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I've noticed that Verizon offers 2 versions of the Galaxy S3: 16 GB and 32 GB. I'm trying to determine if it would be worthwhile to get the larger storage.

Is the device storage an extension of the primary device memory, or is it treated as a separate memory area that can only be used for data storage (similar to an SD card) but not for running programs?

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If you buy the Galaxy S III 32 GB you get 32 GB of internal memory, I realize that you're worried about getting perhaps 16 GB internal + 16 GB SD-card but that is absolutely not the case, and it would be pretty much false advertising and they would piss a lot of people off. I just looked up the specs and it is indeed 32 GB internal memory for the 32 GB variant.

I don't know how specifically the partitions are set up since i have a Galaxy Nexus myself, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's the exact same, where /sdcard is a separate partition but still on the internal memory physically.

So, to answer your question:

Is the device storage an extension of the primary device memory, or is it treated as a separate memory area that can only be used for data storage

No, the device storage is not an extension of the primary memory as far as I know, it's all internal flash memory albeit still partitioned to standard Android partitions for obvious reasons, where /sdcard is one of those standard partitions even when no actual sdcard is present. So as far as I understand, you'll have 32 GB of pure internal storage.

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In my understanding the question is whether it's partitioned as the Galaxy Nexus or not. –  Richard Borcsik Jun 25 '12 at 8:15
    
I called both Verizon and Samsung today and, as near as I can tell from my conversations, you are correct. –  Gdalya Jun 26 '12 at 1:04
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Some site disassembling the Galaxy S III states a 16GB flash, seems to be the 16GB version. If that's true, I would imagine the 32GB version has a 32GB flash, that's an internal storage.

The tech is MoviNAND that's just work like an MMC card, but it is mounted as the internal storage for Samsung's devices.

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The question is whether it's like a Galaxy Nexus or like a Nexus S. So whether it's partitioned as one block or several? –  Richard Borcsik Jun 25 '12 at 6:49
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There have been reports of the Sprint version being split into 12gb/12gb partitions. No news on VZW or Tmobile but I would bet they are split as well. So regardless of what the other people on here have said it would appear that not all the 32gb is in one partition.

See: http://www.androidcentral.com/sprint-galaxy-s-iii-review

Robert

Edit: because of this new news I will be sticking with a 16gb version since I already have a 64gb card ready to use. No point in dealing with multiple "sdcard" directories.

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Well, you're going to have to deal with multiple sdcards anyway, regardless of the size.. –  Richard Borcsik Jun 25 '12 at 18:10
    
two vs three, i'll deal with two instead –  Robert Jun 25 '12 at 18:23
    
has split the storage at 12GB as internal "phone storage" (for installing apps and whatever else you want), and another 12GB that's recognized as an internal SD card –  Richard Borcsik Jun 25 '12 at 18:33
    
Thick! 12+12 internal +64 microsd = 3 locations to store data. I wish they would have just kept it as one internal and one external place instead of splitting up the internal into two partitions. –  Robert Jun 25 '12 at 20:23
    
12GB is not directly accessible. It's only for apps. You can't directly use it. –  Richard Borcsik Jun 25 '12 at 20:29
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The difference is in the storage capacity, 32Gb > 16Gb, really, you'll have heaps of space to hold photos, apps, music... :) Go for it if you can afford it :)

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Right...I guess my question is does the S3 treat that extra 16 GB as internal memory or as an SD card? –  Gdalya Jun 24 '12 at 15:05
    
Good question! it may be treated and simulated as external sdcard to keep android happy.. when really there's a trend in that smartphones are produced without external sdcard slot.. –  t0mm13b Jun 24 '12 at 15:30
    
Might be best to inquire in the carrier's respective shop or some google-fu will yield the correct answer to it :) –  t0mm13b Jun 24 '12 at 15:31
    
I tried google before Stack Exchange as well as Samsung's and Verizon's web sites and didn't get a clear answer. Maybe I'm overthinking the question? –  Gdalya Jun 24 '12 at 21:44
    
Have a tablet here and its treated as /mnt/sdcard if that helps? (yes its samsung running froyo.... ) mileage will vary, GB and upwards would treat it as /sdcard... –  t0mm13b Jun 25 '12 at 1:42
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