Mobile Device Cloud Storage: We Take Six Services For A Drive

Cloud Storage On The Go

They’ve got tens of gigabytes of capacity. They can synchronize and back up your data. You can access them from tablets or smartphones. They are free, or they can cost $100 a year. As of now, there is no clear winner. As the market readies for a possible new Google Drive cloud-based storage offering by the search giant, a look at the existing services today shows a varying field with room for more competition.

Here, the CRN Test Center rates the various cloud storage services for mobile devices.

One of the first cloud-based storage services for individuals and small businesses, followed Dropbox last year in throwing open its servers to a whopping 50 GB of free storage capacity during a limited-time offer to iPad and iPhone users (as well as users of the ill-fated HP TouchPad). Not only does it allow for collaboration on files including documents, but it will extend an enterprise’s HIPAA or SOX compliance into its online and mobile storage service. It's available as a Web service, as well as on Android and iOS.

On a scale of 1-10: 8


A pioneer in offering a massive 50 GB of free data storage for those using its service via mobile device or PC, Dropbox has had to deal with some embarrassing and disconcerting security issues in the past two years. In addition, questions were raised about the HIPAA or SOX compliance of an SMB offering it launched last year. However, it remains free and wildly popular for individual, nonbusiness-critical users and integrates with a growing number of apps on the iOS platform. It's available as a Web service, as well as on Android and iOS.

On a scale of 1-10: 7


SkyDrive for iOS allows SkyDrive users to locate, access and view files that they've previously created or saved to the Microsoft storage service, including Word Documents, PowerPoints or Excel Spreadsheets, in addition to photo files, videos or audio files. The difference is that with Office documents, you're not afforded the functionality to edit or upload them from your iPhone to SkyDrive. It's available as a Web app, as well as an iOS.

On a scale of 1-10: 7


Evernote is more than an online storage service; it allows you to organize, tag and share notes and files between just about every platform (Mac, PC, Web browser, Android and iOS). But as an online storage service, it’s pretty nice, too. Rather than measuring your usage by volume, it provides you with 60 MB of free upload bandwidth per month, with additional "premium" bandwidth limits at a fee. What’s more, a number of other technology providers (printer vendor Lexmark, for example) are now supporting the Evernote platform in their products. It's available as a Web application, a PC application, a Mac OS X application, on Android and on iOS.

On a scale of 1-10: 8


Apple’s iCloud service, like Evernote, is also much more than just a cloud-based storage service. It will synchronize Pages, Keynote and Numbers documents and files; it will store your iTunes purchases (TV shows and music) in the cloud for downloading onto any device you sync with iTunes, and it will store 30 days worth of photos in a photo stream. In addition, it will seamlessly sync your contacts, calendar and mail. To do this, Apple gives you 5 GB capacity for free when you buy an iOS device, and you can purchase more (up to 50 GB for $100 for a year). That’s what or Dropbox gives away to some customers for free. It's available on an iOS device, and in a limited fashion as a Web service.

On a scale of 1-10: 7

Ubuntu One (Ubuntu One Files for iPhone)

Ubuntu’s free cloud storage service, Ubuntu One, extends to iOS with Ubuntu One Files. We like it for what it does -- which is extend basic file storage from the Ubuntu desktop (or any desktop) to the cloud. Ubuntu One is free with a 5-GB storage capacity, accessible over the Web. With Ubuntu One Files for iPhone, it’s now fast, free and easy to download and upload those files between the service and your iOS-based device. The app also makes it easy to transfer photos, seamlessly, from your iPhone to Ubuntu One -- similar to the way Apple’s own iCloud service for photo streaming works. It is also interoperable with other apps and services, including Evernote and Dropbox, on the iPhone. It's available as a Web service, as well as on Ubuntu Linux and on iOS.

On a scale of 1-10: 5

Cloud Storage for Mobile Devices:
The Daily App:
The Daily App: Dropbox for iPhone
The Daily App: Microsoft's SkyDrive for iPhone
The Daily App: Evernote
The Daily App: Microsoft's SkyDrive for iPhone