October 18, 2011, 3:48 PM — Last week Apple made the cloud cool with the launch of iCloud. Apple's iCloud is certainly not the first cloud syncing and storage service, but the Apple stamp of approval moves the concept from cutting edge fringe into the tech mainstream. Cloud storage rivals are ready to take advantage of the spotlight on cloud syncing and storage, and go head to head with iCloud with new offers and services of their own.
The beauty of iCloud is that it seamlessly syncs and backs up data on iOS devices. iCloud makes it easier to keep contacts, calendars, emails, pictures, documents and more in sync between an iPhone, iPad, and Mac or Windows PC. The downside of iCloud is that--aside from the tie-in with Windows PCs--it is Apple-centric.
Apple provides 5GB of iCloud storage for free, and users can get an additional 10GB for $20 a year, 20GB for $40 per year, and 50GB for $100 per year.
I have talked with Box.net co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie about the advent of iCloud. The impact of Apple as a competitor can't be ignored, but Levie was more excited than worried. He was excited because iCloud puts a spotlight on cloud syncing and storage and brings attention to the concept which benefits Box.net in the long run.
To capitalize on the launch of iCloud, Box.net is offering iOS users 50GB of storage free for life--a savings of $100 a year over iCloud. More important for many customers, Box.net is platform agnostic with tools for accessing and syncing data from Android tablets and smartphones, BlackBerry smartphones, the BlackBerry PlayBook, and the HP TouchPad tablets, in addition to iOS, Mac OS X, and Windows.
A newcomer on the cloud scene, CX--actually branded as "C to the X power", offers 10GB of cloud storage and the ability to create unlimited groups to share data for free. I haven't actually used CX yet, but judging from the site it seems to be similar in scope and capabilities to Box.net.