Needed for Google’s Next Nexus 7 Tablet: More Storage

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Jared Newman / TIME.com

Now that Amazon and Barnes & Noble have announced their latest cheap tablets, it’s become clear that Google’s own offering, the  Nexus 7, has a storage problem.

The $200 Nexus 7, which launched in July, comes with just 8 GB of storage. A 16 GB version of the Nexus 7 sells for $250, but neither model has a MicroSD slot, so once you’re out of room, your only option is to delete stuff.

(MORE: 30 Days with Google’s Nexus 7 Tablet)

Let’s compare that to Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD and Barnes & Noble’s Nook HD:

The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD comes in 16 GB and 32 GB versions, for $199 and $249 respectively. There are a couple hidden costs — a charger costs $10 extra, and the device shows advertisements unless you opt-out for $15 — and there’s no expandable storage, but the fact remains that Amazon’s tablets have twice the capacity as the Nexus 7.

The Nook HD, like the Nexus 7, includes 8 GB of storage in the $199 model, but a 16 GB version costs only $30 more. An even bigger distinction is that the Nook HD has a MicroSD card slot, supporting up to 32 GB of expanded storage, so Barnes & Noble’s tablet has the highest possible capacity of all three devices.

A few months ago, I bought a 16 GB Nexus 7, and I’m glad I chose that version over the cheaper 8 GB model. Thanks in large part to high-end games such as Grand Theft Auto III and Shadowgun, I’ve already used nearly half my available storage, and would have been almost out of room already with an 8 GB tablet. As it stands, there’s no space for my music library, so I stream it through Google Play Music instead.

For all but the lightest tablet users, 8 GB just isn’t enough, especially once you’ve subtracted the 3 GB or so that’s taken up by the operating system. Even 16 GB is cutting it close for users who want to install lots of apps or media. Barnes & Noble and Amazon have adapted by offering options for more storage, and now Google’s Nexus 7 is behind.

Rumor has it that Google and its hardware partner Asus are working on new Nexus 7 tablets, including a $99 model and a slimmer $199 version. We tend to be skeptical of DigiTimes, the source of the rumor, but the possibility of a Nexus 7 refresh has me hoping for something else: slimmer or not, perhaps some higher-capacity Nexus 7 tablets are on the way.

Google was reportedly surprised by demand for the 16 GB Nexus 7, the Guardian reported in July, so at least the company knows that users want more room and are willing to pay for it. I’m still doubtful that Google will take action so soon after launching the original Nexus 7, but the company may have no choice if it wants to stay competitive in 2012′s cheap tablet wars.

MORE: Barnes & Noble’s New Nooks: The Cheap Tablet Wars Continue

12 comments
master94
master94

I hope it has another row of apps on the homescreen.

Peanutsrus
Peanutsrus

You don't need to root the Nexus 7 to use an USB OTG. In Google Play, Nexus Media Importer is supposed to let you use a USB OTG with an USB stick. Don't have a Nexus 7 yet, so don't know if it works. 

Daleos
Daleos

I've got an OTG cable and the Media importer. It works quite well but it's not the same as real storage. For a start, you're limited to files the media importer understands .

However, the OTG cable is great for other things. I can now control my DSLR camera from my Nexus 7 which has been a boon as many of the functions are more accessible from the Nexus 7 and focus control is extremely precise.

From my experiments, I get the feeling that 'host mode' is actually enabled on the Nexus 7 but they haven't incorporated the software to read data from drives (probably due more to licencing reasons than anythng else).

Confess Your Sins
Confess Your Sins

Don't wait up for a Google tablet with more storage. They're all about the cloud. You mention using Google Music – that's what they want you to do, along with buying from the Play store. The lack of storage isn't a flaw – it's a feature.

Jared Newman
Jared Newman

Unfortunately there's no similar mechanism in place for videos and apps. If you have an existing movie/show library (and aren't buying from Google Play), or want to install a lot of apps, space is an issue.

CPA01
CPA01

 Well sorta. It's not pretty but an OTG USB cable connected to external media can essentially give you unlimited movies offline. And the fact that android media player apps can  play pretty much every format is in many ways refreshing over iOS.

Apps are a real issue, especially since there currently isn't any way to install to a USB device much less run off a USB device.

If you're not a big game player, an 8 GB Nexus 7 w/ OTG is pretty much the way to go. You can get access to 64gb of storage for less than $40 after the required apps and USB cable.

softskills
softskills

I think you need to mention that currently the Nexus 7 tablets come with a $25 credit for Google Play. To some people who intend to purchase apps/music/movies, that might make the 16GB Nexus 7 more comparable to the Kindle Fire HD 16GB once the cost of removing the screensaver ads ($15) is taken into account ($225 + $25 credit Vs $215).

Daleos
Daleos

Like most people I always want more and when I see a device that suggests it's undercooked in some way, I get uppity about it but being pragmatic, I've come to the conclusion that 16GB is fine.

I've got over 120 apps on my Nexus 7 and I've still got 10GB free. 16GB is plenty so long as you're not a media hoarder or a console games fiend.

I'm not the kind of person that needs my whole music collection, a boat load of video or half a dozen big games on it. I might come a bit unstuck if I decide I need it to do an emergency data backup on it but that's the only reason I can see me needing more.

Larry Matt York
Larry Matt York

you can technically use OTG cables to attach USB drives - given you are willing to root the Nexus 7 and install StickMount

zaglossus
zaglossus

Almost all these tech articles just bore me. These gizmos now do more than enough. If you have to fiddle with them once and awhile, no big deal considering what it was like before.

Robert Johnson
Robert Johnson

No matter how you look at it, services such as googledrive and dropbox only provide 5gb of cloud storage, thus as a user you are extremely limited. I recommend you guys check out 4sync, they offer 15gb of free storage and arguably have the best access across all platforms.