When is an SD card not an SD card?

General topics about the Archos G9 series if those topics don't fit in a specific model category below. Also discuss your ideas, suggestions, hopes, wishes, rumors, informations in here.
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bachastain
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When is an SD card not an SD card?

Post by bachastain »

It was suggested that I repost this to the general G9 forum since all G9 are set up the same way.

I'll try to be as brief as possible but I'm new to Android and this took me about 3 days to get this far.

Archos 101 G9 Turbo
Android 4.0 ICS
32 GB SDHC memory card

It started with the internal memory filling pretty quickly as I used the tablet. Turns out that the Camera app is storing my pictures and videos to the tablet's internal memory, not my SD card.

I've read that there should be an option in the Camera app that lets to configure whether it stores to internal memory or the SD card. This Camera app has no such option. It insists on storing to the rapidly depleting internal memory.

I've learned that the Camera app is storing pictures and videos to the tablet location /sdcard, which sure sounds like it should be the SD card. It's not. For some reason on this tablet, /sdcard really points to the internal memory so the pictures are ending up in /sdcard/dcim while the real SD card remains empty.

My guess, for whatever reason, Archos has decided to emulate an SD card within the internal memory, probably so the user doesn't need a physical SD card to use the various apps. Perhaps it also allowed Archos to not include a SD card in the box, saving them a couple of bucks.

Note that /mnt/storage and /mnt/data also points to the same emulated fake sd card.

So where is the real SD card in the file system? It turns out to be here: /mnt/sdcard which apparently no app uses. Looking there, I can see the test files I put there using a Windows card reader.

Ok, now the question. How can I undo this? How can I get the Camera to use the real SD card? Whatever file path Camera is using is not pointing to the real SD card.

I thought about trying to reformatting the SD card, but the Format function is missing from Settings -> Storage, even when the card is unmounted. It just ain't there. Again my guess is the Format function was confused by all these redirections and perhaps trying to reformat the internal memory, so they just disabled the function instead of fixing it.

Note that there are other apps also using the fake sd card, but I'm hoping that if I solve Camera it will fix the other apps too.

Thanks for any help!
Bruce.
marcel
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Re: When is an SD card not an SD card?

Post by marcel »

My tablet does the same, I simply move the images via my pc from the internal memory to the external SD card. I do the same for downloaded videos. This keeps the internal memory clear for when I need it.

It's not really a big deal for me, as I back up all my data on a regular basis.


marcel
bachastain
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Re: When is an SD card not an SD card?

Post by bachastain »

Unfortunately Camera is not the only app of concern so I was hoping there was some way of restoring the /sdcard back to the real SD Card so every app would be fixed. I have several apps and they all assume that /sdcard is the SD card. Go figure.

Bruce.
bachastain
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Re: When is an SD card not an SD card?

Post by bachastain »

I'm also sure this is confusing a lot of people and putting them at risk for loss of data, as what happened to me.

My first tablet had a problem so I got it replaced. By then I had lots of files, apps, and contacts, so I used My Backup Pro to back all that up to the SD card, or what My Backup Pro told me was the SD card.

I then removed the SD card, did a factory reset, and sent back the first one. It wasn't until I got the replacement that I discovered there was nothing useful on the SD card, all my data was lost, and I didn't know why until now.

No telling how many other people out there think they are saving stuff to the actual SD card, that are in for a rude awakening some day.

Bruce.
Ken S
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Re: When is an SD card not an SD card?

Post by Ken S »

They have to do this so that apps that are looking for an SD card find one even if there's no real SD card installed in the device.

It's confusing, but I believe it's an Android issue as the OS was never really setup to handle two separate storage locations.

This is also why the App to SD programs won't work with Archos.
bachastain
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Re: When is an SD card not an SD card?

Post by bachastain »

They're going to have to deal with it as Android continues to grow, and it's already well past time for them to do so. The Archos doesn't have 2 places to put pictures and videos, it has 3, because of the full size USB slot underneath.

Since the dawn of time application writers have been giving the users the choice of where to put save files. This is no different. It may have been ok to assume where when there was only 1 place, but that is far from true anymore.

Archos can now store to the fake SD card (internal memory), micro SD card, or the external USB storage device.

If Archos must give us a fake SD card, then give us a way to change where the pictures/videos/files go.

Bruce.
Nigel
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Re: When is an SD card not an SD card?

Post by Nigel »

bachastain wrote:If Archos must give us a fake SD card...
It is not Archos that are doing this, but Google. All Honeycomb and ICS tablets and phones have this feature, I believe. I wonder if it is present in Android 4.1?
G9 80 8GB 1.0GHz, firmware 4.0.28
bachastain
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Re: When is an SD card not an SD card?

Post by bachastain »

I don't know whether Archos can do anything about it, but I'd bet yes. There's information on the web about how to do it on a rooted device, but I'm not comfortable with rooting my tablet.

