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Your Next Smartphone Will Be Less Flexible


Android smartphones have always had one major hardware advantage over the iPhone: flexibility. Flexibility to add move storage, swap out a depleted battery, even the ability to add functionality by changing the rear cover for a different one.

The poster child for this flexibility has always been Samsung, who have always pushed creative solutions to market. Up until the launch of the Galaxy S6 that is. With its new flagship phone Samsung has killed all of this functionality and done away with removable rear covers, micro SD card slots and replaceable batteries.

Why? Because it allows them to stuff their bottom line profit.

The micro SD card allowed customers to buy the cheapest phone in a range and upgrade it with memory cards as required. The natural motion of memory card prices being down, it meant that a customer could upgrade their phone at little expense.

Apple clearly saw this as a risk to its bottom line before it gut the iPhone anywhere near market. It did away with card slots and offered larger capacity devices at greatly enhanced profit levels. Eight years down the line it is still benefiting from this decision.

Samsung clearly caught on to the potential boost to its profits if the newly designed S6 lacked a card slot, and in order to achieve this it despatched the removable cover and battery too. And of course Google's Nexus devices have eschewed expandable memory forever. As result other OEMs are likely to try and follow suit. HTC ditched the card slot from the One M7, although it returned with the One M8, whilst Xiaomi have been talking about ditching the card slot too.

Profits in the industry being what they are its hard to see other Android OEMs jumping on the bandwagon if Samsung is able to boost or maintain sales despite ditching the card slot.

How much is it worth to the OEMs? Well Samsung is charging an extra £50 for the 64 GB version of the S6 Edge, a good quality micro SD card retails for less than half of that. In six months time its probable you'll be paying less than that for a good 128 GB card. Adding an extra £30 profit to a device liable to sell upwards of five million devices a quarter will work for Samsung to the tune of £600 million a year.

It might not work quite so well for you.

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