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Old November 18th, 2011, 02:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default USB Mass Storage

For those that read Engadget's initial review it said that the Galaxy Nexus does not support USB mass storage mode, but rather only MTP and PTP (media transfer protocols).

Check out this thread and quote about what that means and what to expect. First quote has a basic explanation of USB mass storage mode for your information.

Quote:
ICS supports USB Mass Storage (UMS). The Galaxy Nexus does not. This is the same scenario as Honeycomb, as for instance HC supports USB Mass Storage while Xoom does not.

If a given device has a removable SD card it will support USB Mass Storage. If it has only built-in storage (like Xoom and Galaxy Nexus) it will (usually) support only MTP and PTP.

It isn't physically possible to support UMS on devices that don't have a dedicated partition for storage (like a removable SD card, or a separate partition like Nexus S.) This is because UMS is a block-level protocol that gives the host PC direct access to the physical blocks on the storage, so that Android cannot have it mounted at the same time.

With the unified storage model we introduced in Honeycomb, we share your full 32GB (or 16GB or whatever) between app data and media data. That is, no more staring sadly at your 5GB free on Nexus S when your internal app data partition has filled up -- it's all one big happy volume.

However the cost is that Android can no longer ever yield up the storage for the host PC to molest directly over USB. Instead we use MTP. On Windows (which the majority of users use), it has built-in MTP support in Explorer that makes it look exactly like a disk. On Linux and Mac it's sadly not as easy, but I have confidence that we'll see some work to make this better.

On the whole it's a much better experience on the phone.
Impromptu Q&A Session With Android Engineer Dan Morrill Brings To Light Reasons Behind Galaxy Nexus' Lack Of USB Mass Storage

Quote:
PC-accessible storage is there, it's just not "USB mass storage" (by name). It's over MTP (Media Transfer Protocol). Basically the Galaxy Nexus, because there's no SD card, will let the /sdcard directory be accessible over USB.

As a user you will never see any of it. As a user, what you'll see is that it works exactly the same as before, except that you are using MTP instead of USB Mass Storage.
On Windows, this is pretty close to indistinguishable. On other platforms it's unfortunately a bit of a hoop to jump through at the moment. But that should hopefully change as people improve software like libmtp and mtpfuse.
Reddit thread: Whoa, whoa. ICS doesn't support USB mass storage? : Android

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Old November 18th, 2011, 03:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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So Ill be able to plug in my phone to the computer and still transfer files right?
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Old November 18th, 2011, 04:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Oh, wow, major bummer. Guess i'll have to return that box of USB sticks and micro USB adapters & cables I bought. :P

Sooooo... he makes a big deal of being able to plug this into a PC and read/write to it like a USB thumb drive. Is that new for Android? I just took for granted that this was sort of function to be expected.
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Old November 18th, 2011, 05:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Bummer, google has always had really good support for other operating systems. Hopefully there is something for linux and chrome os soon.
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Old November 18th, 2011, 06:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speede541 View Post
Oh, wow, major bummer. Guess i'll have to return that box of USB sticks and micro USB adapters & cables I bought. :P

Sooooo... he makes a big deal of being able to plug this into a PC and read/write to it like a USB thumb drive. Is that new for Android? I just took for granted that this was sort of function to be expected.

Not new, just new way of doing it, used to u had to put it in USB mass storage mode and the phone couldn't use the sdcard while it was like that, sounds like this fixes that
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Old November 19th, 2011, 04:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Ive been trying to transfer some photos for a while now. It copied 4 and wont do any more... i can see it as a drive and open files on it, but i cant transfer photos to the picture folder.... odd maybe a bug?
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Old November 19th, 2011, 04:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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i've transferred a fair few files over to mine from an xp machine and my macbook pro and it's been fine for me. seen a few people complain about it being slow but i haven't noticed it.
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Old November 19th, 2011, 05:30 AM   #8 (permalink)
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No matter what i do i cant copy paste my old photos. Its driving me nuts. The only way to get them is via picasa...

I have transferred some pdf files no problem.... but photos just kill it.

