Mobile devices: Is internal storage necessary?

The question of whether or not we need internal storage on smartphones or handhelds has come to a head.

Whether internal storage on a smartphone or a handheld is important is a question more people are considering with the increasing popularity of the Apple iPhone. When I'm reviewing a new smartphone or handheld, or talking to someone from a company that makes them, a topic that often comes up is internal storage. Specifically, how much is enough?

Like many people, I have picked up the habit of comparing all new devices to the Apple iPhone, so I tend to think every high-end device should have at least a couple of gigabytes of built-in storage, and ideally 8 GB or more.

This gives the user lots of room to hold everything from additional applications to documents for their job. And I'm not forgetting about audio and video files, which can quickly eat up storage space.

But I can see the other side of the coin, too. Most new models can work with memory cards that offer many gigabytes of storage. And these can be swapped out, allowing the user to easily upgrade their smartphone's or handheld's memory in jiffy.

So, do high-capacity removable memory cards make significant amounts on internal storage capacity unnecessary?

I've been debating this over and over in my head and haven't come to a firm conclusion, so I've decided to toss the question out as a topic of discussion for the Brighthand community.

What is the minimal amount of internal storage you require in a mobile device? What do you think a standard amount ought to be?

Is the amount of built-in storage important to you at all? If a device has little or none, but has a memory card slot that can handle cards with gigabytes of storage, is that good enough? Or do you actually prefer it this way?

Taking the long view for a second, will online storage replace both internal and removable storage?

You can also let us know via email.

Storage not RAM

So that there's not any confusion, this discussion is about the portion of a device's memory devoted to long-term storage, not for holding currently running applications, typically referred to as RAM.

How much RAM a handheld or smartphone has is important, but it's a completely different topic from the amount of storage capacity devices have for files.

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