The cloud storage wars continue to escalate. This week, online storage and collaboration provider MediaFire announced it was offering 50 GB of free storage for Android devices.
The MediaFire for Android app, which is now available in the Google Play Store, joins the company's existing iOS app for iPhones and iPads.
President and CEO Derek Labian said in statement that the new app offered "desktop capabilities in a mobile experience" so that Android users can now "quickly and securely store, backup , organize and share all of their personal and work data anywhere, anytime."
200 MB File Limit
The new release allows users to store any type of file, upload photos or video directly to storage from the camera via the app, create and manage folders, search files or folders, view images in a gallery format, send files to storage from Facebook or Twitter, or send and share files through e-mail, SMS, links or other Android apps.
MediaFire cannot accommodate batch uploads, as can, say, competitor Dropbox, although Dropbox only offers up to 2GB of storage free. Google Drive, by comparison, offers what had previously been one of the largest free storage sizes, 5 GB.
But free MediaFire accounts have a 200MB file size limit and they display ads. A user could choose to have a paid personal account for $1.50/month with a year membership, which allows up to 1 GB for uploads and removes ads. There are also 6-month Pro accounts at $4.50/month and 3-month Business accounts at $24.50/month.
There's no sync feature in MediaFire, as there is in Dropbox. In order to keep the file versions the same on all of your compatible devices, you need to keep them in sync manually. A MediaFire executive has told news media that a sync capability is in the works, although it's not clear if it would be available for free accounts.
'Sky's the Limit'
Free accounts also have a limit on long-term storage at MediaFire, in that a user is e-mailed if an account is left inactive for a year, in which case MediaFire will notify the user that it might remove the files. Free users also have archiving limits, and can have no more than 15 one-time links daily.
Laura DiDio, an analyst with industry research firm Information Technology Intelligence Consulting, noted that the biggest issues for businesses and consumers are access to storage wherever they may be, which the various cloud services are accommodating, and the time/cost on the part of a user or company to maintain and manage the data. With terabyte drives running as little as $80, the hardware cost of storage has become a much smaller issue than ever before.
She expects that the online storage competition will continue to leapfrog in storage sizes and other features. "When it comes to cloud storage," DiDio told us, "the sky's the limit."
Online storage services are attempting to avoid becoming commodities, where users only compare free/paid storage limits against price. Services are adding varieties of syncing, sharing, collaboration, presentation features and security, as well as targeting different markets.
Box, for instance, is focused on the business market, and Dropbox has largely taken the lead in the consumer space. Other cloud-based providers include Microsoft 's SkyDrive, Samsung's S-Cloud service, Apple's iCloud, and Amazon's Cloud Drive.