Google tried to come out with a solution for the user to get SD card access last year. It introduced the Storage Access Framwork or the SAF with its Kit Kat 4.4. That update allowed apps by third parties access to user files but only after due consent was obtained from the user. The app thus got access to the SD card fully.
Android L’s New API
However, the problem was not sorted out as media files consisting of images, video clips that require more memory space could not be stored onto the SD card. With the introduction of the new API on the Android L, the media storage would now be automatic; there would be directory access and better security as well.
Developers of apps would get total access to the SD card directories and files can now be stored in directories created on the card. The process would be methodical and much better than it is on Kit Kat. User consent will be mandatory.
As per a recent note on this feature, Android L would be extending the SAF such that users are able to select their directory subtree, enabling apps to gain both read and write access to the documents contained in that subtree without having to seek user confirmation for each of the documents. Android L will also have specific directories for storage where the app can place bigger media files for later inclusion into the MediaStore.
Google Responds to the Requirements of Developers
The Kit Kat update served a purpose alright but developers sought richer access and beyond the app-specific directories on storage devices like the micro SD card. The Android L comes with the ACTION_OPEN_DOCUMENT_TREE intent that apps would be able to launch in order to select the directory from either a supported DocumentProvider or any shared storage that is supported by the gadget itself. The app would then be able to update, delete or create files as well as directories without any user interaction and like most document intents; this too would be able to persist with access even with reboots.
This new method also provides a place for storing files on any of the available storage devices without the read/write access required to do so. As per another note from Android Police, the app would be available for other applications to access through the MediaStore service once it places files into folders that are returned by the ExternalMediaDirs. So a camera app or any sound recorder would find this app of great use since the files produced by them would be made available automatically to other apps. There would be no need to insert and remove SD cards either.
The Android L has now been launched and updates to OEMs for necessary upgrade on existing handsets will follow soon from Google. Users will surely find the new OS much more appealing with its fresh features and better accessibility.