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Windows Phone Permanently Modifies MicroSD Cards, Warns Samsung 426

dotancohen writes "Don't put your MicroSD cards into Windows Phones. According to Samsung, doing so is a 'permanent modification' to the card, and it can no longer be used in other devices."
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Windows Phone Permanently Modifies MicroSD Cards, Warns Samsung

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  • by omglolbah ( 731566 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @02:34PM (#34223814)

    Say what now?.... If this is even possible there is something really wrong with the SD card in question...

  • by pinkishpunk ( 1461107 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @02:39PM (#34223846)
    best guess is this socalled permant modification is changes to the filesystem nothing more, which for normal users would amount to the same, if their windows platform cant see the card anymore, inserting such a card would not be shown by windows except for people entering the computer management/ disk management and repartiton/format it again.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2010 @02:42PM (#34223882)

    Meantime, AT&T has warned customers via Engadget that only ”Certified for Windows Phone 7” microSD cards should be used in Microsoft’s mobile devices. The reason, according to the mobile carrier, is that the Windows Phone platform ”requires a certified high-speed microSD card for optimal performance.”

    At present, no such ”certified” cards exist and no indication has been given as to when they will hit store shelves. According to Microsoft support documents, certification comes down to more than just ”a simple matter of judging its speed class.”

    So as far as the consumer is concerned, you can't expand the storage on a Windows 7 phone either.

  • Re:Pointless (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2010 @02:54PM (#34223982)

    In the absence of demonstrable damage due to improper tools/procedure -- opening your phone to add storage doesn't void your warranty, any more than opening your car hood to add a better air filter would.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2010 @03:11PM (#34224156)

    Nice one MS - bone everybody for your FAT32 "patents" for years, then ditch it entirely for a double-secret proprietary format.

    You don't understand Microsoft, that's all. You think Microsoft is a software and hardware company, but it isn't. Microsoft is an evil company that uses "mistakes" in software and hardware to deliver evil. It's the evil that is important to Microsoft, the money is secondary. That may sound like an anti-Microsoft opinion, but what other idea could you have, given the facts? Certainly Microsoft knew about that issue. Certainly Microsoft knew it would lower the profits, especially since they didn't warn anyone.

  • Re:Probably ExFAT (Score:4, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @03:27PM (#34224288)

    Even if that were possible, this would be too blatant a bug to have slipped through QA.

    This is Microsoft QA we are talking about here..... Vista slipped through that QA.

  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @03:30PM (#34224316)

    This information alone means that I'll avoid ever getting a Windows phone, even if it should have tremendous advantages otherwise.

    Why? Because of a hyperbole laden /. thread? That's a terrible reason to decide anything.

    There is a warning on the phone. There is clear documentation that this will happen. The slot is not designed for convenient insertion/removal. It is not intended to be used as a portable storage.

    It is intended to be a permanent expansion module for the phone, not removal SD storage.

    Let me ask you this: Suppose they didn't use an SD card slot. Suppose they had instead developed a proprietary connector instead and sold the expansion as proprietary modules that had to be installed at a service center. Would that trigger the same sort of averse reaction from you?

    I'm curious, because if you wanted to upgrade your 16GB iPhone to 32GB that's essentially the process assuming you could even get it done... do you avoid iPhones because of that?

    MS is using the SD form factor for this because it meets their needs, and using an existing form factor reduces engineering and manufacturing costs. Don't think of it as 'SD removal storage' and think of it as an upgrade kit that just happens use the SD form factor. Honestly, most consumers will likely never even use the functionality at all. And for those few that do decide to expand their phone this way, it requires very specific SD cards, and its well documented that its a permanent upgrade using SD form factor and not plug/play removal storage.

  • by am 2k ( 217885 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @03:52PM (#34224492) Homepage

    It's probably done so the manufacturer can decide on the memory capacity of the phone after it has been produced outside of the factory and react quicker to market demands.

    Plus, rebranders can put different amounts of memory into previously brandless phones.

  • by Wooky_linuxer ( 685371 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @03:54PM (#34224514)
    The SD card in WP7 devices is NOT user serviceable. MS uses SD cards as a cheap alternative to other kinds of storage solutions. To exchange the SD card, you have to tore open the phone. People have been trying to replace the provided card to get more space, that's it. So I see it as no big deal that the OS thrashes it, since it was never intended to leave the phone anyway. That said, I wouldn't buy a WP7 phone for other reasons: it copied the iOS model by Apple by the book - specially the silly restrictions (no multitasking to 3rd party apps, tie-in to a proprietary app, no fscking copy-and-paste, etc.).
  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @03:55PM (#34224522) Journal

    Easy - you build phones with the "sweet spot" memory today, but in 6 months they look far behind in capacity. Instead of scrapping a containerload of $300 phones, you upgrade them with $10 of memory and sell them.

