM will rescind quickly! It serves no purpose and gives users less choice!!! RIM is all about choice, this is why I refuse to buy an iPad. I’ll wait for the PlayBook — been waiting for nearly a year! It makes no sense to manufacture many different versions of the PlayBook. Apple customers are totally confused over the different memory options as well as network connectivity options. The “what-ifs” always creep in: What if I needed more memory? What if I needed cellular access? Apple wants people to off-load the old and buy the new one because that customer has just bought a second device, and he’s responsible for selling some poor folks on the benefits of the old one! However, I think this is very short term thinking. Perhaps RIM marketing folks are too busy trying to figure out how Apple is making money hand over fist bilking customers using these marketing strategies.

    Has anyone seen this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sW_7i6T_H78. Too bad we can’t get manufacturers to make things that last or can be easily upgraded. I’m sure manufacturers won’t like to admit that they’re making things that are “designed for the dump”, but our business strategies today is all about getting the customer to buy more than they need (yes, the 128 GB PlayBook will soon be announced!), and get them to keep buying and buying.

    Yes, I’ll buy the 64 GB PlayBook because I don’t know if 16 GB will be enough. With no MicroSD slot, I have to be sure I have enough memory because I don’t want to ditch the 16 GB version in 6 months and have to buy a new PlayBook. Manufacturers really have us at their mercy, especially when they have, what is perceived to be, “hot” products.

  15. Hi Ronen,

    It’s Alex from RIM again. As you know, BlackBerry PlayBook will come with 64/32/16 GB of internal storage at launch. Users can move files on or off the PlayBook using an equivalent of the BlackBerry Desktop Software via Micro-USB. Additionally, a 4G wireless version of the PlayBook with Sprint is expected to arrive (http://newsroom.sprint.com/news/blackberry-4g-playbook-coming-to-the-sprint-4g-network.htm) later this summer, providing high-speed wide area access in addition to WiFi.

    Please stay tuned to the Inside BlackBerry Blog (http://blogs.blackberry.com/) as more information is made available.

    Cheers!

    • Hi Alex,
      So the PlayBook will not mount as a mass storage device? In other words you will only be able to access the onboard memory from desktop manager?
      How about from the PlayBook itself? Does it have a user accessible file system or is it like the iPad where users are just supposed to be too stupid to deal with a file system?

  16. Alex (and others),
    I understand the value of being able to transfer files via WiFi and 3G / 4G networks, but those options assume that the file is being actively hosted by another device. Without the option of removable storage, you need a PC to transfer files to the Playbook. For those of us who’re looking for the Playbook to free us from having to lug around a laptop or netbook to every conference and meeting, the lack of a way to get data into and out of the Playbook without needing a PC or wireless infrastructure is a significant annoyance. The capability to operate in USB host mode / USB On-The-Go would be ideal, since then we could use an adapter cable for flash memory sticks or a card reader, but so far I haven’t seen any sign of that capability in the specs.

  17. Deal breaker. End of store. I don’t want or need to have the hassel of hooking this useless device up to my pc or dink with seeking out my share drive with this thing. Wow, JUST BUY A JUNKY IPAD FOR ALL THAT TROUBLE. I was ready to preorder till I found this info out. Guess its back to waiting on a lower cost Honeycomb 3.x device this summer.

  18. it is prob because they get $100 for each time the memory doubals just like the ipad they get more money for the memory they put in the device i have a 16gb memory card and they dont want me to use it because they can get $100 for me wanting a 32gigs of memory

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