AT&T must not have gotten the memo from Microsoft regarding the horrible things that could happen if users attempt to swap out microSD cards in Windows Phone 7 devices, as a company vice president has apparently explicitly stated that the method for storage upgrades will be detailed in the handsets’ quick start guides. According to user eshudnow from the AT&T forums, Senior Vice President of Devices Jeff Bradley responded to his query by saying that “the devices will support the addition of up to a 32GB class 2 (or higher) microSD card. You need to insert the card before you power up the device the first time so that the operating system can map it as available memory to maximize its utilization. This is outlined in the Quick Start Guide you receive in the box.”
We’re assuming that the email exchange refers to the Samsung Focus, which we know for a fact allows the end user to bump total capacity to 40GB (8GB internal + 32GB microSD). Interestingly, a teardown of Samsung’s European WP7 launch device, the Omnia 7, revealed no microSD slot whatsoever, only the standard flash NAND modules. A previous disassembly of the HTC HD7 originally suggested that its card was not swappable, but subsequent testing then appeared to indicate the opposite.
Maybe we’re missing something, but it seems like the three players involved here (Microsoft, carriers, and OEMs) can’t agree on a consistent stance when it comes to this contentious issue. From Charlie Kindel’s statements the other day, it appears that Redmond views microSD cards in a very negative light, which made us wonder why WP7 devices are allowed to use them at all. AT&T, meanwhile, now looks to be fully on board with user expansion, despite the grave risks apparently involved in incorporating microSD cards into the single file system. And then there are the manufacturers like Samsung and HTC, who seem to care about the issue only in the context of maximizing sales.
So in the end, we’re still left wondering how risky microSD usage really is here: is Microsoft being on the level with its concerns, or are we seeing another justification for tighter control over the user experience and the possiblity to upsell based on memory configuration?