    Sure you might save a little with onboard memory, but this leaves the market segmentation decision until later.

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @03:57PM (#34224540)
    Why does Microsoft eschew conventional methods of interfacing with MicroSD cards for this piece of hardware? Do they have too many problems with customers using their MicroSD cards for multiple things and then messing up files that are important for the WP7 device? Is there a better solution?
  • by noidentity ( 188756 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @04:17PM (#34224698)

    The S in SD means "Secure" which is an acronym for DRM ...

    May I respectfully suggest that you acquire a dictionary and use it to find out what everyone else in the world means when they say "acronym"?

    I think Shitty Euphemism Causing Unjustified Retarded Expenditures describes DRM pretty well.

  • by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @04:48PM (#34224904)

    Not exactly; the second link states that it keys the card to the device, suggesting that it enables the "not so well known" security modes of the SD card.

    Since the new device you are putting it in (camera, PC, etc.) doesn't know the code, the card does not respond (or does not respond in the correct manner.) result-- Foreign device thinks the card is broken.

    This was probably implemented to engage in one-upsmanship with Apple, concerning who can make the most draconian content control system. Sure, you can put the apps you downloaded onto an SD card-- But, since we dont really want you keeping a removable library of apps or other tidbits, we will make it so that once you insert the card, you have to keep it there or risk fluxxoring your phone up, and further, we will make it so that you cant even read it outside of the phone anyway. But, HEY program developers! Your precious install base is SAFE with us! We patched that nasty sneakernet problem! Oh, and FBI/CIA/[insert agency], we made it so that those nasty information terrorists cant just hide their phone's SD card in their shoe or something-- Not if they still want their phones to work! See, we're doing our part to make the world SAFER!

    Nevermind if you are a developer yourself, and want a fast and convenient way to put your home-grown application on the phone for testing, or if your application intends to use generic filesystem controls to make a cross compilable application for all 3 phone platforms.. no no. That's just a sad side effect of doing what's best for you, afterall-- "Seriously now Mr Developer, We were just doing WHAT YOU WANTED, Right? You said you wanted your apps not to get pirated-- We just did what we thought was best for you! Why aren't you happy!?"

    Etc... Etc... Etc...

    this is why hardware makers should not be expected to go out of their way to secure a platform other than what is necessary for ordinary functionality. DRM is and should be the sole discretion of the application creator, not of the platform's creator. EG, [purely hypothetical here] "iTunes for Android" (HAH, like that will ever happen..) can do whatever kinds of calisthenics apple seems necessary to secure their precious music files, and communicate "safely" with the itunes market on the "Untrusted" (AKA, "we don't own it") android platform, but EG, motorola or Google should not try to ham-fist a DRM mechanism on the platform. This is how the platform itself remains application agnostic, an thus more "open."

    As-is, the special filesystem method used by the windows 7 phones would require lots of specialist code to support that platform, where nearly identical code could be used for iOS and android.

    Additionally, this non-standard interface nonsense makes it impossible to use any kind of SD hardware upgrade, like found in some GPS packages. (this is a full size SD solution, but it is probable that such things will come to be in the smaller micro SD format eventually, since they are pretty much identical except for size.) []

    By being a non-standard slot, with a non-standard interface type, this makes windows 7 phones fundamentally incompatible with such hardware. Putting one in might well damage both the card AND the phone.

    Way to go microsoft!

  • by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <slashdot AT pitabred DOT dyndns DOT org> on Sunday November 14, 2010 @04:50PM (#34224924) Homepage

    That begs the question, why even have an SD card if you're going to make it permanent? Seems exceptionally stupid to me. Either solder it in, or make it a removable card. Doing both is just... neurotic.

  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @04:55PM (#34224978)

    To ignore any of these points regarding the consumer is just painting a big red failure sign on the barn.

    Its physically located under the battery, and its covered by a sticker with a warning on it. The sticker on the one I saw you had to cut through to actually insert a card, there was a prominent warning on it, and it mentioned voiding your warranty.)

    Its not like there its on the side of the phone wide open and ready to receive media.

