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The Changing Face Of Data Storage

The amount of internal storage space in a smartphone is one of the key factors, which influence the decision to buy one phone over another

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Smartphones have created a major paradigm shift in our lives. The speed, at which smartphones have come to dominate our daily life, has been phenomenal. 

One of the factors driving the massive adoption of smartphones, a device no bigger than our palms, has been its inherent capacity for storage. Smartphones have gone far beyond just making or receiving a call with mobile apps enabling you to shop, bank, access transport, social media, track fitness levels and more. Today, consumers can evaluate smartphones on camera quality, speed and the memory capacity or data storage, before buying one. 

Frankly, the amount of internal storage space in a smartphone is one of the key factors, which influence the decision to buy one phone over another. It is also about how fast a mobile phone can utilize that data. In a fast-paced, millennial workplace, people are required to generate voluminous data in terms of documents, presentations, designs etc., and work on them, sometimes on their smartphones. Therefore, speed is crucial here and there is no room for smartphones that slow you down.  

In our ‘smartphone dependent’ lives, our phones are also loaded with personal apps which consume space. As new disruptive apps make their way into our smartphones, the momentum for more storage capacity is building up.  I have not even begun talking about photos, videos, GIFs and recordings that we store on our smartphones. In fact, in a recent Western Digital online research study, we discovered that on an average, Indian respondents shoot 31 photos and 14 videos a week on their smartphones. 

Additional value-add features such as AR Apps, larger displays and facial recognition software are guzzling up even more space on our smartphones. In the future, with the Internet of Things, the smartphone is expected to become smarter. Deleting data to free up space is not the answer. For example, in our study, we found that 94% of Indian respondents have deleted files/data from their smartphone to free up storage/memory, with 46% doing this at least once a week, and 77% deleting files at least once a month. And, importantly, 65% of the Indian respondents have ended up regretting deleting a precious photo or video from their smartphone to free up storage/ memory.

All these developments signify the necessity to generate more storage space, which is readily accessible and easy-to-use.  

In this scenario, the role of mobile storage solutions (MSS) has become significant. These portable, affordable and convenient devices help to create storage on our smartphones instantaneously. All that is required is to plug them onto your phone. 

Changing face of data storage: Flash drives  
MSS solutions, which include pen drives or flash drives, go a long way to ensure that we have enough storage on our phones. Over the years, they have come in different sizes, shapes and configurations with data storage capacities ranging from 4 GB to 256 GB. They have become an inescapable element of the contemporary technological landscape with multiple usage purposes. They offer the potential for low power storage, can be physically handed to targeted recipients and can protect digital information through passwords and encrypted information.  It can be argued that the cloud is a better way to store your data. However, cloud storage devices require an Internet connection to access data, while most flash drives require only an USB port.    

As of 2016, India had over 300 million smartphone users, according to technology consultancy firm Counterpoint Technology Market Research, a Hong Kong based firm that tracks shipments countrywide. This is a number that has been rising year on year. The study adds that the smartphone market in tier 2 and tier 3 markets is expanding as well at a faster rate than urban areas. They will get more active in generating data on their phones as well. With patchy net and costly cloud services, they can rely on MSS products to amplify storage on their phones.

Relationship between Indians and their data

Here’s more statistics to further drive home my point about MSS products.  Quoting the Western Digital study again, it was found that 83% of the Indian respondents with a personal smartphone ran out of storage, with 29% of the respondents running out of space at least once a week, while 62% were stuck for lack of space at least every three months. 

This helps show that data is relentless and continues to grow. Moreover, the limitation with internal mobile storage is that it can be extended to a certain extent. The only avenue left is for smartphones to incorporate MSS storage products and use as much data as they want and keep it backed up at the same time – literally, in the palm of their hands.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Khalid Wani

The author is Director – Channel Sales, India, Western Digital

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