That Michael Arrington! The man, I’m told, is a machine. A veritable machine. And it’s delivered yet again — in the form of ZumoDrive.
Michael introduced them this afternoon in his TechCrunch post.
Here’s some of what he had to say:
Newcomer Zumodrive, from Y Combinator startup Zecter, enters this space with an interesting twist. Like other syncing services, Zumodrive creates a drive on your device that is synced to the cloud. But instead of syncing those files with all of your other devices, Zumodrive tricks the file system into thinking those cloud-stored files are local, and streams them from the cloud when you open or access them.
That’s not such a big deal when in comes to PC-to-PC syncing where hard drive storage isn’t an issue. But I have far more music files than will fit on even my laptop. Zumodrive lets me access them (even via iTunes) in a way that makes them appear local. And when it comes to netbooks and mobile devices with very limited hard drive space, Zumodrive is a Godsend. It just appears to make your hard drive limitless in size.
That’s it then.
There’s a nice clear dividing line between the old world and the new world.
This kind of service, in itself — storage/synchronisation — isn’t new. I’ve been a DropBox subscriber since they launched and a user of all manner of online storage services for years.
The FUNDAMENTAL problem is that I want everything in The Cloud. Everything.
I don’t want to mess around with personal storage. Personal storage on-device is like buying your own power station for your house. Anyone who carries round their data WITH them is living in the wrong century. The future is the cloud. When I need the data, I want it available immediately. I don’t want to sod about managing the memories of my mobile handset, desktop machine, home media server and so on. Stick it up in the cloud, give me lightning fast access to my data — and cache my most used files locally for efficiency.
I’ve been trying to do this for a while. I’m a big user of Amazon’s S3 storage. I have about 50 gig there. Accessing it is a bit of a pain, despite the JungleDisk system I use. The moment I click on a file, I’m punished while the operating system waits as the 73mb sound file has to download before I can do anything with it.
I’ve got another 30gb on DropBox. And recently I discovered how stupid that was when I opened up my Mac Air and found it had 15mb of memory left — because it synced every single file from DropBox overnight.
Last week I bought two iTunes albums. And that took me 100mb over the limit for my iPod. Now I have to choose what data I want to take with me. And that is highly unacceptable. The same way it takes 100 clicks to do anything on a Nokia handset. (Ok, so I am exaggerating that a little, Symbian fans).
But that brings me to Nokia. To the ‘old’ devices. To the ‘old Europe’ of the mobile world. Nokia, Sony, LG and to a large extent, Samsung. There’s your writing. That’s it — right there on the wall.
We’re going to the cloud and ZumoDrive is the first to actually point the way.
For $60 a month, you can store 200gb on ZumoDrive. You can stick your whole iTunes album into it, for example, and access it from whatever machine or device you’re using.
Uh oh — we’ve almost found ourselves into next generation territory! If I can use ZumoDrive to browse, send, look at and play/view any of my files on my iPhone 3G, now you’re kicking. I’m not sure if this will work yet. I’m going to give it a go and see.
There’s issues with the whole cloud thing, certainly. Especially when you live in the United Kingdom provinces and have an 8mb broadband connection that actually delivers about 35k/sec down and a similar rate up. That’s not *quite* going to be that useful with ZumoDrive at the moment. And yes, the reputed 7mbps ‘in the lab’ mobile broadband speeds offered by the operators here in the UK isn’t quite anywhere near the sort of throughput that you’d ideally want — and my measurement is being able to sit on the train and say to yourself, ‘Right, let’s watch a bit of that Batman movie with Heath Ledger in it. Now.’
I won’t be satisfied until I can flick open my device, find the movie in 3 seconds and have it start playing in HD quality (on a, granted, small screen) within 10 seconds. I think 10 seconds is a suitable amount of time to allow. Right now, what are the chances of this being successful? Limited.
But we’re getting there. And services like ZumoDrive are the way ahead. It’s the file spoofing that makes the leap for ZumoDrive. The ability to ‘have’ 200gb of files accessible without actually storing them directly and fully in your device memory.
The implications for the development of the mobile industry are very, very exciting. But game changing. If you think (as I do) that ShoZu, for example, is a good thing — i.e. getting data OFF your phone — how are we going to react when EVERYTHING we create, video, pictures, audio, whatever — is stored and immediately accessible from whatever device we want. Your television, your phone, your laptop, your fridge, your wifi photoframe, your HD digital camera. Screw being limited by physical memory. Screw tapes. Screw the wire.
Right. Having said that, let’s have a butchers, (translation: ‘a butchers’ = ‘a look’) at the install of ZumoDrive.
After install, here’s the first screen.
How big would you like your ZumoDrive to be?
I went straight to the bottom of the list and selected 200gb for $60. Then it asked for my card details right away and I panicked
So I selected 1gb to begin with. Free. Ok account created.
Then, yeah, this is fairly standard stuff – I need to name my computer.
And here’s the explanation of ZumoDrive and the benefits.
And a further illustration.
Ok, that’s it all installed. I decided just to ‘finish’. I’ll try it out on the iPhone and other machines soon. Note you can get it on a PC as well as a Mac.
I opened up the ZumoDrive, found a presentation hanging around on my desktop and dragged it over.
Then I opened up the ZumoDrive control panel and had a look. There we go — that’s it loading mobile.ppt up to the cloud.
I had a click through the various settings. My mouth dropped open at this option though:
RIGHT on. YES please. BRILLIANT.
iTunes ‘synching’. Now, if I can access ANY of my music from my iPhone,… geez that would be really cool.
Right now I’m not entirely sure if this is supported yet. If it is, genius. If not, I’m sure it’ll be coming.
Get yourself over to ZumoDrive if time permits and grab a copy. Let me know what you think. You’ll need Michael’s promo code — ireadtc2 — but you better be quick as I’m sure they’ll be gone in minutes.
More on ZumoDrive soon.
Update: Can’t check out the iPhone application yet as beta invites for that have now closed. But I can tell you they’re also working on an Android app. YES please.
Update 2: The ZumoDrive chaps are sending me a copy of the iPhone app. Plus read Mike’s story now in the Washington Post.