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Great apps for cloud storage on your Android device

by Larry Sullivan

Cloud storage has become big business over the last couples years. Being able to save, share and transfer files over the Internet provides users with a great deal of flexibility, security and extra storage space. I have been using cloud storage for years, and find the service invaluable. Being able to access files over my phone, laptop, desktop and now Android tablet is important.

Right now there are many, many different cloud storage options available to you. Which should you choose? It depends on what you need it to do. I have tried a number of them. None are perfect but some do stand out.

Dropbox (Free)

Dropbox is the perfect choice for personal use. A free account comes with 2GB of storage. You can also earn free space from their referral program (up to 8GB). If you need more, you can purchase 50GB for $9.99/mo. Desktop installation is very simple. It creates a shared folder on your computer that connects to your Dropbox cloud. Simply put a file in the box and it is automatically synced to the cloud and all devices currently connected. You can share files and folders and does provide you with a file history.

Dropbox does have an Android app. It is a basic app and is easy to view, download, access and share files with it. A recent update made the interface better but there is still room for improvement. What won me over is the auto sync feature, plus the lack of having to open a new program to access the cloud. I need to easily move files from my PC to my tablet and phone.

Note: There are a number of other services which offer similar services such as, SugarSync, Goaruna, Wuala. Many have a free account, so you can try them.

Box (Free)

Box is probably the best choice for the business user. Yes, they do have a free account (5GB) but what stands out is the number of options available. With Box, you can share secure files, it allows for feedback (adding comments) to files, has an auto sync feature, and what they call a sales force area which is a project management section. Of course there is a monthly fee for all of this.

They have an Android app, which is very basic. It allows for viewing and sharing files. You can work on these files also, if you have the appropriate program. Nothing super fancy here, since most of the key features only accessible from the desktop.

ASTRO File Manager (Free)

ASTRO File Manager is probably the most popular file management system out there for Android devices. They just recently added a new option to their app, ASTRO Backup. Right now, you will need to sign up for the service but if you use ASTRO file management, it is worth it. With their cloud service, you can backup single or multiple files from your Android device and of course view them. The neatest feature is the Cloud Trash Can. When you delete a file via ASTRO, it will go to your trash can in your cloud. So if you accidentally deleted a file, you can easily recover it. I wish I had that a while back when I lost some photos.  Being able to delete files from your phone or tablet without worry is big. Right now it appears you are limited to 200MB. The app is free and ad-supported.

ZeroPC Cloud Navigator HD (Free)

This is probably the most unique service I have found for cloud management. ZeroPC is a service that will allow you to access all of your cloud services under one roof: Dropbox, Google Docs, Evernote, Box, Flickr, Picasa, SugarSync and more! Being able to access all with one account is cool. The system runs in the browser on your PC and creates what they call a virtual desktop. You can simply drop and drag files to move them. You can setup your email in the system and use ThinkFree Office also from within the desktop. Once you log into the various services, your files will be accessible from ZeroPC.

You can sign up for a free account which allows you 39GB of storage space from your current cloud services, plus 1GB of their storage. There is also a limit on file size: 25MB. You can, of course, upgrade the account via their credit system, but is seems very reasonable.

The ZeroPC Android app is only available for Android tablets. The app is optimized for the large tablet screen and is very nicely done. The interface is easy to use and you can quickly find files from your different services. No need for multiple cloud apps on your tablet with ZeroPC! This service is pretty new so we will see how it grows.

Cloud services are very handy for storing and sharing files. Most do provide a free basic account, but there are differences and you should spend some time researching what you want to do with your cloud and then see which service will help you accomplish that goal. Accessing your cloud via Android is an option but from what I have seen there is room for growth.