The problem with Carousel, the new app from Dropbox released today to organize, present, and share photos isn’t the app itself, it’s what it’s built on.
Carousel is a fantastic app for mobile presentation of photos. Quick and easy to find old photos and show and share them. It’s really one of the better cloud photo apps I’ve tried. The real problem is that it’s build on Dropbox, which is a service created for cloud storage of documents and not for media. And that service is still priced for documents and not media.
Let me back up a second. Dropbox is an amazing service. I’ve used it and paid for it for years. But I’ve never considered it a great place to store photos, video, or other media files. The problem is that is is really expensive right now. In a time where Google is charging $10/month for a terabyte, and Flickr gives every user a free terabyte for images, Dropbox is charging 10x what Google is, and without upgrading to a business plan users can’t even get more then 500GB in an account (for $50/month).
Media piles up quickly. Especially so with photos since every reader of this blog likely has a camera with them at all times of the day, every day. I myself have well over 700GB of images that I’ve stored up from 10+ years of digital photography. I’ve just now started scanning old family photos and there are thousands of those waiting to be completed. All in all I’ll probably need close to a terabyte for just my images to store a “lifetime of memories.” And that doest even count the birthday, vacation, and all the other special occasion videos. This type of media is easier and easier to take and edit, but they will also fill up a Dropbox account very quickly.
So for now, Carousel is a great app, if you have a few hundred photos, but it doesn’t really fit the first selling point that Dropbox is touting it as, it doesn’t allow a lifetime of memories. That is unless you don’t have a lot of memories.
I think Dropbox will be forced into dropping their prices soon. Perhaps they are ready to do it now but didn’t want to take the focus away from the new features. Cloud storage is a commodity, and Dropbox is way overpriced right now.
The advantage to Cloud storage is the ability to consult files from anywhere that offers an internet connection. The disadvantage is trying to keep all these files in some kind of order, ever easy to check in with.
iExplorer HD sets out to make such things that bit simpler. It’s an iPad app that lets its users view all their files from within the one app, whether they be located on an FTP server, SkyDrive, Google Docs, DropBox, CloudMe or numerous other services.
It’ll help out during a multitude of situations such as for work purposes or just for using the iPad as a PDF reader or media player. A file viewer means iExplorer HD should be able to open pretty much any file format possible from PDF to iWork or Office files. There’s even a built in code viewer with syntax highlighting for languages such as Objective C, Java, PHP and more.
With such a well rounded complement of functions, iExplorer HD should help many a work focused iPad user. It’s out now, priced at $4.99.
It’s pretty much inevitable that technology is moving towards the cloud. How it gets there however is still anyone’s guess. Services like Apple’s upcoming iCloud have users rent out third-party servers to share their content. The latest update to Wyse Technology’s PocketCloud app, version 2.2, takes a different approach: instead of buying someone else’s space users just create their own.
Free for the first month and $1 a month afterwards, the new PocketCloud allows users to turn existing storage on their hard drives, computers, tablets and smartphones into personal cloud space. This frees users from third-party control and privacy issues. A professional version is also available For $14.99 a month that includes enhanced security features and support for additional computer connections.
PocketCloud has already been downloaded over 1.5 million times since debuting on the App Store and Android Market back in December. This update still contains the virtual desktop features that sold people on the app in the first place as well as new in app purchases and support for iPad 2 video mirroring among other new features. However, the biggest thing about this latest update is that what began as a mere virtual desktop has become a potentially viable alternative to big cloud storage providers.