MS takes SkyDrive up a gear
Microsoft has tweaked its cloud storage solution, SkyDrive.
SkyDrive has been developed alongside Windows 8, with the intention of bringing together “the best aspects” of file, app and device clouds. The latest update includes improved storage options, apps to connect different devices, and a device cloud that allows users to fetch any file from a Windows PC.
President of the Windows Division at Microsoft, Steven Sinofsky, says: “Taken together with access from popular mobile phones and a browser, you can now take your SkyDrive with you anywhere, connect it to any app that works with files and folders, and get all the storage you need - making SkyDrive the most powerful personal cloud storage service available.”
A preview of SkyDrive for the Windows desktop is available for download, and allows for the management of personal SkyDrive directly from Windows Explorer on Windows 8, 7 and Vista. Files of up to 2GB in size (an improvement on the previous limit of 100MB) can be dragged and dropped onto the drive, which appears as a folder on the user's PC. Files can be browsed and streamed from any connected device.
While SkyDrive has been available for iPhone and Windows Phone since December, the latest update now also makes the service available on the iPad and Macs running OS X Lion (where SkyDrive is integrated with Finder).
Microsoft has reduced the amount of free storage space for users from 25GB to 7GB, while also introducing a number of paid storage options ($10 a year for 20GB, $25 a year for 50GB and $50 a year for 100GB). Users who have already been signed up to the service and who have uploaded at least one file before 22 April, can keep their existing accounts and can opt-in to receive 25GB storage free. Anyone who has uploaded more that 4GB data before the beginning of April will automatically be given an account with 25GB free storage.
Microsoft's pricing undercuts market leader Dropbox, which offers 2GB free storage, and up to 100GB for $19.99 per month. Competition in the cloud space is heating up, with a new offering from Google, Google Drive, expected any day now. The new service is said to offer 5GB free storage space with deep integration of Google services.