Microsoft announced today that they would be releasing SkyDrive on iPhone and Windows Phone devices.
Downloadable as an app, iPhone users will get 25GB of free cloud space to store their photos, videos, documents and the like.
For a user like me, on the verge of topping out my iPhone’s memory, SkyDrive will be a lifesaver. After setting up a free Hotmail (Windows Live) account, I dumped my old photos and videos on there and deleted them from my phone’s hard drive, thus freeing up some space and making my 3GS (a dinosaur, I know) run faster.
But SkyDrive does more than just storage. You can share and collaborate. Tap a doc, picture, or video, select the share option, and blast a link to whomever you’d like via email. You can even elect to allow editing or not from directly within the app. See how I did it below, the photos representative of sequential steps:
My one complaint is that it takes a little while to upload your videos and images, and you can’t transfer them (to my knowledge) in one dump.
In the larger context, it might seem a little strange, Microsoft’s offering this on a competitor’s phone.
“We realize that not everyone who relies on SkyDrive for sharing photos or accessing Office documents uses Windows Phone… yet,” wrote Mike Torres on the Inside Windows Live Blog. “We have a long history of supporting iPhone customers with built-in support for Hotmail and with apps like Bing, Messenger, OneNote (with SkyDrive sync), and now Skype.”
But Microsoft has made it clear that they want their cloud storage to work across various devices, regardless of brand.
In a separate blog post, Torres wrote: “It would be built with the understanding that we want to have our content available anywhere, even if we use devices made by different companies with different operating systems. This is how important services like Hotmail and Skype work, and personal cloud storage should be no different.”
Microsoft acknowledges, then, that the iPhone is far more popular, yet it sees the benefit in offering the free cloud storage on a competing device. Perhaps it’s a play to keep Microsoft products and services in front of the most consumers. It’s likely that down the road when Microsoft offers Office for iOS, SkyDrive will be yet another reason to buy it. Who knows? Either way, it’s nice to have it where we need it most: on our iDevices.