HTC Sense — the root of Android storage problems?
The elephant in the room of the Android world is that ‘droid phones suffer from a terrible storage space problem. While iPhone/iPad users can happily install dozens or even hundreds of apps, Android users are faced with constant low storage space warnings, even with just a few apps installed.
With only 42Mb of apps installed on my HTC Desire, this has become a permanent resident in my notification panel:
I’ve been trying for a while to get to the bottom of this, mainly because I’m developing an app for Android and this problem has become a real drag.
Naturally I first tried to get help from Google. My intention was to write about the issue and report on possible solutions, so I contacted the Google press office and requested an e-mail interview with an engineer. You might be surprised by Google’s response:
Thanks for reaching out.
We don’t have the bandwidth to offer an interview, but you can find more info here: developer.android.com
Corporate Communications and Public Affairs
(Don’t be too shocked by this — Google are frightfully media-shy until they want publicity for something. The "don’t have the bandwidth" excuse is lame though. Oh and why didn’t I just contact an engineer directly? Google folk don’t have public e-mail addresses. You see, despite the image they try to portray, Google isn’t a very "internet" company — they don’t like talking to people.)
So with Google not interested in helping I spent a good while trawling web forums, and what jumped out at me was that this doesn’t appear to be an Android problem as such, because it only affects HTC phones which have that company’s Sense interface and a suite of social networking apps.
By all accounts there’s no point contacting HTC. They’re aware of the problem, but they don’t know (or won’t admit) how to resolve it. I suggest you read Howard Greenstein’s blog post and Christopher Dawson’s article on ZDNet and then set about removing as much of the Sense interface as you can, especially the social networking apps that chew up large amounts of storage space with bloated caches, but report a much lower figure.
Or you could root your phone and remove Sense entirely — here’s a page about rooting the Desire for example. But that may well invalidate your warranty and, personally, I’m going to take this up with my carrier (Vodafone) as without rooting I now consider the phone unfit for purpose.