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WP7 Makes Permanent Changes to microSD Card

Over the weekend, reports surfaced that Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 OS will make permanent changes to an inserted microSD card, possibly preventing it from being read, written to, or formatted for use on another device.

The news arrives after AT&T recently told customers not to install extra microSD cards in their brand new Samsung Focus. Microsoft's own WP7 support docs also point out that the microSD card slot isn't meant for consumers to insert whatever they buy, but is intended to be used by the OEM that built the device and the wireless carrier that sells it.

"Determining whether an SD card is Windows Phone 7 compliant is not a simple matter of judging its speed class," the document reads. "Several other factors, such as the number of random read/write operations per second, play a role in determining how well an SD card performs with Windows Phone 7 devices."

However reports indicate that consumers are buying microSD cards anyway and are experiencing severe problems with the Samsung Focus, reducing performance to a crawl. AT&T stresses that only "Certified for Windows Phone 7" cards should be used if customers are intent on expanding the device's storage capacity. The problem is they’re not available for the general consumer.

"Windows Phone 7 requires a certified high-speed microSD card for optimal performance," AT&T said in a statement. "Because the Samsung Focus is expandable via a microSD card, only microSD memory cards certified for Windows Phone 7 should be used. This information is not currently marked on any microSD packaging in market today. As a result, we are advising customers to delay purchasing an external microSD card until the cards identified as 'Certified for Windows Phone 7' are available commercially or in AT&T stores."

Samsung also added in its Focus documentation that any card inserted into the device "will no longer be readable or writable on any other devices such as computers, cameras, printers, and so on." Engadget backs up Samsung's documentation, reporting that a microSD card was "fried" after moving it in and back out of the Samsung phone.

Later reports say that Microsoft is looking to certify microSD cards, however the only ones that play nice with Windows Phone 7 are only sold in bulk. Samsung claims that the 8 GB class 2 memory card should work just fine.

"The Samsung Focus has a 16 GB internal memory and expandable up to 32 GB," the company said. "So you can insert a 32 GB micro SD card on this device. Use of unapproved cards may cause performance degradation or device instability, including unexpected reset and loss of user data."

  • jomofro39
    Boo? I would be so mad if that happened to me.
  • mavroxur
    Yet another reason i will never buy a Windows 7 phone. I've been a follower of Windows Mobile all the way up to 6.5, but it's things like this, the lack of native tethering, no open app support, and god know what else we've yet to uncover, that my next phone will be an Android based device. Microsoft ruined WP7 in my opinion.
  • Seems like a big screw up on the vendors side. If the cards are available in bulk only, then Samsung or AT&T should have bought a bulk, and had them in stores when the phones launched. Advertising a feature the consumer has no way of getting is false advertising!
  • cadder
    > the microSD card slot isn't meant for consumers to insert whatever they buy, but is intended to be used by the OEM that built the device and the wireless carrier that sells it.

    I am totally against this kind of thing. The OEM and the wireless carriers make too many changes to the devices, and they aren't doing it for the good of the consumer. I'm not surprised that Samsung has this problem, the last Samsung phone that I owned (Epix) clearly had changes made to it by Samsung and by ATT, and not for the good of the consumer.
  • tpi2007
    What ?!?

    Are they serious about this ? One thing is to require special cards in order to operate properly, another completely different is to render a card useless outside the phone.

    You won't be able to put it into your printer to print photos, neither your multicard reader on your PC/Laptop/Netbook, or other phones or media players.

    Are they really serious ? How stupid do they have to be in order to ruin Windows Phone 7 like this ?

    Are they playing Apple or the console market tactic here ? ("Only our cards/peripherals work with our porducts and they won't work anywhere else, so you have to buy from us, overpriced and all")
  • Caffeinecarl
    This is awful! I could come up with one situation where you'd want to move the card back and forth between devices possibly quite frequently. If you were taking photographs on a micro SD card inserted into an adapter and you had to get them e-mailed right away after you finished, in ordinary circumstances you could put the micro into your phone and send them right off. I have not tried this myself, but just the fact that I've thought of doing it inevitably means somebody has probably done just that.
  • cirdecus
    Its amazing how microsoft is confused on why it can't compete in these areas... its because of decisions like this.

  • techguy378
    Why does anyone want one of these phones? Are people really that stupid?
  • tgoods44
    I think its going to be very hard for Microsoft to gain any market share. They really have nothing going for them except for a slightly altered UI. I mean, if you wanted a closed platform with choked out features wouldn't an iphone be a much better choice, especially with content available, and its coming to other carriers soon. Then Android has an edge being open etc. etc. Why would I want WP7?
  • One good reason to avoid WP7