I have an HP laptop (http://www8.hp.com/ca/en/products/laptops/product-detail.html?oid=1308672). I hope not mentioning it explicitly doesn't violate stackexchange's policy.

It uses eMMC as the main storage and has to SATA (mSATA) interface in the board at all. Even if one uses an external drive for their files, different softwares writing onto Window's pre-set temporary folders will cause the eMMC to be written over and over again. Eventually this will lead to the eMMC's shortened lifespan. After the eMMC has expired, the user will then have no choice but to run the whole OS on an external drive, if possible, even.

If they would use an eMMC for current market prices and low power consumption, why make it embedded and not swappable? I can't believe nobody is manufacturing eMMC modules that have mSATA. mSATA not small enough? Go for M.2

  • "if they would use an eMMC for current market prices and low power consumption, why make it embedded and not swappable?" - Soldered modules are often cheaper to purchase then user replaceable modules. Even a $0.01 price delta can add up when your talking millions of units. – Ramhound Jan 25 '17 at 17:38
  • Still bad design. A hidden caveat that most buyers can't guard themselves from. Fooled my Dad, it did. – kozner Jan 25 '17 at 17:48
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    Consumers have a choice. They don't have to purchase laptops with eMMC, they can simply purchase laptops, with SSDs instead. There is a saying which I will summarize, "you get what you paid for", which I think applies to the hardware you purchased. – Ramhound Jan 25 '17 at 17:49

Well this really has a few factors:

  • eMMC is really just an SD card without the connecter (thats literally it) so when they manufacture a budget/low end laptop they can get the chips relatively cheap as production methods have already been optimised for SD cards.
  • By using eMMC as the storage medium they reduce the overall amount of parts that are needed so they don't need to put more chips on to support M.2 drives for instance or any connectors which would take space and add cost. So the overall device gets cheaper again.
  • Planned obsolescence, eMMC is cheap and will die after a few years so the consumer will be buying another laptop. I don't think this is really what most manufacturers are planning, it is most likely just a side effect.
  • Increased Battery life, You mention this in the question. Less parts, less power needed. Also people who buy low end devices usually don't expect it to be the fastest and use it for tasks that aren't too computationally intensive (Browsing, writing documents, emails, etc...)
  • With there being less parts in means that they can save space and either reduce weight, reduce cost or add more battery. Longer betters times or cheaper product yay..

Those laptops with eMMC storage tend to be either cheap windows machines, android laptops, or chromebooks when store most things in the cloud and don't need lots of fast storage.

When you get down to it the company makes more money and you get a cheap device at the cost of overall laptop lifetime.

Hope this helped :)

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