Edit: just dropped the entire folder and its working. But selecting 400 photos and copy pating them kills explorer on win 7.
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Old November 20th, 2011, 04:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm having problems transferring files over to my GN. I'm using Windows 7 and it fails all the time!

Help!
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Old November 20th, 2011, 05:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Over on xda some people are finding ptp transfer works better than mtp - on windows.

Linux / chrome / mac is going to be fiddly.
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Old November 20th, 2011, 11:13 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Question - so I have all my apps backed up via Titanium Backup on my SD card. I can transfer the folder onto my computer. Then I can plug my nexus in, and put the folder on my nexus right? Or not? Since google removed USB mass storage, how can you put random files on the phone?
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Old November 20th, 2011, 11:27 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Galaxy Nexus: Enable USB Debugging | Technipages

answer here
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Old November 21st, 2011, 08:08 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droidfan1 View Post
Question - so I have all my apps backed up via Titanium Backup on my SD card. I can transfer the folder onto my computer. Then I can plug my nexus in, and put the folder on my nexus right? Or not? Since google removed USB mass storage, how can you put random files on the phone?
Even though you answered your own question below, yes you can still do this.

The point of this post was to calm down the people who think disabling USB Mass Storage means they cannot hook their phones to the computer and transfer files.

You can still do this except it goes over a different protocol, that's it.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 09:23 AM   #14 (permalink)
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This is still aggravating news for Mac and Linux users.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 01:55 PM   #15 (permalink)
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This is still aggravating news for Mac and Linux users.

Why?
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Old November 21st, 2011, 02:27 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Why?
Neither Mac nor Linux have ootb support for mtp - microsoft tranport protocol is a proprietary windows thing (I think ptp is a variant).

Google provide a utility for mac users, no help for linux users.

Other than the SAV this is the thing making me consider buying some other phone.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 02:39 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Neither Mac nor Linux have ootb support for mtp - microsoft tranport protocol is a proprietary windows thing (I think ptp is a variant).

Google provide a utility for mac users, no help for linux users.

Other than the SAV this is the thing making me consider buying some other phone.
Linux support seems to be relatively easy though.

But yeah it is frustrating for non-Windows users.

[Q] MTP on linux Ubuntu [Archive] - xda-developers
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Old November 21st, 2011, 09:31 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Linux support seems to be relatively easy though.

But yeah it is frustrating for non-Windows users.
I saw that and it may provide a solution but many of the follow up posts are along the lines of 'doesn't work for me' or 'works intermittently'.

Over at the ubuntu forums some report it works consistently with xcfe but not with gnome; I don't want to change my desktop manager just so I can connect to my phone.

I've found several other suggested solutions, including setting up a ssh server and using adb push - one bloke has written an adb gui file manager but says it's a bit rough...

not doubt I will eventually be able to get files on to the phone but I resent having to spend time setting up something I expected to work straight ootb.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 12:25 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Definitely disappointing that i can't just plug the GN into my desktop and access the files. Hopefully this will get cleared up soon. This was always one of favorite things about Android. Not needing to tinker with drivers or anything on my Linux machine
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 12:33 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I'm by no means an expert on this, but i just plugged mine in, opened the folded and dropped 7 gigs of music, some wallpapers, some photos and the first season of family guy no problem
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 12:46 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I'm by no means an expert on this, but i just plugged mine in, opened the folded and dropped 7 gigs of music, some wallpapers, some photos and the first season of family guy no problem
I'm assuming you are referring to a galaxy nexus. But the important thing is what OS is your desktop runnin?g
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 02:42 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I'm assuming you are referring to a galaxy nexus. But the important thing is what OS is your desktop runnin?g
Yes the nexus, Windows 7 service pack 1
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 06:28 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Yes the nexus, Windows 7 service pack 1
And as stated before in this thread, MTP is a proprietary Microsoft protocol so of course it works OOTB on Windows. But not so on Mac and Linux. We have to turn to third party libraries and/or applications with questionable support.

