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Manufacturers Make a Killing Overcharging Memory to Clueless Customers

Steven Blum
5

If you want to know how manufacturers keep a healthy profit from each Android device they create, the answer is lying right under your nose. The extra gigabytes in memory that manufacturers charge oodles more for are actually quite inexpensive to acquire. According to some some estimates, each extra gigabyte costs manufacturers less than $1 to buy, meaning buying a 16GB version over an 8GB version of a smartphone isn't really worth an extra $50 – more like $7. 

So why do manufacturers charge so much more for these versions? Simple: most customers don't know any better. More memory is seen as a premium feature, even though it actually doesn't cost manufacturers much of anything at all. Of all the components that make up an Android device, the display and the touchscreen cost far, far more (on the Nexus 7, for example, the combined cost of both the display and touchscreen is $55, while 16 GB of memory cost $21). 

Even bloggers don't seem to understand the bait-and-switch. Most recently, the 64GB version of the Samsung Galaxy S3 is making the rounds, causing people to foam at their mouths with excitement. But the device will probably cost an exorbinant amount of money.

I'm tempted to blame Apple for all the false promotion. After all, the 32GB version of the iPhone has always cost way more than the 16GB version. Currently, Apple is charging $199 for the 16GB iPhone, $299 for the 32GB version and $399 for the 64GB version. In reality, they're most likely keeping over $80 of those extra hundred dollars in pure profit. 

What can you do? Well, don't buy an iPhone, for one. They have no expandable memory. Right now, you can get a $16GB SD card from a reputable company on Amazon for less than $20. I would do that rather than shell out more cash for more internal memory.

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Comments

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  • Lurker Jul 19, 2012 Link

    Alteast with most of the Android phones, you can get extra memory for very cheap by getting a Micro SD card. I bought a 16 GB Micro SD card for around 16$ for my GS II, unlike the iPhone where you have to pay 100$ extra for 16 GB more.

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  • Ti Mo Jul 19, 2012 Link

    I hate that my gnex doesn't have a sd card slot...

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  • Brian Scott Oplinger Jul 20, 2012 Link

    Absolutely stupid summary, especially that last paragraph. Almost all new Android phones don't have expandable memory either. Neither does Google's flagship Nexus tablet.

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  • Steven Blum Jul 20, 2012 Link

    Um, hello? All Galaxy S2 and Galaxy S3 smartphones have expandable memory slots, but I guess they don't count because they're such little-known models?

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  • CJ Brown Jul 22, 2012 Link

    While the HTC Droid Incredible 4G is smaller then the HTC One X & S ... @ least you can replace the battery & add memory via a SD card with the HTC Droid Incredible 4G (both come with 16GB of memory).

    I guess if you decide on the HTC One S (which I still admire), your only option is the 25GB of free Dropbox Storage you obtain when you purchase an HTC One S. (& for some people, Dropbox Storage is more useful than an SD card).

    I understand that you can set the HTC One S to automatically upload photos you take to Dropbox (which you can sync to your computer - laptop - tablet), but I'd <3 to hear more from anyone who's purchased the HTC One S from T-Mobile. If I stay with Verizon? I'll be looking into the HTC Droid Incredible 4G lte (the Samsung Galaxy III Nexus is a nice Android Smart Phone, however, its too large for me) ...

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