View Full Version : 4GB Limit of FAT32 cards on Android systems


mgmueller
11-03-2010, 03:19 PM
Memory cards on Android systems have a limit of 4GB per file.
For eBooks of course that's no problem.:rolleyes:
But for multimedia it's a huge disadvantage to iPhone or iPad for example.
Some may say, you can convert multimedia files and lower resolution files still will look fine...
Anyway...what's your solution for that?
The only solution I've found in some forum: Zipping into portions below 4GB, copying to the card and then unzipping. Not really a solution, in my opinion - way to time-consuming.
I've read about converting the card into some Linux format, Ext3 or something like that...Even worse...
Any tips?

Sorry for asking a not eBook related question here, but I find lots of experience in this forum...

twobits
11-03-2010, 03:27 PM
Memory cards on Android systems have a limit of 4GB per file.
For eBooks of course that's no problem.:rolleyes:
But for multimedia it's a huge disadvantage to iPhone or iPad for example.
Some may say, you can convert multimedia files and lower resolution files still will look fine...
Anyway...what's your solution for that?
The only solution I've found in some forum: Zipping into portions below 4GB, copying to the card and then unzipping. Not really a solution, in my opinion - way to time-consuming.
I've read about converting the card into some Linux format, Ext3 or something like that...Even worse...
Any tips?

Sorry for asking a not eBook related question here, but I find lots of experience in this forum...

It is not a limit of memory cards on Android but a limit of the FAT32 file system itself. The `solution` usually is to split the files into parts and have
the software know to glue it back together again for you.

Ext3 is another filesystem, why is that 'even worse'? The BSD FFS would also work, as would NTFS. Of course the linux kernel needs to be built to support those file sytems, or you need a loadable module for them, which is why you saw ext3 mentioned as that is in almost all kernel builds. None of these are ideal for use with flash cards anyway, ideally we would all be using some type of JFS with them.

mgmueller
11-03-2010, 03:58 PM
It is not a limit of memory cards on Android but a limit of the FAT32 file system itself. The `solution` usually is to split the files into parts and have
the software know to glue it back together again for you.

Ext3 is another filesystem, why is that 'even worse'? The BSD FFS would also work, as would NTFS. Of course the linux kernel needs to be built to support those file sytems, or you need a loadable module for them, which is why you saw ext3 mentioned as that is in almost all kernel builds. None of these are ideal for use with flash cards anyway, ideally we would all be using some type of JFS with them.

Re. "Ext3" = "Even worse" because I find it extremely inefficient and even unprofessional, to claim those units being multimedia devices as well and not even being able to handle the easiest of tasks.
I wouldn't mind, if the system automatically would use an adequate file system. But doing it manually? That's why iOS (unfortunately) still shines...

twobits
11-03-2010, 07:22 PM
Re. "Ext3" = "Even worse" because I find it extremely inefficient and even unprofessional, to claim those units being multimedia devices as well and not even being able to handle the easiest of tasks.
I wouldn't mind, if the system automatically would use an adequate file system. But doing it manually? That's why iOS (unfortunately) still shines...

Ah but iOS uses a different file sytem [HFS]. Ext3 is more efficient then FAT32 I thought? Most flash media uses the FAT file system. So if you are not buying Apple flash cards, you need to reformat for that system as well. Difference is just in the default. FAT32 is used by default as windows can't read/write to ext3 etc. 4gb of h.264 media formated for a 7" screen is a lot when you consider a single later dvd can easily hold a full movie with mpeg2.

Remember Android is still meant for use on phones, to date no official version supports tablets.

Given the sizes of the flash cards still being less then 32GB, their probably has not been much demand yet for people to put single files that use that much of the total capicity on them yet. It would not take them much time at all to give the option to format the drives that way. Almost all of them come preformat for fat32 though... did you try unformating a card and plugging it in? What does it give you? It is not their fault as to what the memory cards come preformated in is it?

RoboRay
11-03-2010, 11:06 PM
4GB isn't enough for each of your media files? A two hour DVD movie can be repacked into less than 1GB with no real loss of quality. What are you doing, ripping BluRays to your Android device?

The reason virtually all flash memory cards come pre-formatted for FAT32 is simply because virtually every computer and device can read that format. There's no reason you have to stick with that format, however, if your devices are compatible with superior formats.

You can't expect the device to automatically convert it for you, however, as that would surely result in a lot of angry customers when the device automatically reformatted their flash card and wiped out their data.

mgmueller
11-04-2010, 03:43 AM
4GB isn't enough for each of your media files? A two hour DVD movie can be repacked into less than 1GB with no real loss of quality. What are you doing, ripping BluRays to your Android.

