Starting June 2021, 15GB of storage will be available for free, beyond which you will need to pony up. So, as the busy days of free data storage are nearing its end, what is the most cost-effective way to store photos and files from your smartphone? Should I keep uploading snaps to the cloud or save them to my computer? Do I have to pay for the larger hard drive of my device or do I have to think about an external hard drive?
Let’s start with a smartphone. The memory is Apple Inc. And Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. This is where companies like this actually make money. There is an additional $ 100 for every 128GB of memory you add to your iPhone or Galaxy. Both of the latest iterations are available up to 512GB. This is much higher than the cost of either manufacturer. A NAND flash memory chip of similar size is only $ 1.66 at a recent price. It’s certainly a very healthy gross rate of return.
Google, on the other hand, only offers Pixel handsets with 128GB of memory. It all worked when the company allowed unlimited data to be stored in the cloud for free. But now it’s worth thinking about your options. How much does the cloud set you back? Leading consumer cloud providers such as Apple’s iCloud, Google One, Microsoft OneDrive, and Dropbox Inc. are almost in line with recent prices. For 200 GB you can expect to pay $ 2.99 per month, and for 2 terabytes it will be $ 9.99.
Americans change their smartphones on average every 33 months, so purchasing an additional 200 GB of storage each month will result in a device lifespan of $ 98.97. Choosing an iPhone with 256 GB of memory adds $ 200 to the price, which is significantly cheaper than buying a smartphone with more memory first. Of course, the longer you hold your phone, the cheaper it will be than cloud storage.
How about giving up additional phone storage and backing up your handset to your computer on a regular basis? If you’re a fan of Apple, backing up your iPhone to your Macbook won’t save you a penny. An additional memory option for your company laptop is the same cost per gigabyte as for the iPhone. In some cases, it will be even more expensive.
But you can start saving money with external hard drives and thumb drives. Western Digital Corp. The unit SanDisk’s 256GB thumb drive costs only $ 32.49. Based on the cost per gigabyte, it kicks others out of the park: smartphones and laptops are worth 78 cents per extra gigabyte. The cloud provider will charge 49 cents. The average external hard drive is only 15 cents (1).
The problem is that using an external hard drive is really annoying. Normally, you need to upload the file to your computer and from there to your drive. You will not be able to access them again until you return to your computer.
However, there are two better options. Some smartphone makers, especially Samsung, can add memory in the form of a MicroSD card. At an average of 19 cents per gigabyte, it’s slightly more expensive than an external drive and is extremely easy to use.
Another option is Amazon.com Inc, which allows you to store unlimited photos online for free. However, there is a risk that e-commerce giants may follow Google’s initiative. This is a type of bait-and-switch that antitrust authorities are beginning to scrutinize, and tech giants are offering free enough time to squeeze out small rivals and take customers. Seems like, but then raises the price once in the field. At times, cheaper prices do not always benefit customers in the long run.
(1) Based on the cost per gigabyte of 256GB smartphone memory compared to the average of 200GB cloud storage and 256GB external hard drive or thumb drive.
This column does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion Columnist covering the European technology, media and telecommunications industry. He previously featured Apple and other tech companies on Bloomberg News in San Francisco.