unifi_logo_2011.jpgFamous for its Real Player media app, Real Networks switches from commercial media content to your own content, making it accessible anywhere with a brand new service.

Unite Your Devices

An upcoming cloud service, Unifi aims to do what other storage services (such as Dropbox) do but with a reduced emphasis on the actual storage. Instead, each of your devices, from the desktop PC to a laptop, to a smartphone or tablet, or a web service like a Flickr account, gets a small app or widget installed.

This app creates a metatag (think smart shortcut icon) for each of your files and it is this snippet of information that is stored in the cloud. To access a file, you click on it from the destination device and it can be uploaded from the originating device to the cloud. Then, either view it directly from the cloud or download it to the device, to your Facebook account or elsewhere.

The current focus is on photos, music and movies but it could easily be expanded to cover documents and data for content migration. One question already answered, but not explained, is that you can play content purchased on an iPhone or other device on a different destination device, something that could be a big unique selling point.

unifiscreen.jpg
One day, perhaps, all our files will live like this
 

A Real Solution?

Of course, if you want, you can store a bunch of files in the cloud, ready to go and Unifi offers 2GB of free storage, and plans to make money by offering upgrades to this. Currently in beta, Unifi is accepting invites for testing and is expected to launch soon.

You might also be asking what happens if the originating device is switched off. One solution is automatic uploading of images or music as you take them, but it'll take some practical experience to more directly answer that.

However, as Real Networks has decades of managing data pinging around the web and Unifi picked up a Best of CES award for software, services and applications, it should have plenty of pedigree. Among the devices mentioned as being supported are Android and iOS devices, so expect Unifi to make a bit of splash when it launches for real.