Cloud Storage

With multiple cloud storage solutions available it can prove rather troublesome keeping track exactly what files are stored on which service. Luckily, this is where the new official Otixo (www.otixo.com) app for Windows Phone comes into play. The app essentially opens up the vast world of online storage for consumers to access numerous services through a single gateway. Think of this are your one shop for all your cloud drive accounts.

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Earlier today, Google slashed their cloud storage pricing for Google Drive to some insanely low numbers. How low? For just $1.99 a month you get 100GB of storage. If you want to get 100GB on OneDrive you’ll need to pony up $7.49 per month to do that. The pricing wars are now officially on for cloud storage and hopefully the only winners here will be us, the consumers. Let’s check out how some of the major cloud storage services stack up against one another for pricing.

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As many already know, Microsoft’s SkyDrive is the company’s cloud-based storage service.  We use it on our Windows Phone to back-up photos, access documents and other files we keep in the cloud.

Today, Microsoft has announced that they are retiring the SkyDrive branding for this cloud storage and renaming things OneDrive.  The thinking behind the name is that while you have many devices in your life, you only want one place to store your documents, images, videos and other files. 

Microsoft announced back in July of the impending name change due to litigation against them by British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSkyB), who successfully claimed that SkyDrive infringed on the “Sky” trademark.

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QNAP makes a series of Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices for professional and home usage. All of that sounds bizarre to myself, because frankly I don’t follow home-networking news. NAS devices though are becoming increasingly popular as homes – to break out a buzzword – become more ‘connected’ in 2014.

For those still confused, it’s a home cloud server akin to having your own local SkyDrive account. NAS devices allow you to configure them with multiple terabytes of storage, and they then connect to the ‘net. Tablets, PCs, laptops and phones can then join to pull down (or upload) videos, music, photos, etc.

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Today, Nero has pushed out their official BackItUp app (nerobackitup.com) for Windows Phone 8, giving the hundredth method by which users can safely store their images to the cloud. We’re sure this a tough sell to Windows Phone users, who get to experience native SkyDrive support with 7 GB of space (and that bonus 20 GB just handed out).

Still, if you like Nero or already happen to be using their service, which is also available on Android, then today is your day.

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The SkyDrive team has been killing it lately. Sure there was the whole needing to change the name setback, but other than that it’s been a rosy year. Earlier in May, it hit the 250 million customer mark, which is very impressive. Earlier today, Microsoft announced that anyone who buys a Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2 will get 200GB of SkyDrive storage for two years. That 200GB option has been extended to everyone with a new pricing tier on SkyDrive.

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Kinvey (www.kinvey.com) is a cloud development platform that enables developers and enterprise to host and operate backend systems, without having to manage or scale physical hardware. Support for Windows Phone 8 has been absent until now, thanks to software development firm Penrillian. The company has developed a Windows Phone 8 DLL for Kinvey.

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When it comes to cloud storage on Windows Phone, most users seem content to utilize Microsoft’s SkyDrive system. After all, it ties into Xbox, PC, tablets, Windows Phone itself, the web and it is constantly being improved upon by the company.

However, people live different lives and have different circumstances, including having job requirements that require access to other cloud storage options. So with that, it’s good to see Copy (www.copy.com), an official app from Barracuda Networks, land on Windows Phone 8 (they already have clients for iOS and Android).

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One design choice on the Nokia Lumia 1020 has a small handful of people a little flustered: you cannot share the full-resolution photos on Windows Phone using any of the built in social networks. No email, no NFC, no uploading to SkyDrive, etc.  The reason for that is because each 38MP image is between 9 and 15 MB in size and that would chew through bandwidth.

The oversampled 5MP images you can do anything, including all the above and auto-uploads to SkyDrive. Those weigh in at a more reasonable 3MB and are meant for sharing.

But for AT&T users (and only AT&T customers), there is a way to auto-upload your full, high resolution photos to the cloud for backup: AT&T Locker. And if you act fast, you can bump their free 5GB of storage to a whopping 50GB, which is ideal for you future Lumia 1020 owners.

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AT&T Locker, Cloud Storage for Windows Phone 8

AT&T has released the AT&T Locker for their Windows Phone 8 devices. It is a cloud service for U.S. based AT&T customers that provides 5GB of cloud storage for free.

You can upload photos, videos, documents and music files to the AT&T Locker over Wi-Fi or AT&T's wireless network. The app comes with an Easy Upload feature that backs up your photos and videos automatically and images can be shared via email, Facebook or Twitter directly from the AT&T Locker.

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SkyDrive is a great way to back up and store files in the cloud, and access everything from your tablet, computer or Windows Phone. SkyDrive is a free service with 7GB of storage.  From students (or anyone else for that matter) 7GB might not be enough.

If you're a college student you can get an extra 3GB on top of that. All you need to do is head over here, enter a valid .edu email address, and a free storage code will be sent your way.

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Although a lot of folks in the Windows Phone ecosystem may opt for SkyDrive for their cloud storage, there’s no doubt Box (www.box.com) has a compelling service as well (especially if you nabbed those free 25 or 50GB of storage offers).

The company has pushed out dual updates today for both their Windows 8 and Windows Phone apps, bringing their new file-preview technology to both and allowing users to peek in their files without opening them. In addition, each app received some personal attention too for general improvements.

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Although we’re all about Microsoft’s ecosystem around these parts, we’re not going to pass on a good deal especially if you have a specific need. Box (box.com) cloud storage, akin to Dropbox, SkyDrive and SugarSync, is a cloud based syncing and storage service.

They usually offer 5GB of space for free but have a special running where you get bumped up to 25GB (new customers only).

What makes Box a compelling option is of course their Windows support--they have a full desktop sync client and Windows 8 RT app in addition to sporting an official app for Windows Phone 7.x and 8 (suck on that, Dropbox). The app is quite good and similar to the SkyDrive experience.

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SkyDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud. Does the world really need another file hosting service up in the cloud? I say why not, as more competition can only benefit all of us. Bitcasa (www.bitcasa.com) is a relatively new kid on the block and they’ve just launched a Windows 8 app. What makes Bitcasa unique is their “infinite hard drive”. Interested? Read on.

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SkyDrive and punk rawk go well together, says our editor

Microsoft has reportedly added support for album art in its SkyDrive cloud storage service, which could be the first step in the direction of a Windows integrated Xbox Music solution. Xbox Music is set to replace the current Zune Pass that many have grown fond of with unlimited access to a large library of music. Should one happen to upload music files to their SkyDrive account, album art is reported to be automatically added once detected. 

Like Liveside.net who first reported this, we're not entirely sure if this is new or we're just noticing it for the first time. Either way, consider it as more evidence that indeed SkyDrive is quite awsome.

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Box is available for Windows Phone

The team at Box, a cloud-based storage and sharing service, have published a blog article detailing the release of their Windows Phone app, which has been published since June. The app joins their catalogue of mobile apps for iOS, BlackBerry and Android.

The Windows Phone app is a native client so you're getting all the goodies offered from Box. So what's the service all about? Box enables users to upload, store and share files from computers to the cloud. Much like DropBox, SkyDrive and similar services, Box provides a limited amount of space (5GB) for free.

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