    You are right that there will be some JoeBlow out there with just enough tech-savvy to find and recognize the card slot, and enough recklessness to cut through the sticker and jam the first thing he can find that will fit into it...

    That's NOT going to be your average user. That's going to that same class of idiot that randomly sticks ram modules into their motherboards without regard to whether the motherboard will accept that particular speed or configuration. The kind who tries sharing his printer by plugging it into the usb port on his PVR, the kind who has his entire living room plugged into a bar plugged into a power bar plugged into a power bar. The kind who have their cable modem plugged into a LAN port on their router, the kind who plug their TV into their PVR using an HDMI to DVI adapter and wonder why their is no sound only to then plug in a set of composite cables and watch everything on the composite input "in HD".

    I know people like that. There's one at the office... he was excited to find an old motorola 9-pin serial to RJ-45 adapter used to program certain 2-way radios. Why was this a big deal? He also had a USB-serial device used for old blackberrys. He figured he'd be able to use his ipod as a network attached storage. The missing link... a male-male usb adapter. Luckily... he had a USB hub he wasn't using. Game-set-match! (True story.)

    Since when do we at slashdot really concern ourselves about the fate of these people?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:02PM (#34225050)

    From what part of "Microsoft is an evil company" would you think people could infer that you are anti-Microsoft? Microsoft formatting devices solely for Microsoft purposes is hardly a new Microsoft trait! If you don't like it, why are you using a Windows device... its not like there aren't a dozen other options.

    Quit whining and reformat. If you don't know how to do that then stop complaining, learn how to use a computer and then see if your complaint is still valid.

    Damn whining neophytes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2010 @07:07PM (#34226108)

    Why do they use this stupid system instead of just providing external storage like everyone else? Having the ability to use an SD card to transfer data is pretty important imho, a standard expected feature of a phone with such a slot.

  • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @07:12PM (#34226140)

    Blow it out your ass. The Nazis were evil. MS is just scum, there's a difference.

  • by fishexe ( 168879 ) on Monday November 15, 2010 @02:32AM (#34228432) Homepage

    You can piss and moan all you want, but be sure to Vote with your wallet - it's the only vote they count.


    I'd love to, but unfortunately I bought their product once and now I'm locked in to voting for them, because other votes are "incompatible".

  • by Ilgaz ( 86384 ) on Monday November 15, 2010 @08:13AM (#34229546) Homepage

    Say what now?.... If this is even possible there is something really wrong with the SD card in question...

    Say what now?.... If this is even possible there is something really wrong with the SD card in question...

    SD cards are designed for FAT16/FAT32 ordinary (human) file usage and sadly exFAT (they didn't get their lesson) formats with ordinary files being added/removed in a "human" basis, not automatic basis.

    The trick here is the inner working of FAT where the filesystem is extremely basic and there isn't really much going on chip level when file operations take place. Deleting a file is just removing first letter of filename as far as I remember. It is couple of bytes being overwritten.

    What MS did is, put a gigantic file on the memory card, not allowing chips to do their tricks (wear levelling) and add a random (it didn't have to be random!) password to mount it.

    Why? Let me tell you why. Media sharing and easy backups on any operating system that reads/writes FAT (read:all). Find a person uses Nokia smart phone (or even S40), from phone's main menu there is "remove memory card" option. Use it, it will eject. That is also the point to guys who claims it is not common to remove memory card. It IS! Put it into a $10 (cheaper exist but dangerous) SD card reader. Click on "Music" directory, start playing the music on your desktop or even other brand phone.

    Does your files have issues? E.g. phone reboots while reading a specific file? run chkdsk E: (generally) /f /r . Using OS X and need a backup or even duplicate? Run diskutility (dd on linux) and create image. Suspect there is a virus? Run virus check.

    Reading other comments (not yours), I really started to suspect there is really something grey going on with MS Phone 7 PR team...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 15, 2010 @09:00AM (#34229724)

    I won't argue the evil-ness of Microsoft, but they DO have a point when it comes to "additional quality". Like it or not, SD cards have wildly different properties, you'll even see differences between batches from a single factory. At retail level, things are even worse.

    For instance, one behavior that we observed in practice (not theoretical, real HW) is the failure mode under low voltage (battery low scenario). Good, expensive SDs will corrupt 512 bytes-4KB. Bad SDs will suffer complete, unrecoverable corruption (they lose their blockmapping). Sure, both technically comply to the SD specs, but I know which ones we sell to cheap consumers, which ones we sell to critical consumers, and how hard it is to source the reliable batches for the latter.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?