Exploring Digital Storage Options
The advent of smartphones, iPads and assorted types of tablet computers has dramatically altered how we communicate and store information. Today, many of us have more than one path to the internet. Storing personal information, files, videos, images and work related content requires consideration, particularly when syncing files and sharing data is involved. As devices have acquired greater processing power in increasingly smaller packages, the quantity and size of files have grown.
Along with the need for storage solutions, having the ability to synchronize information and ultimately share it with others is just as important. We’re not only obtaining information these days, we’re also accessing it from different platforms and devices. The needs of larger files and greater content means storage solutions are no longer an afterthought—they’re important concerns.
As a general rule, most smart phones have fairly large storage capacities. However, they are not infinite. Add a few video files, images and data, and suddenly 10 gigs of storage seems small. At one time it was common to see smart phones with expansion slots to add storage capacity via micro SD cards. If a handset’s onboard capacity was small, it was easy to add 15 to 20 gigs to create more room. Increasingly more and more devices like tablets and smartphones are doing away with that option in favor of onboard storage only.
Should limited storage become a problem, there are some free–as well as cost effective–ways to make accessing data easier.
If you are an Android Phone user, you may have noticed that the Google Docs application has been replaced by a new service, Google Drive (drive.google.com). Six years in development, this project has finally come to fruition. As to be expected of Google software, this new application has a clean minimal appearance. To make accessing data on your desktop easier, there is a client for that, as well as an updated app for Android users. If you are not part of the Google ecosystem, you are not out of luck. Mac users can use the program, and there are plans for iPad and iPhone support in the works. Free storage is at 5 GB, and you can upgrade to 25 GB of storage for $ 2.50 per month. There are other options, but storage tops out at 1 Terabyte for $49.99 per month.
Microsoft is best known for their Office suite and ubiquitous operating system. They have also been at work moving towards more comprehensive online content and software as a service. Recently they revamped their Sky Drive (login.live.com) online storage and file sharing solution. The “New Sky Drive” features a much more user-friendly experience for the desktop. The new application is a dramatic and much-needed move away from the older, more convoluted Mesh program that previously synced files to desktop computers.
Naturally, Microsoft Office files, their operating systems and the Windows phone are supported. IPhone and iPad apps are available. Android users are not offered these options, but there are work-arounds. The Android market contains alternatives that can compensate. For existing users of Hotmail, and for a limited time, you can obtain a whopping 25 GB of storage for free. For new users, the cap on free storage is 7 GB. For just $10 a year you can raise it to 20 GB, $25 for 50 GB and the maximum is $50 annually for 100 GB of data. This is probably the most cost-effective solution available.
If your needs demand access from several devices, Sugar Sync (www.sugarsync.com) comes highly rated. Supporting Symbian, Kindle Fire, Blackberry, iPad, iPhone, Macs, Windows, Android and Windows Mobile app, this platform has perhaps the widest range of program support, including a beta for Linux. A big bonus includes 5 GB free, and unlimited bonus space if you make referrals. The only downside is that there is no “drag-and-drop” support for the desktop client. Some have experienced issues with functionality when dealing with multiple desktops. The largest size is 100 GB of data at $14.99 per month or $ 149.99 per year. Their most popular account size is 60 GB for $9.99 a month or $99.99 annually.
Adobe’s Photoshop is the de-facto standard in professional digital image manipulation. With nearly every company moving applications and access to online models, Adobe has accomplished that goal with their own Photoshop centered site HYPERLINK “http://www.photoshop.com” www.photoshop.com. It features storage space for images, basic image editing and sharing capacity, the site offers 2 GB of storage gratis. More space is available for $49.99 a year, which allows you 20 GB of space.
While the Android version lacks a file manager to access other image files on your mobile, Adobe Photoshop Express provides a highly rudimentary version of the behemoth Photoshop. The Android app provides access to the online photo storage section of the website to Android phones. With Apple having so much dominance in the arena of imaging, there is an iOs version. Adobe has also introduced other apps for mobile computing recently.
No discussion of storage would be complete without mentioning Drop Box (HYPERLINK “http://www.dropbox.com”www.dropbox.com). Two salient features differentiate this storage solution from pack. Ease of use is one and that is works well in Windows, Mac, Linux, iOs, Android and Blackberry. A free version offers 2 GB of storage—which is becoming something of a norm – and there are paid versions, the highest 100 GB for $ 19.99 a month. There is a referral program that can net you extra space free.
With new programs and solutions arriving daily, this is not a comprehensive look at everything out there in the market. But this does show that there are free, as well as paid, ways to store information that you can access on a variety of platforms that make file sharing and storage less stressful.