“Infinite” phone storage thanks to Gigabit LTE
It’s a familiar problem for many smartphone users. The dreaded words “storage full,” followed by the realisation that those holiday videos you’ve just filmed are probably going to have to be sacrificed in order to free up some space.
Smartphones that can capture 4K video might preserve those treasured memories in pristine quality, but as a result the strain on storage space is intensifying. Each generation of smartphone has been expanding its storage capacity to meet user demand for more media and the latest apps. Suddenly, 16GB entry-level smartphones just aren’t cutting the mustard any more.
Multimedia heads to the cloud
Now, thanks to Gigabit LTE, the need for internal storage space is quickly diminishing. With peak download speeds of 1,000Mbits/sec, made possible by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Gigabit LTE modem found in phones like the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, why store all your music, photos and videos on your device when they can be accessed from the cloud just as fast?
Pair up Gigabit LTE with a service like Google Photos, Dropbox or OneDrive, and you immediately have an extension of your smartphone’s internal storage. Herein lies the hook for remote storage: uploading your photos and videos directly to the cloud will free up capacity, while the lightning-fast Gigabit LTE connection means getting to them quickly isn’t a problem. Whether you’re watching a video that’s stored internally or in the cloud, you won’t be left twiddling your thumbs.
The cloud was once seen as a place to back up the contents of your phone – now it’s poised to become the default location to save files, with local storage the secondary option. Another huge advantage is that when it’s time to upgrade your handset, every video and photo you’ve ever taken will be accessible through your cloud account. Just turn on your new phone and you’re ready to go.
Clearing a smartphone of storage-swallowing multimedia is one thing, but what happens when it comes to apps? Update-by-update, apps like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp inflate, while mobile games boasting increasingly sophisticated graphics will lead to further capacity woes.
According to SensorTower, Snapchat users have seen the biggest recent leap in file sizes – back in 2013 the social messaging app took up around 4MB of space, now in 2017 it needs roughly 203MB. That’s an eye-watering 4,975% increase in app size.
Loading apps in the blink of an eye
All this could soon be a thing of the past thanks to Android Instant Apps. Unveiled at last year’s Google I/O, it allows users to get everything they need from an app without the time-consuming installation and loading process – just head to the Google Play Store, look for an app with an “Instant” icon and execute it directly from there. These streamlined versions load up as quickly as a mobile web page and, crucially, will ease the burden on your smartphone’s storage capacity.
A case in point is video-sharing app Vimeo. Ordinarily it needs 15MB to install directly, but in its reduced form it’s now a lean 4MB (the maximum file size for an Instant App). It’s not just users seeing the benefit, these lightweight apps are proving popular with developers, too. Buoyed by its Instant App launch in May 2017, Vimeo has seen session duration more than double in length with a 130% increase.
Jon Sheldrick, Vimeo’s Director of Product Management, revealed that the service’s Instant App has also helped boost the overall user base.
“The process of getting a user from mobile web into a native app for the first time is an antiquated experience that is ripe for disruption,” he said. “Instant Apps is the first technology to address this issue head-on, and the results have been fantastic. We have seen a 20% month over month increase in total native app users.”
Similarly, the New York Times Crossword Android app has seen “spectacular” results, with its number of sessions doubling since launching an Instant App in May. The faster loading means less waiting around and more time for wordsmiths to spend on a mental workout.
“We’re extremely excited about the potential of Instant Apps to reduce friction at the top of the funnel. This will change how we approach mobile acquisition, which is a key driver of growth,” said Fred Dintenfass, Senior Games Marketing Manager at the New York Times.
“Based on early results, we expect far more efficient acquisition, conversion and improved long-term retention. Results so far have been spectacular, and we’re looking forward to seeing more.”
Gigabit LTE could end up saving you money
Speed of access to apps and files in the cloud isn’t the only advantage to Gigabit LTE – the technology might actually end up saving you money, too. With the squeeze on internal storage no longer an issue, will there be any need to buy a pricey 256GB handset if the only locally-installed essential is the operating system?
Even if handset manufacturers continue to produce high capacity smartphones, if you’re forward thinking enough to see that Gigabit LTE can deliver fast and nearly unlimited storage, you can choose the phone with the basic storage option and still save yourself some cash.
The tools we use to access, store and maintain our digital lives are quickly evolving, and as a result those ominous words “storage full” may not be bothering us for much longer.