As a long time Linux user and Nexus One owner, this is very disappointing.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 06:58 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Seems the other solution is phone on WiFi and FTP into the phone for Linux users -- just a thought.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 02:17 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I suppose I can use ssh to scp files over, or even use FUSE to mount the filesystem over ssh. Apparently, ICS fully supports USB mode -- it's just the Galaxy Nexus' design does not permit it due to no separate micro SD card. :/
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 02:38 PM   #26 (permalink)
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ES File Explorer on the Android side can mount samba/windows shares and you can cut/copy and paste folders/files between the two.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 02:44 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motm95 View Post
the Galaxy Nexus' design does not permit it due to no separate micro SD card. :/
This is not true. Wish people would stop repeating it - it was dispelled even by Google themselves, in the link in the OP and right in the quoted section. The Nexus S had no separate SD card and still supported mass storage.

The reason they do not support Mass Storage mode is so that there doesn't have to be one fixed partition size for storage, and one fixed partition size for apps. They are able to be used as one block of storage so you won't have a bunch of empty space on one partition while the other one fills up.

This is smart design, IMO, but it's a choice, not a requirement of no SD card. I'd prefer a removable SD card, but since there is no SD card, I'd rather give up mass storage mode and not have a big dedicated partition for apps that has lots of empty space.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 02:49 PM   #28 (permalink)
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This is not true. Wish people would stop repeating it - it was dispelled even by Google themselves, in the link in the OP and right in the quoted section. The Nexus S had no separate SD card and still supported mass storage.

The reason they do not support Mass Storage mode is so that there doesn't have to be one fixed partition size for storage, and one fixed partition size for apps. They are able to be used as one block of storage so you won't have a bunch of empty space on one partition while the other one fills up.

This is smart design, IMO, but it's a choice, not a requirement of no SD card. I'd prefer a removable SD card, but since there is no SD card, I'd rather give up mass storage mode and not have a big dedicated partition for apps that has lots of empty space.
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ES File Explorer on the Android side can mount samba/windows shares and you can cut/copy and paste folders/files between the two.
Exactly -- you can have USB mass storage mode with a separate storage partition OR separate SD card.

Quote:
It isn't physically possible to support UMS on devices that don't have a dedicated partition for storage (like a removable SD card, or a separate partition like Nexus S.)
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 02:57 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Yevs View Post
Ive been trying to transfer some photos for a while now. It copied 4 and wont do any more... i can see it as a drive and open files on it, but i cant transfer photos to the picture folder.... odd maybe a bug?
i get this on my two computers, both have previously had kies installed and a SGS2. i think this maybe the driver issue.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 03:09 PM   #30 (permalink)
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<snip>The reason they do not support Mass Storage mode is so that there doesn't have to be one fixed partition size for storage, and one fixed partition size for apps. They are able to be used as one block of storage so you won't have a bunch of empty space on one partition while the other one fills up.
Okay, I stand corrected on the reason.

Quote:
This is smart design, IMO, but it's a choice, not a requirement of no SD card. I'd prefer a removable SD card, but since there is no SD card, I'd rather give up mass storage mode and not have a big dedicated partition for apps that has lots of empty space.
Somewhat disagree. It may be a smart design for the masses, for the same reason many Linux installers default to dumping everything into one root partition. But, given the fact the Galaxy Nexus is a reference device, it would have been much more preferable to either (a) provide the separate SD card, (b) allocate the separate partitions like your Nexus S did, or (c) providing a utility to allow the user to partition the internal storage in a manner they desire.

I think the lack of USB mass storage is a MAJOR hindrance to the utility of the device for non-Windows users.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 03:14 PM   #31 (permalink)
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So who else has trouble copying data onto the phone
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 03:43 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
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And as stated before in this thread, MTP is a proprietary Microsoft protocol so of course it works OOTB on Windows.
The USB Implementers Forum device working group standardized MTP as a fully fledged Universal Serial Bus (USB) device class in May 2008. MTP is since then, an official extension to PTP and shares the same class code.

