In this week’s Mobile App of the Week, we look at the recently released Android app version of Bitcasa, a cloud storage application.
As more and more businesses lean towards collaboration and cloud based services, their tools have to be able to go where employees do. With this thought in mind, dozens of document management and cloud storage applications -- such as Box, Google Drive and Skydrive -- have launched new programs so that files, such as PowerPoint presentations, Word documents and photos can be easily stored and accessed from any device.
Bitcasa was launched in 2011 as a web-based tool. While other storage platforms limit the amount of space that users have to store files, Bitcasa wanted to offer its users unlimited storage. With the Bitcasa Infinite drive, users can store all file types -- from documents and presentations to videos and mp3 files -- without worrying they will run out of space or have to back up their files somewhere else.
The Android version of Bitcasa doesn't differ much from its web counterpart, as it's still merely a share and store application. Some of the features include:
- The ability to "favorite" a local copy of a file so that it can be accessed and viewed offline.
- Files can be shared with anyone, even if they don’t have a Bitcasa account.
- Data is organized by file type, so for example, all of the mp3 files are grouped together.
- Access to Bitcasa’s Infinite Drive feature, which acts as an external hardrive so files can be accessed from other platforms.
- All files are encrypted and automatically backed up to avoid an accidental deletion.
Currently, the only mobile app available for Android users (version 2.3 or higher) can be found in the Google Play store. It has a rating of 3.4.
According to Bitcasa’s website, they have plans to release an Apple version in the coming months.
As a storage app, Bitcasa is very basic and easy to use, but it does have a couple areas that need improvement or issues could arise.
- Despite saying that users have unlimited storage, there is one underlying condition to this feature. Starting in early 2013, users can have up to 10GB free or unlimited storage for US$ 10 per month.
- When compared to other tools, like Dropbox, the upload speed tends to be slow, even if it is a small file.
Overall, there isn't anything that sets Bitcasa apart from the previously mentioned applications. Despite being marketed as an app with unlimited storage, users have to pay for that feature. In retrospect, the 10GB of free data space is a bit of an improvement over other options like the 5GB offered by Google Drive.
If you’re someone who doesn't have a lot of business files to manage and currently have a similar app, I’d stay with what you have -- Bitcasa isn't worth the extra money. But if you’re someone who has to manage a large number of or larger files, the US$ 10 fee might be a good investment.