What does MEGA mean for cloud storage and the mobile industry?Chase Bonar - Contributing Editor
It’s no secret that the amount of storage a smartphone offers plays a key role in the success of a device’s release. With the Nexus 4, customers were caught off guard by the lowest capacity option of 8GB. Customers had mixed reviews on the matter, but most were able to convince themselves that it wasn’t completely outrageous simply due to the dirt-cheap price point of $299. Though the price was a lure for some, others stuck with their guts that 8GB had no place in this day and age of full gigabyte mobile games, high-resolution images, and 1080p videos.
So they bought the 16GB Nexus 4 instead.
And to these very same people, I’d say it’s not the end of the world if you can’t store everything locally. In fact, your lack of adapting to cloud storage might be detrimental to how you’re living your digital life, and the future of your data. It might also temporarily limit your view of some devices coming out this year, and the year to follow, because if Kim Dotcom’s new start-up Mega can teach us anything, it’s that storing files locally is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Most recently, cloud storage has been a hot topic with Kim Dotcom’s newest start-up Mega. Mega is Dotcom’s answer to Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud. Except where Dropbox and Google Drive limit you to 2GB and 5GB initially, Mega offers 50GB of free storage to every user, just for signing up. Just for being you. Oh, you so kind, Mr. Dotcom.
To put it simply, Mega has the potential to change the way we think of the cloud and storage. And with Mega’s new encryption upon upload feature, each and every file is encrypted to help you can sleep at night. Dotcom hasn’t completely ignored the misfortune of Megaupload which should save face in customer’s minds and, hopefully, the Department of Justice should the need for a defense arise. Encryption is the main differentiator between Mega and Megaupload, Dotcom’s now defunct storage site, and is also being marketed as a difference to Mega’s cloud storage competitors.
Dotcom is playing this one close to the chest, but we all know he’s ostentatious enough to graciously pull it off, and frankly, I’d put some money on him.
But I’m not the most conservative guy you’ll ever meet, so your reasons against mine will be just as valid an argument, Mr. and Mrs. Reader.
If you had reservations about Megaupload just over a year ago when Dotcom was indicted by the DOJ for copyright infringement, you might have a reason to give the guy a second chance now for putting cloud storage front and center for the mobile industry. I think it’s going to change things and push Google Drive, Dropbox, and iCloud to remind consumers how they’re still relevant. Competition pushing innovation along – just one of many reasons why this industry is relevant to nearly everything we do in our digital lives!
Mega has the potential to change the world of mobile computing and the entire computer industry as we know it from this day on (presuming the DOJ has no say).
It’s important to mention that PC, Ultrabook, and smartphone manufacturers still have a reason to differentiate storage capacities among competitors and devices for a little while longer; there’s just less of a reason for them to continue throwing money at the semiconductor industry. Likewise, there is now an increased incentive to license Google Drive, Dropbox, or Mega after today. From an end user like HTC, or LG’s perspective, the thought of streamlining manufacturing processes and cutting back NAND-flash storage purchases is enticing. Of course this won’t happen overnight, but it is no doubt a clear message to the semiconductor industry as a unit that the cloud might soon take away some revenue from the industry. After all, the semiconductor industry revenue is down 2.3 percent over last year, bringing the tab in at $303 billion in 2012, so the outlook is looking increasingly volatile for 2013.
Most recently, and slightly more relevant than the Nexus 4 is the HTC DROID DNA which was very well received by consumers and reviewers alike this past holiday season. Among the (now) standard smartphone fare of 5-inch S-LCD3 displays, quad-core processors, and 2GB of RAM, the device offers just 16GB of onboard storage. Some people were caught off guard, but this just goes to prove that HTC may have been considering its long-term viability as a competitor by cutting costs ever-so-slightly to save in the long-run. If there’s anything we can learn from HTC, it’s that they are willing to offer a 64GB variant to refresh the device and keep it interesting towards the end of its lifecycle (ex. HTC One X+). So even though the Rumor Dog is on the look out for the DROID RNA (with increased on-board storage), there’s just less of a trail for our four-legged friend to follow.
Another way the mobile industry will be affected is with the release of a Mega app. No, you silly reader, I’m not talking about an amazingly, stupendous, and (insert common adjective here) app that does your laundry and waxes your unibrow; I’m talking about an app you’d save locally (ironic, now that I think about it). Though there is no inclination for a Mega mobile app, it’s safe to say that Mega’s similarity to its competitors may force Dotcom and Co. to bring one to the masses sooner rather than later if it wants to compete.
In this day and age, phone storage is a key factor in determining whether a phone is a good fit for your lifestyle or not. iPhones were the first devices to differentiate products with varying flash storage limits, and that holds true for most smartphones being released today as well.
With cloud storage gaining momentum, thanks to Kim Dotcom’s new endeavor Mega, how many of you think it will affect the way you choose your devices? Most importantly, how important will cloud storage be this year for the 2013 wave of smartphones? Could you care less about the cloud and it’s forecast, or are you mega-pumped for 50 free gee-bees? Let me know how you feel about Dotcom, his new start-up, the mobile industry, his silly name, and how you’re doing today, Dear Reader, in the comments below!