This is a guest post authored by Cameron Tyler.
As the release of Windows 8 looms on the horizon, and consumers tinker with their preview builds, there is a tangible, nostalgic tension in the air.
Windows is looking to claim OS dominance back from Apple, just as Apple readies the release of their new OSX build, Mountain Lion.
This battle of goliaths is a throwback title fight that would pull in many spectators if it weren’t for the real battle being waged in the cloud.
Online file storage and cloud computing has set the tone for this era in technology. Microsoft’s SkyDrive will march into the cloudy milieu against the likes of Dropbox, Google Drive and an infinite number of cloud service providers that are injecting the market with great ideas and functionality to keep enterprise offerings on their toes.
YouSendIt’s file sync and Box’s open sharing options are forcing bigger players to more tightly integrate their software and cloud functionality. Microsoft SkyDrive and Windows 8 combine to support that goal.
Windows 8 is a version of the Microsoft Windows operating system that most integrates with mobile computing. In fact, it has a mobile device appearance to it user interface. Made to work with smartphones and tablets easily, this version of Windows was not created to just sit on the desktop.
It was always clear that mobile would significantly influence our tech lives. That influence is manifesting itself as the new features crawling into desktop operating systems from mobile devices.
Apple is importing more iOS functionality into OSX, and Microsoft has updated their entire ecosystem (Windows Phone, XBOX + Kinect, and Windows 8 ) to create a cohesive interface that mirrors mobile.
The most important piece in that puzzle is the integration of cloud capabilities.
Imagine staying up late one night working on a presentation for a business meeting the next day. You get up early and rush to work only to find that you forgot to put the presentation in the SkyDrive folder to be synced up with your work computer.
No problem, because a unique feature allows you to retrieve files from another device that has a SkyDrive folder on it. As long as your home computer is on, you can browse files as if you were sitting at home. Now you can find that presentation and save the business meeting!
Many other features make SkyDrive an important tool in a computing environment.
SkyDrive gives you 7GB of storage space, enough for hundreds of documents. If more storage is needed, other plans are available for an annual fee.
Sharing of files with other people is easy and they do not need a SkyDrive account. They will access your files through their browser via a link sent to them. No complicated instructions required; just point and click access.
Getting around the limitation of sending large files as attachments through email is made easy with SkyDrive. Do a file sync and send a link through email to files up to 300MB. The file sharing process allows the recipient to easily access your large files.
Microsoft Office Web Apps allows you to create, edit and share Microsoft Office documents in SkyDrive from your browser. A collaborative work environment can be created allowing several people to access and change documents.
The current Web apps tools include Word, Excel and PowerPoint, making this an ideal business office solution when many of the staff are on the road or in remote locations.
Many other file types are supported for viewing such as PDF, Open Document Format (ODF) and XML-based files. Multi-media files are supported and photos may even be set up to run as a slideshow out of SkyDrive.
With SkyDrive and other programs like YouSendIt integrating your files and all of the devices you use to access them, you become independent of how you get to your information.
Whether you are at home on your desktop, at work on your laptop, or in a restaurant with your smartphone, you have access to all of your important information, right when you need it.