As for ICS, I know that isn't entirely true because I own 2 HTC EVO 3D ICS 4.0 phones and neither one uses the phone internal storage for the sdcard file path. Unlike the tablet, both these point to exactly the same place, the physical SD card.

/sdcard
/mnt/sdcard

For the tablet, only /mnt/sdcard points to the actual card, which unfortunately not the path the apps generally use, though they could if that option was added to the app.

I only wish the SD card on the phones were more convenient to get too. HTC mounted the micro-SDHC card behind the battery.

Anyway, I think that demonstrates that not all ICS devices are plagued by this problem.

Bruce.
Nigel
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Re: When is an SD card not an SD card?

Post by Nigel »

Thanks for the info about the HTC phone, Bruce. One problem the Archos G9 models have is that, unlike the phone you mention, the card can be removed without rebooting the system (and it can even be removed, accidentally or otherwise, without informing the software first). This could cause problems if running an application that resides on the card, or which keeps critical info on the card! This might be acting as a disincentive to Archos to resolving the problem.

(Of course, this only applies to the flash models; the HDD in the other models is not removable, and it might be sensible for Archos to find a way to make it easy for apps to run from there, or store their data there. However, they then run into the problem of having the application stutter if the disk needs to be spun up, which will reflect badly on the reputation of the product.)
G9 80 8GB 1.0GHz, firmware 4.0.28
bachastain
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Re: When is an SD card not an SD card?

Post by bachastain »

Yeah, that's a danger associated with any removable storage. If we needed to make it design bullet-proof, any removable storage including SD cards and USB thumb/hard drives would never have gotten of the drawing board, both Android and Windows.

Like Windows, Anroid has an "Unmount SD card" function which the user is supposed to use first before physically removing it. If they choose not to, the results will always be undefined.

One interesting note is that my HTC phones, despite the buried SD card, still have the Android "Unmount SD card" function in the menu.

Bruce.
mls
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Re: When is an SD card not an SD card?

Post by mls »

People really do need to start understanding that tablets simply work different from smartphones. Many manufacturers totally avoided this problem by simply not having any microSD card slot on their tablets at all.

Has anybody bothered to notice how Apple did not put a card slot on even their newest iPad? They knew people would not know or understand how to work with a card, so they totally avoided even given users that option. How's that for some real "innovative" thinking eh?
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bachastain
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Re: When is an SD card not an SD card?

Post by bachastain »

However I would define worst of all cases is for the manufacturer to include a functional SD card slot and then virtually cripple it in the software. Can't get more user hostile than that. Make them pay for the hardware but make sure they can't find anything useful to do with it.

Bruce.
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Re: When is an SD card not an SD card?

Post by viking »

Hardly crippled... ive had sdcards in archos for years and cant remember being blocked from any attempted use of the card. Oh, i had an epub reading problem until someone suggested fbreader app. Before gen 9 the appspace was in such short supply that you wouldnt want every app to bloat with conditional checking to see if the sdcard had ejected or whatever. Seems like they got the the most common uses covered, and having sdcard is a must when i shop for tablets.
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Nigel
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Re: When is an SD card not an SD card?

Post by Nigel »

bachastain wrote:However I would define worst of all cases is for the manufacturer to include a functional SD card slot and then virtually cripple it in the software. Can't get more user hostile than that.
Agreed. Fortunately Archos do not seem to have gone this route.

I have used the microSD card slot for (among other things) music, videos, pictures, ebooks, html files, and PDFs. The built-in apps have no trouble playing files from there, and the standard file manager can move stuff to and from there. Admittedly, many apps don't allow you to tell them to store data there, but a lot seem to cope if you move the files there 'by hand'. When on holiday I no longer need to take my laptop to be able to view and archive photos off my camera: the G9 does all that for me, as well as acting as my web browser, mail manager, book reader, music player and video player. Although the screen quality and build quality do not give the G9 the pizzazz of some other tablets, the price, form factor and connectivity (OTG-capable micro-USB socket, full-sized USB socket, wan, bluetooth, standard headphone jack, hdmi, a-GPS) mean it ticks the boxes I need -though there obviously room for improvement (such as a microphone socket, support for more bluetooth protocols, and the ability to work better with third-party chargers). Other people have different priorities, and (judging by other posts on this forum) later editions of the device seem to suffer more from build problems or compatibility issues, so my opinion is a personal one, based on my experience of my tablet, and my pattern of use.
G9 80 8GB 1.0GHz, firmware 4.0.28
kevh1971
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Re: When is an SD card not an SD card?

Post by kevh1971 »

Try this.....

Go into files

You should see an option for sd card & internal storage.

There should be a list of folders. For the camera option. Mine is in DCIM Click on that.... you should see camera
.... click on camera & the list of your photos or videos should be there.

Simply can drag & drop folders. Also copy & paste them.

The same goes for taking screenshot. You just need to find the album in FILES


Took me days figure out but hope this helps people

Just purchased archos xenon 70b

Learning slowly but getting there. Will try post more tips
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