Microsoft has revamped SkyDrive with a new UI and updated the website's design in preparation for the Windows 8 launch, with a SkyDrive Android App launch imminent. 

A new tablet computer, as well as a new Office version are the other two big launches Microsoft has in the works, so the SkyDrive updates are part of a series of changes preparing for the upcoming super busy end of year push.

Don't Call it Metro

The Metro label Microsoft had been using to describe its Windows Phone and Windows 8 design may be on its way out, but whatever it's called, the look has now come to SkyDrive. Additionally, for those who have downloaded SkyDrive to their Windows desktop or Mac OS X, there are a couple of changes to photo uploads and a performance tweak.

The tile based design should now look similar across all Windows devices, which is precisely the point. By using the same design everywhere, Microsoft could be the first to offer the same experience wherever people interact with its products. In the cloud, online or on the desktop, the one interface to rule them all concept should be especially powerful for Microsoft. 

screenshot-skydriveui-2012.jpg

Files and folders now default to the new tile based layout.

Particularly when it comes to mobile, this principle is key. Windows rules the desktop computer world, so if Microsoft can get even a fraction of those desktop users to try either a Windows Phone or some version of the so-called Surface tablet, Microsoft could become the number one mobile hardware company. 

Android App and New SkyDrive Features

An Android SkyDrive version is not quite ready yet, so the browser version will have to suffice for now. Anyone familiar with either the iOS or windows Phone versions of SkyDrive will notice a similar feel with the Android app. Android SkyDrive users can look forward to uploading files, sharing SkyDrive files with Send a Link and opening SkyDrive files from other apps. Furthermore, the Android version will feature save, share and upload files to SkyDrive from other apps.

screenshot-skydriveandroid-2012.jpg

SkyDrive for Android should launch in a few weeks, according to The Windows Blog.

Besides the new design for SkyDrive.com, there's a handful of new features like search, a contextual toolbar and multi-select drag and drop. The final new feature here is the ability to more easily sort photos in the SkyDrive camera roll folder. The new sorting option shows the newest photos first, and folders can be customized with the optimal sorting order.

Developers and SkyDrive App

SkyDrive developers now have full control over photo upload resolution, and there are no more restrictions on the types of files apps can upload. A new SkyDrive API also includes a file picker that can open and save files to SkyDrive using a JavaScript embed in any website. 

SkyDrive the app has a new performance tweak that should help decrease CPU load for those with large file stores or with older hardware. Microsoft also announced it is working on a feature to allow for choosing which folders SkyDrive syncs to a PC. This will be handy for those who don't want personal files syncing to a work PC. Tell us in the comments what cloud storage system you use and what are the easiest or most painful things to do with it.