How will cloud-based services evolve in the mobile market?Evan Selleck - Contributing Editor
The cloud has evolved into a permanent fixture in our mobile world, and many people using their mobile phones see it as an important feature that they cannot live without. Whether it’s just an easy way to back-up their contacts, emails, or other important information, the cloud is an easy way to make sure that your stuff is protected, just in case tragic events ruin your device. And as we march forward, the cloud’s involvement in our day-to-day lives increases, with applications making it even easier to access our data, music, and pictures from a remote source right from our phones whenever we want. New services, and even rumors suggesting companies like Apple will focus more on the cloud in the coming months, show that the cloud is becoming more important in quick fashion.
When speaking about the cloud, it’s hard to ignore applications like Dropbox, where gaining access to your remotely stored documents, music, videos, and photos is just as easy as opening up an application and signing in. This is one reason that the cloud has taken off so successfully, so quickly. The fact that storing your important stuff in a remote location, and being able to access it so easily in so many different ways makes it so that even the most average of users can get to their data when they need it.
New services, like Amazon’s Cloud Player, show that people want to have even more options when it comes to the cloud. Streaming music may not be exactly new, but considering the hard push that Apple, and even Microsoft, has had in storing your music on your computer (and then on your device of choice), it’s interesting to see that the service and remote storage of music is taking off so quickly. People are accustomed to storing their music locally, and having it easily accessible when they need it. Now they don’t have to use the storage space on their mobile device, but can still play their music when they want it.
And now Apple’s apparently getting into the cloud game, too. And beyond just MobileMe’s basic services, which floundered due to a high yearly cost. With the locker service, MobileMe subscribers will be able to store their music in the cloud, and then download it whenever they want. They’ll also be able to stream it to their iDevice, too, which is the kicker. With Apple rumored to be jumping on the bandwagon of streaming from the cloud, it’s no surprise to me that the cloud is going to become even more popular and useful in the future.
But what can the cloud do for us that it doesn’t already do? How can the cloud become more useful, more streamlined into our lives? And more importantly, how can phone manufacturers incorporate the feature into our devices? As cloud-based services become more practical and standard, the differences will come in the way that manufacturers and designers implement the remote storage into our devices. People won’t want to depend on an application all the time, so being able to use cloud storage from a feature embedded in our phone’s user interface will be the future. Especially when it comes to the way that cloud-based services are integrated into the different mobile operating systems out there; if Apple can integrate the service into iOS, think about the way that HP can do it into webOS, or Google into Android (more so than they do now).
Do you use cloud-based services on a daily basis? Or have you yet to jump on the bandwagon? If you do use the cloud, how would you like to see it implemented on our mobile devices? Let me know in the comments where you think the cloud stands for the future of mobile devices, and how important you think the remote storage is for our mobile devices.