Moto E, Micromax Unite: With low-cost Androids, limited memory means limited use

Mihir Patkar Posted online: Monday, Jun 02, 2014 at 0000 hrs
Mumbai : There are quite a few low-cost Androids releasing in India, all of them priced around the Rs. 7,000 mark. But all of them — be it the Moto E, Micromax Unite or Lava X1— come with only 4GB of internal memory and that bottleneck makes it a no-go for many users.

With smartphones that cost Rs. 10,000 or more, internal memory is uncompromisable. But when the cost goes lower, 4GB is all you get so it’s not a question of compromising, it’s all there is. And soon enough, you will see the dreaded message when an app can’t be installed: “Insufficient storage available.”

Why is 4GB not enough? There is a microSD slot after all

The Moto E runs on Android 4.4 KitKat, and with this new version of the operating system, Google has changed the rules for how apps can be installed on your external storage. Without getting into too much jargon, here’s what you need to know: some developers can choose to make apps specifically for KitKat which can easily be installed on the Play Store. However, that’s not something most of the popular apps on the Play Store have right now, including the likes of Whatsapp, Dropbox and more.

Also, apps that come preloaded on your phone cannot be moved to the external storage. And this means that any update that the app gets will also be installed on your internal memory. Use it for a few months and that size quickly bloats up. Why, even with just a week of usage, the Google+ app had ballooned to 55.48MB while Google Search was clocking in at 38.18MB.

While apps are limited, the microSD card can be used to store and access all your media, be it the photos and videos you shoot or the music and movies you want to watch.

Is there a workaround?

Yes and no. The workaround for this limitation currently involves rooting your smartphone and then installing an app called SDFix, which lets apps be installed to external storage. However, rooting your phone is not something we recommend unless you know what you are doing.

We do recommend you install AppMgr III (App 2 SD), even if your phone is not rooted. This tool analyzes all the apps installed on your Android and tells you which ones can be moved to the SD card. In fact, whenever you install a new app or game, it will prompt you to move it to the SD card if the app allows for it. It’s simple enough for you to do it without much worry.

There are two things you need to be aware of with moving apps to the external storage. First, these apps won’t work when you connect your phone to the PC and switch on storage mode. Second, the widgets of any app will not work when moved.

So are the Moto E, Micromax Unite and others useless?

Not at all! They are just limited in what they can be used for, and it’s important to know this limitation because that’s how you can decide whether such a phone is for you or not.

If you are someone who likes to try out new apps, play a lot of games, use several widgets, or are a general power user, then these phones are not worth it for you. They just won’t deliver the experience you are looking for.

If you are someone who just wants the basics—calls, SMS, email, WhatsApp, browsing, etc.—then the 4GB limitation is something you probably won’t mind because you are unlikely to install enough new apps or games to be affected by it. However, do note that every 6 months or so, you will see an error saying you are running out of storage space. Don’t worry though, this is usually just cache built up on your phone, so run have to clean your phone’s cache. It’s easy to remove that junk with 1Tap Eraser. And if the problem is still not solved, run DiskUsage to see what’s taking up the most amount of memory and delete it.