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Google to fix Android card-formatting flaw

A CNET reader reports that microSD cards of the 32GB variety can't be formatted in Google's Nexus One phone, which will require a fix in the next firmware update of all Android phones.

Google's Android software is unable to format the higher-capacity memory cards listed as compatible with many of the phones running the operating system.

Android phones such as the Nexus One can't format the 32GB microSD cards listed as compatible with the devices. Sarah Tew/CNET

CNET reader Carey Hildebrand brought the issue to our attention after discovering an issue with his Nexus One. The Web site for the Nexus One says that Google's "superphone" should be compatible with microSD cards with up to 32 gigabytes of storage, but there's a catch: a flaw in Android makes it unable to format 32GB cards.

Google confirmed the problem. "This issue has been fixed, and will be part of our next over-the-air update. We don't have a specific timeframe to share at this time," a Google representative said. The flaw applies to all Android phones.

MicroSD cards often require a quick format before they can be used in a new device. But for some reason Android is only able to format microSD cards with 16GB or less of storage. That means anyone who wants to use a 32GB microSD card needs to format that card from their PC, which also means they will need to acquire a microSD card reader unless they have a system with a built-in reader.

Google's product guide for the Nexus One provides instructions on how to format microSD cards using the phone's software, but does not yet acknowledge that this can't be done with 32GB cards. Other devices such as digital cameras can also format the cards, and once they are formatted, the cards should work.