An Android engineer took to Reddit last week to address concerns spurred by the discovery that the Samsung did not offer USB mass storage (UMS). As it turns out, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich does support the feature, but the device itself does not.
According to Google's Dan Morrill, UMS is available at a platform level, just so long as the hardware allows for removable storage cards.
UMS is a protocol that makes USB devices accessible to a host device (Android phone or tablet) to allow file transfers between the two. In other words, when enabled, it is easy to drag and drop files between a host device and a USB device, much as between drives on a computer.
For many smartphone owners the issue of UMS isn't much of an issue at all. Most new Android users probably aren't even aware of the option to sync files across other devices, but seasoned users have come to depend on the feature.
So if UMS is not available for the Galaxy Nexus, then what will all of these Android enthusiasts and early adopters do for file transfer?
Given that a vast majority of Android's user base runs Windows desktops and laptops, Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) will work quite nicely for music, photos, videos. Meanwhile, Mac users can download and install Android File Transfer, and the Linux community has PTP protocol. Although none of these might be as appealing as UMS, Morrill is optimistic that better options will soon appear.
Considering that the number of Android devices without removable storage is rather small, this entire argument could be a nonstarter. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is only the second major handset released without a microSD expansion slot, with the first being the Nexus S.