So not so much a Windows-only feature.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 04:18 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Quote:
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...given the fact the Galaxy Nexus is a reference device, it would have been much more preferable to either (a) provide the separate SD card, (b) allocate the separate partitions like your Nexus S did, or (c) providing a utility to allow the user to partition the internal storage in a manner they desire.
My take is Google felt higher importance was to "clean up" certain rough aspects of Android -- we see the that in numerous changes -- and file system partitions was one of them. As a reference device, they're holding it up as a vision of how their OS should be utilized, and that they sided with ease of use at the expense of flexibility. I suppose they could have implemented your option "C" -- but who knows, maybe they did and it just needs to be flushed out?
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 05:41 PM   #34 (permalink)
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In theory maybe not but to date the implementation is rough under mac and linux.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 06:32 PM   #35 (permalink)
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My take is Google felt higher importance was to "clean up" certain rough aspects of Android -- we see the that in numerous changes -- and file system partitions was one of them.
This. They wanted to clean it up and that's a reason for not having the SD card. They wanted all the apps in the same place as data so they could read it faster and more efficiently. They want to "clean up" the process and not make users have to choose whether they want to store stuff internally and externally.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 09:42 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Why?
Currently I am able to plug my Droid to my desktop or laptop and viola, transfer files instantly as the phone shows up as an SD card. Now you will need an app to do so on a mac - Android File Transfer app.

Sure you can say no big deal, but the fact remains, it is another step & app required that was not before and you now must access via the app rather than just the file browser like it was an SD card.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 10:10 PM   #37 (permalink)
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I'll take faster read/write times while using the device over worrying about having to use an app to transfer files once every couple of months. Chances are that I'll transfer my photos and music from my commuter to my sd card and never transfer files again. I wish my Linux desktop supported MTP better but that's hardly a knock against Android.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 10:46 PM   #38 (permalink)
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I pull down podcasts with a bash script on my Linux box and rsync them over to my Nexus One's SD card that is mounted on the filesystem. I won't be able to do that with the GN. I am sure there are podcatchers available in the Market but I don't want to have to change my system that works perfectly well for me. I also frequently use my phone to transfer large files that won't fit in my Dropbox to and from work. There are many other use cases for when having an easily mountable filesystem is advantageous.

I get that they are trying to simplify the filesystem (or dumb it down, depending on your perspective). I get that this was a design choice. It's just a disappointing decision for power users IMHO. Not saying I won't get the GN but it's a bummer.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 05:37 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Linux has MTP libraries available to make it act just like a mounted filesystem. I haven't used a desktop version of linux in a few years but a couple of the developers at work have MTP devices and libraries that let them mount it like a drive. Google seems to agree with that.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 06:33 AM   #40 (permalink)
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I pull down podcasts with a bash script on my Linux box and rsync them over to my Nexus One's SD card that is mounted on the filesystem. I won't be able to do that with the GN. I am sure there are podcatchers available in the Market but I don't want to have to change my system that works perfectly well for me. I also frequently use my phone to transfer large files that won't fit in my Dropbox to and from work. There are many other use cases for when having an easily mountable filesystem is advantageous.

I get that they are trying to simplify the filesystem (or dumb it down, depending on your perspective). I get that this was a design choice. It's just a disappointing decision for power users IMHO. Not saying I won't get the GN but it's a bummer.
Why not browse the phone via an FTP client over WiFi then? That was a solution posted over at XDA -- makes a ton of sense.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 08:47 AM   #41 (permalink)
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My guess is that Google is going to eventually make an app - such as iTunes - but for android instead of an iPod. Say, "Android Control Center" where you can transfer files and such easier than Android File Manager. Something where you can buy music/videos/books/movies, but also transfer any file easily.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 09:46 AM   #42 (permalink)
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My guess is that Google is going to eventually make an app - such as iTunes - but for android instead of an iPod. Say, "Android Control Center" where you can transfer files and such easier than Android File Manager. Something where you can buy music/videos/books/movies, but also transfer any file easily.

That sounds like iTunes and a key reason a lot of people prefer Android in the first place. Drag and drop with NO interface gate.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 12:44 PM   #43 (permalink)
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That sounds like iTunes and a key reason a lot of people prefer Android in the first place. Drag and drop with NO interface gate.
True. But then why get rid of USB Mass Storage?
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 12:57 PM   #44 (permalink)
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USB Mass Storage still exists in ICS, just not in the Galaxy Nexus.

