"A small percentage of buyers want a storage expansion slot," Mainelli said.
Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, offered a contrary view. "I don't believe local storage [and SD cards] are going away anytime soon," he said. "Vendors that don't have an SD expansion slot on their devices are using the cloud as a way to spin for why they don't have the slot."
Gold said as a practical matter that users are not going to want to store too many data-laden movies in the cloud, and possibly pay for that service. "Not everything will end up in the cloud," he said. "Why do I want to store a bunch of films I am going to view on my flight to California in the cloud? I'd rather simply side load them through the expansion slot. To my way of thinking, that's a lot easier than waiting for a cloud upload/download session. "
"So, not everything should go into the cloud -- only the stuff I deem important enough to store long term and don't have to pay for or doesn't make it painful to download," Gold added.
Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said consumer tablet buyers will prefer having an SD card slot as long as the tablet doesnt become too thick to accommodate it. So, there can be trade-offs with other tablet features.
Who's right? The storage expansion slot debate will continue for some time.
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