Phone storage, or lack of it, is a cross many phone users have to carry these days. It is even more pronounced among heavy gamers who just have to download the latest HD game to their devices. Even with microSD cards, that can expand storage further, some still run of phone storage. Google is testing a feature that would help out with the lack enough phone storage.
According to Android Police, the testing of the feature started around the middle of last month. The interesting thing about this update is that it simplifies the job of freeing up phone storage space for you. The feature pops up when you try to download an app from Play Store. And, you don’t have enough space in your phone to accommodate the new app. The phone storage manager then pushes a notification informing you of the need to delete some apps. It then makes a list of apps it thinks you should delete. The apps are ranked in terms of how frequently you use them and size. So the most rarely used app are ranked first.
Here is where it gets interesting. If you agree to Play Store’s list of apps that should be deleted. You can just proceed to download the new app without actually deleting any app. The new feature does that. Automatically. And it would delete just enough apps to create room for the new app.
I have encountered these sort of problem with phone storage before. Mostly when trying to install stuff for other people. The problem becomes really tedious when you have to start looking in the phone’s storage for apps to delete. It could take a while. Now Google is telling you the new Play Store can intelligently curate these apps for you. And arrange them for you in order of least importance. Based on how much you use them. Neat I must say.
Phone Storage Problem in Low-end Phones
It is immediately clear that a feature like this would be good news for uses of low-end phones. Inadequate phone storage space is rarely a problem for users of expensive high-end phones. Especially, if the phones have the option of expanding the storage with an microSD card. Low end phones on the other hand tend to have smaller storage room. Which can quickly get filled up with large files like videos.
And since the proliferation of several Chinese OEMS making these phones, the low-end niche now dominates the mobile market with their aggressive marketing schemes. So a feature like this could see users in their millions immediately finding it useful.
Instant Apps vs New Play Store Feature
Instant apps, announced at the recently concluded Google I/O conference could be the long term solution to the phone storage problem. Instant apps works by downloading only a small part of the app to the phone. That is, the part absolutely required to run the app. The bulk of the app remains in cloud storage. This way, one can download for example, just 1% of a 100MB file (only 10MB) and still get to use the whole app.
However, the main problem with instant apps is the fact one needs to be online to run the app. This is where the new feature in Play Store trumps instant apps. Long term though, instant apps is the way to go. The advantages of not having to download the whole app to your phone storage are numerous. With instant apps, you can run hundreds of apps on your low-end phone without thinking of insufficient storage or slowing down your CPU.
For now though, the new feature is still in the testing phase and only a few selected people have access; a Google spokeswoman told the Work Street Journal. “We have no timetable to roll this out to all Google Play users globally,” she added.
photo credit: android.com