Today, Samsung announced the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge models, ending weeks if not months of speculation and leaks. These leaks told us much of the specifications of the Galaxy S7 before it arrived, and Samsung themselves alluded to a few pieces of information before the announcement. Compared with the Galaxy S6 and from a technical perspective, Samsung are taking something of a backwards step with the Galaxy S7: for many markets, the Galaxy S7 will only be offered as a 32 GB model but it will contain a MicroSD card slot, which supports up to 200 GB of expandable storage. The Galaxy S6 was available in 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB flavors but did not have the MicroSD slot; this was a move that makes good business sense as it forces those customers who want lots of internal storage to spend more money on a higher capacity model rather than buying a MicroSD card, which in capacity terms is usually cheaper. However, many customers had previously enjoyed the Galaxy S range because the devices had replaceable batteries and MicroSD cards and removing these features from the S6 weakened the handset’s appeal. For a business that had been struggling to sell devices into a fiercely competitive market, removing the replaceable battery and MicroSD card could have been a poor business decision.
With the Galaxy S7, it is possible that Samsung have taken the decision that offering three memory capacities into certain markets is not economically viable, as it increases the complexity of selling the devices where the majority of customers opted for the entry level model. Perhaps the decision is based on that there are fewer complaints from customers wanting to buy a higher capacity handset compared with those happy to buy a smaller capacity variant but wanting a MicroSD card slot.
However, for those North American customers who are heavy users of a smartphone, wishing to install many large applications, that the Galaxy S7 won’t be available in 128 GB capacity is not great news. Furthermore, Samsung have barred the Galaxy S7 from using Google’s “adoptable storage,” a feature baked into Android 6.0 Marshmallow that allows a MicroSD card to be treated as internal storage. Instead, the MicroSD card is for media and some applications; so our music, movies and perhaps some data can happily be stored on the MicroSD card but not those heavyweight, demanding system applications. Still, the decision to only sell the 32 GB models is one that perhaps Samsung could change at some point in the future. If that ever happens, we will let you know.