- V3 Apps
Microsoft has launched its newly branded OneDrive, promising the updated service is its most advanced cloud storage solution to date. The updated OneDrive began rolling out at 8am on Android, Windows Phone, iOS and Windows 8.1.
Microsoft confirmed existing SkyDrive customers should be automatically updated to get the new services, but warned it may take longer for some applications to update to use the new OneDrive branding.
The update comes after Microsoft was ordered to rebrand its SkyDrive cloud storage service in 2013 after UK courts ruled that using the word 'sky' could lead customers to believe the service was provided by BSkyB.
Microsoft European product marketing director, Gabby Hegerty, told V3 the use of the word One is designed to reflect Microsoft's plans to help users seamlessly store and access files and data using multiple devices.
"The average user carries around three to four devices and our research shows these numbers are only going to grow in the future. The problem is this means we're storing our data in all sorts of places. This isn't ideal as it means you can't always access the content you want. A lost phone or device can also mean losing important files forever," she said. "That's where OneDrive comes in."
As well as a name change OneDrive features a number of enhanced productivity features, including real-time collaborative document-editing, video-transcoding technology and automatic photo-upload support on Android.
Automatic camera backup is a feature already included on the iOS, Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 versions of SkyDrive. The feature lets users set any device with the OneDrive application installed to automatically back up photo files to the cloud service immediately after they are taken.
Real-time collaborative document-editing is a feature similar to the one currently housed on competing cloud storage service Google Drive. The feature means users can now collaboratively edit documents using OneDrive's Office web apps with people they've shared them with in real time. Prior to the update users could collaborate on documents, but would have to refresh the page to see other people's changes.
The video-transcoding feature is a new technology developed by Microsoft and is designed to "make it as easy to share videos on OneDrive as it is photos".
Microsoft UK product marketing leads, Diane Rodin, explained: "Video-transcoding means OneDrive users can now share videos more easily. You could share videos before, but video files are heavy and it could take a long time for people you shared them with to be able to view them. The new video-transcoding technology senses the speed of the internet being used and tailors the video to work on it."
She added the technology means users should be able to stream videos on 3G networks seamlessly.
OneDrive is primarily a consumer product, though it is used by several small to medium-sized businesses. Hegerty told V3 the company will be revealing more details about its forthcoming OneDrive Pro business-focused service in March.
Hegerty added Microsoft currently has "no plans" to release OneDrive on BlackBerry OS or Firefox OS. Check back with V3 later for a hands-on review of Microsoft OneDrive.