Head Out Of The Clouds: Why Local Storage Matters

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Getting Real With The Cloud

Smartphones, tablets and computers are constantly consuming and creating more and more content. And with that comes massive amounts of data consumption. The amount of sharing that takes place on today's smartphones and tablets is astounding, and every instance of that requires data -- and storage. Lately, it seems as if companies are dealing with these new realities by leaning heavily on the cloud. But trusting your precious data solely to the cloud can be a risky bet.

Looking specifically at the iPhone 5, the Galaxy S III, the new iPad and pretty much every flagship mobile device that has shipped in the last six months, one thing that we expected was more local storage. After all, 64GB has been the top end storage option for most devices these last few years. Surely Apple would increase the internal storage after two full years, right? Wrong. And Apple isn't alone. Flagship phones from HTC, LG, Samsung and others are all stopping at 64GB yet again. Is more storage space necessary for most people? Of course not, and you may argue that keeping any more than 64GB worth of data on your mobile device isn't wise -- after all, what if you lose it? But to me, that's beside the point. Cloud storage needs to grow with mobile/local storage. If there's a 64GB device, there should be an accompanying service that provides 64GB of cloud backup to provide the best of both worlds: lots of storage on-hand, and the ability to rest easy that everything is backed up remotely.

Files are growing larger, not smaller. Increasing screen resolutions are encouraging us to load full HD movies onto our phones. Increasingly large e-mail inboxes are taking up more room. Higher quality MP3 collections are bulging. And when you look at the general trend in SSDs and HDDs, you see that capacity is still important. No hard drive maker comes out with a new storage device that's smaller than the one the company shipped a year ago. So if the HDD and SSD world understands that bigger is better when it comes to storage, why hasn't the mobile world grasped the concept?
I'm starting to believe that we have "the cloud" to blame. Storing files in offsite locations, accessible via the Internet, is becoming increasingly more common. But only in the past couple of years has the cloud truly taken the mainstream by storm. It has been pitched as a savior to storage. It seems limitless, and ubiquitous. Just store a song or file in the cloud, and access it from anywhere. If it's so easy, why even bother with internal storage? Why would you tie files locally to a single device when you could simply access it in the cloud?  I have a few thoughts on that as well.

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