Monday, July 9, 2012

Android (Phones) and the Question about ROM and RAM

Pretty much every day I see people complaining about the ROM and RAM sizes of their Android phones and tablet pcs. I'm even being called a liar when I state in some of my videos that a device XYZ has XXX MB of RAM and XXX MB of ROM. 

You wouldn't believe how rude some people can be, blaming ME for problems they are having with their devices, just because I did a review video of some sort and they are not happy with their purchases.

People feel cheated because their AVAILABLE memory size is not the size the device was advertised by.

Are we being cheated? Is that some sort of scam the Chinese manufacturers are trying to pull off?

MY answer is NO (in 99% of all cases) ;-) Here are two examples that might help you understand what's going on with the actual (available) ROM and RAM sizes and this is NOT just a "Shanzhai product) issue as you will see:



"…. A good example is the HTC Desire which has 512MB ROM according to the specifications page but according to PCMag there is “only 117MB of available internal storage“…"



"…I have a Nook Color with Cyanogenmod 7.2 (on mSD), and Nook Color is supposed to be 512MB of RAM (says so on product's page).

When I open Menu (on bottom bar, while on desktop) > Manage Applications > Running, it says on the bottom left 95MB used, and on the bottom right it says 174MB free…"

"…Although your device may have 512 MB of RAM in it, the settings almost always report the RAM that is available to user processes, not all of the physical RAM. This means that it won't report any memory that is being used by:

  • Android's system-level processes
  • Your GPU, which often uses shared memory
  • Any memory a cellular radio chip may need to function (irrelevant in your case)

Although this memory is not reported, it is being used by the system. Reporting it in a system monitor is simply not very relevant because the OS is going to basically keep it for itself forever (after all, the OS needs RAM to run properly, too). There is really no way that you can get this RAM "back" from the system, but you wouldn't want to anyway since your phone would basically stop functioning without it…"


So, PLEASE keep that in mind, thanks :-)


  1. Great info. Just curious where did you get the money to buy so many device from FCT? =)

  2. I get a good discount and I'm making some money with Adsense ;-)

    But back to topic, a lot of people simply don't realize that you NEVER have the full RAM and ROM sizes available, not on Shanzhai products and not on brand name products as well.

    That's just the way it is, I just don't like it when people are screaming SCAM before they even try to understand how things work :-(

  3. Okay, ignorance is 1 issue. But other thing is use violence (insults in this case)

    I think they believe are offending u but the offense is for themselves. It's a sin to blame others for our own and free actions and decisions, and worse having google to search before drop the hate.

    I bought a year ago a Star A1000 zero (mtk6515). I read before buy it about that chipset, the official pdf (and with google i learnt more about ram and rom), i knew what expect and 2 read books, listening music, and have two sims from two differents operators (my costumers can call me using the cheapest operator accord to their phones)and play some basic games, besides to have a design to impress my customers i have enough because i learnt before bought it.

    Anyway, this put me a bit angry cause i know when the people take advantage from a free service. Al least in my case i no see that i've to pay a fee to enter to your blog or see ur youtube videos to decide. I would feel stupid complaining.

    1. Sometimes I feel like some people want to "kill the messenger" ;-) Apparently some people watch my videos, they like what they see, order a phone or tablet, run into some sort of problems and then they come complaining to ME :-(

  4. I've been in Tech Support off-and-on for a LONG while (since DOS 3.01 and the original 8 Mhz PC) When I started, a common complaint was about "lack of memory" as the various programs that your PC loaded would fight each other for a crucial chunk of RAM, Adding more RAM (upgrading your physical RAM from 512k to 640K made no difference, to the eternal confusion of many punters.)

    More recently I sorted out a problem for a friend-of-a-friend whose brand new PC reported "memory problems." The supplier sent out a support techie, who swapped out the RAM in the machine for new... and she still got the same error message. "Not our problem" he claimed "it must be a software error, not covered by the (extended) warranty". Windows came pre-installed on the machine (so WAS covered by warranty) and Windows has ALWAYS been memory hungry... and thus reliant on VIRTUAL memory (where part of the hard drive pretends to be RAM) When there's a problem with the part fo the hard drive that's prentending to be RAM, it gets reported as a "Memory problem".

    So, it's not exatly a NEW thing.

  5. Ignorance on the general public.
    I had both Shanzai & branded devices...ALL NEVER had the size declared...there will always be system usage.

    I think your site is great.
    It bring many insights to me and i will venture more into it.

    Back in the early days, the shanzai device are real crappy.
    this days, they are better than the branded low end devices...

    Keep up your good work,

    1. Thanks and you are right, the Shanzhai products keep getting better and better :-) I'm waitung on my first MT6577 CPU phone right now, I can't wait to see how that baby performs :-)

    2. I can't wait for ur new MT6577 review too...publish to us once u r ready for it :-)

    3. Thanks :-) I also can't wait to get my hands on a MT6577 phone, hopefully it won't be much longer :-)