Cloud Storage 101
Joelle Alcaidinho
Jul 20, 2012

With so many cloud services available, it can be challenging to figure out which is the right one for you and your family to use. I've moved many files to the cloud because I'm now able to easily access/upload via tablet. After sorting through the various offerings, I quickly realized that while the free space offerings might be similar, not all tablet cloud hosting apps are created equal…

Dropbox: Clean UI in the iPad app, but it is pretty much read only when it comes to all of your data that's in Dropbox, with the exception of photos and videos. The Android app does let you upload files to Dropbox, and you're not limited to photos and video content only. One of the nice things about the iPad app is that it does let you preview iWork documents (that you've put into Dropbox from a computer or transferred in via a 3rd party WebDav solution) before downloading them. The app is pretty snappy, but lacks the ability to add collaborators to a folder, and it won't let you download files that it does not support previewing of, like iBooks files. For iPad and Android.

SkyDrive: Like Dropbox, SkyDrive lets you easily upload photos and videos from your iPad. Unlike Dropbox though, this app also lets you create folders, which is nice when you're trying to organize batches of images and videos instead of just bulk dumping them into your drive. However, unlike Dropbox, SkyDrive does not play nice with iWorks files that you have uploaded from your computer; while the folder they were in was able to be moved into SkyDrive, the files themselves were not. Sharing (and permissions) is easy to do from the app, as well as moving files around to different folders and sections within the drive. iPad available now, Android rumored to be available in late July.

Google Drive: Read only on iOS (and with a poor folder experience), but the Android version lets you upload new files and edit your Google Docs that you have in Google Drive, and it looks and operates very similarly to the browser based desktop version. This is a great app for those with Android tablets, and it runs snappily on the Nexus 7. We wish all cloud storage apps took a cue from Google with the design of the Android version of Google Drive, as it works just as well as it looks, and it does look smart. The accompanying widgets are also quite useful in Jelly Bean and really help make the Nexus 7 experience much more productive. iPad and Android.

CX: While not winning any prizes for having a nicely designed UI (by far the worst of the apps we looked at), this is a great choice for those who need to manage personal and group cloud storage spaces. We liked that it was easy to upload photos and videos to either the shared group space (as well as to make comments on each file in sort of a group drive chat) as well as to the various folders that we had in our personal drive space. Like SkyDrive, you can also easily add folders from the app. The app does not feel as snappy as SkyDrive or Dropbox, and we imagine it is because CX, being the new kid on the block, is working on handling their large influx of new users (yeah, 10 free GB of cloud storage will do that to you). For iWork files, you can view and download them just as you would on Dropbox, and according to sources at CX and Otixo, WebDav support is coming very very soon, which means you'll be able to import iWork files you create on your iPad into CX. iPad and Android.

What cloud storage apps do you use on your tablet?

(Image: Joelle Alcaidinho)

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