Actually, I've got quite a few HD rips (4GB+). The difference (bit rate, resolution, ...) is quite obvious of course. (Similar to DVDs with 5GB vs. BlueRays with 30GB).
I just don't want to convert existing movies, I want to use them "as is".
I'd be fine with an option "format to FAT32 or format to Ext3" for example. Not being able to do it on the mobile device, but having to use a PC simply is extremely inconvenient and kind of contradicts "mobility".

mgmueller
11-04-2010, 03:50 AM
It is not their fault as to what the memory cards come preformated in is it?
It comes pre-formated as FAT32, that's right.
But if I re-format it on the Android unit, it's also FAT32.
There's no option, to format to any other format.
Having to use a PC, to format your card on a mobile (!) unit doesn't seem to be very efficient...

beartard
11-04-2010, 06:55 AM
I think your use of the term "efficient" might be in error. It's far more efficient to use a default file system that's standard the world over and works for 99% of all uses it's promoted to have.

If Android defaulted to re-formatting sd-cards to ext*, for example (a much better file system), no Windows PC could read them. More complaints from users. It could use HFS (mac), but then Windows and Linux users would have extra steps to read the card. Imagine the problems when someone plugs in their phone via USB, turns on USB storage, and their computer can't read their card.

If Google included a format command in the settings, you'd get more complaints from normal users who couldn't care less what a filesystem type is. "I accidentally erased my sd-card." Or more likely, "Android deletes all my stuff." That would hurt the entire OS's reputation.

You worry about using a PC with your mobile device, but I doubt you're downloading 4GB or more of movies over phone data. You're going to transfer it to the card somehow--probably via USB or a card reader. Using a default format that any PC can read is a good thing.

Face it, when you move into filesystem limitations, you're no longer a "normal user" and have moved into "power user" territory and should rise to the challenge of taking the steps necessary to have the device do what you want. The very fact that Android ALLOWS you to make it so is a mark in its favor.

mgmueller
11-04-2010, 01:25 PM
I think your use of the term "efficient" might be in error. It's far more efficient to use a default file system that's standard the world over and works for 99% of all uses it's promoted to have.

If Android defaulted to re-formatting sd-cards to ext*, for example (a much better file system), no Windows PC could read them. More complaints from users. It could use HFS (mac), but then Windows and Linux users would have extra steps to read the card. Imagine the problems when someone plugs in their phone via USB, turns on USB storage, and their computer can't read their card.

If Google included a format command in the settings, you'd get more complaints from normal users who couldn't care less what a filesystem type is. "I accidentally erased my sd-card." Or more likely, "Android deletes all my stuff." That would hurt the entire OS's reputation.

You worry about using a PC with your mobile device, but I doubt you're downloading 4GB or more of movies over phone data. You're going to transfer it to the card somehow--probably via USB or a card reader. Using a default format that any PC can read is a good thing.

Face it, when you move into filesystem limitations, you're no longer a "normal user" and have moved into "power user" territory and should rise to the challenge of taking the steps necessary to have the device do what you want. The very fact that Android ALLOWS you to make it so is a mark in its favor.

I get your point.
But: In the era of HD and being able to dock even the cheapest gadgets to your HD, I don't think it's any kind of "special" or "advanced" or "power user", to copy HD movies.
On iPad (not being a fan anymore in comparison to Galaxy Tab, but one has to admire Apple's KISS-factor) my mother could do it via iTunes. They simply could provide any Android-PC-app and all problems would be solved. Okay, it might not be an Android-app, but most likely a manufacturer's app (Samsung, Dell, ...). But anyway...
How do they expect to use a docking station with HDMI connection? With 640 x 480 material?

I guess, I'll us a dual system: iPad for multimedia, Galaxy Tab for all the rest...
Anyway, I'm pretty sure Android tabets won't be able to "beat" iPad, as long as they lack Apple's ease of usability and iTunes integration...

RoboRay
11-05-2010, 03:56 AM
Actually, I've got quite a few HD rips (4GB+).

Fair enough. I was just kind of curious. :)

I'd be fine with an option "format to FAT32 or format to Ext3" for example. Not being able to do it on the mobile device, but having to use a PC simply is extremely inconvenient and kind of contradicts "mobility".

Just speculating, but I expect a variety of format options aren't included because a certain percentage of customers would inevitably pick the "wrong" one then consume tech support resources asking why their Windows computer can't read their memory card anymore.

The tiny percentage of customers who are aware that other format options exist and desire to use one are also going to have computers to format them with. And it's a one-time task, not something that's going to be done on a regular basis. Sure, it's a minor inconvenience to have to stick the card in a reader on your computer that one time, but it's still just one time. I don't see that as a big deal.