The Android Engineer's posts quoted in the Engaget article spell it out, but basically it's physically impossible to have USB Mass Storage unless you have a separate partition for it. And with multipile partitions, you neccessitate file management, which Google wants to get away from.

The idea is apps should manage files, not users. Music apps should know where music is, and there's no need for the user to move that music around. Likewise, if a user does move that data, now every app needs code so the user can tell the app where the data is (OS partition or the USB-enabled partition). It adds complexity for users, developers, and has other negatives like tying the OS to use the miserable FAT32 filesystem.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 01:07 PM   #45 (permalink)
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True. But then why get rid of USB Mass Storage?
I am a fan of mass storage and so are most folks here, but seems Google is not a fan and doing what they can to force people to clouds, on capped data plans.

Google needs to be careful, since key differentiators for them are being taken away by others- and by Google.

If they start acting like Apple, that only helps Apple..... Have Apple people infiltrated Google? .........
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 01:21 PM   #46 (permalink)
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What I don't understand is if Google want's to get rid of all this, why do it from the beginning? I mean, Mass Storage was a huge win from Android to iOS. Now its becoming more and more of everything that we didn't want (well I don't). MTP will NEVER be as useful as storage, mass storage is universal, pretty much anything can read/write from it with lil to no problems and its etxremely easy to use. I agree with making your own partition or having at least 16GB of having its own partition and having an option of being able to use an SD for multimedia uses or transferring random files. Apps could stay in a 16GB internal format with an SD option.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 04:24 PM   #47 (permalink)
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I'll take faster read/write times while using the device over worrying about having to use an app to transfer files once every couple of months. Chances are that I'll transfer my photos and music from my commuter to my sd card and never transfer files again. I wish my Linux desktop supported MTP better but that's hardly a knock against Android.
Exactly. It's easy to say they're going apple, and as a linux user myself I love the standard interface, but this changes had a purpose. On my incredible there is 8gb of "wasted" space called emmc memory, plus an sd card. I say wasted because no apps except for the stock camera use it. Meanwhile I only have 1gb for apps and like 128mb of space for /data/data and my sd card is full. Running apps and saving pictures to the sd card slows things down. Internal memory is better, but nothing is setup to use it. So they make it all internal and spoof the sd card. Seems like a good compromise to me. Sd card is nice, but not necessary.
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Old November 24th, 2011, 08:11 AM   #48 (permalink)
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Default Interface with 2012 GMC Terrain

My GMC Terrain has a USB port in the console that links to the vehicle's stock (Pioneer) touchscreen sound system. The system reads the USB like any other input (AM, FM, CD, XM). In fact, it reads my iPod like a dream... all functionality is present in the vehicles control system for the iPod as well as album art, song title, etc. However, when i try to mount my Droid 2, the souns sytem cant read it (am hoping its some sort of older OS issue). I was hoping the GNex would solve this problem and i could finally divorce Apple altogether. Given the no mass torage of the GNex... can anyone think of a work around, or am i better off looking more closely at the RZR?
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Old November 24th, 2011, 11:10 AM   #49 (permalink)
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Doubt it, it probably is setup for iphone and that's it. Even though android is more popular we still get treated like linux. Also keep in mind vehicle manufacturers are always a little behind the curve. Does it have bluetooth?
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Old November 24th, 2011, 11:36 AM   #50 (permalink)
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And as stated before in this thread, MTP is a proprietary Microsoft protocol so of course it works OOTB on Windows. But not so on Mac and Linux. We have to turn to third party libraries and/or applications with questionable support.

As a long time Linux user and Nexus One owner, this is very disappointing.
If you use ubuntu (hardy or newer):

sudo apt-get install mtpfs

Where's the disappointment? As a "long time" linux user you should be used to use the terminal once in a while.. i remember when I had to compile a graphical ui, because linux didn't have one ootb..
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