Comparing cloud services on the BlackBerry Q10

Local storing, shmocal storing. Access your files remotely with these BlackBerry Q10 cloud apps. 

By Simon Sage on 7 May 2013 12:49 pm EDT
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We’ve gone through Dropbox’s integration on BlackBerry 10 and touched on the Box preload in our Z10 review, and poked around at third party apps like PlayCloud that provide access to SkyDrive, Google Drive, and SugarSync. What we haven’t done is pit them all against one another and see how they run on the recently-launched BlackBerry Q10. 

Cloud services are now an integral part of BlackBerry 10. Even if you haven't used them in the past, you should really be taking advantage of the great functionality they now offer on BlackBerry.

Stay with us as we run through it all and break down the cloud services offered on BlackBerry 10.

 

Dropbox and Box on the BlackBerry Q10

Dropbox is the go-to cloud storage solution for most folks. If you’re especially techy, odds are good that you’ve amassed quite a bit of space by taking part in promotions or inviting friends to sign up. Even if you haven’t, Dropbox gives you 2 GB for free. It benefits from a simple, strong web interface, and clients for just about every platform.

Surprisingly, Box has the edge in terms of sheer functionality. Unlike the Dropbox BlackBerry 10 app, Box has toggles available to sync up videos and pictures, either when you’re on a cell network or Wi-Fi only if you want to save banwidth and battery.

We were hoping that by the time BlackBerry 10.1 hit we’d see Dropbox adding those features, but apparently not. This might be a dealbreaker for those that need something that automatically backs up pictures. As for capacity, many PlayBook owners took advantage of a free 50 GB promotion Box was offering awhile back, which is more than enough for most folks. Even if you missed it, Box gives you 5 GB for free.

File Manager on the BlackBerry Q10

As for the front-end, both of these services are being accessed through the native BlackBerry 10 File Manager. Dropbox and Box both have their own tabs. They also have this Pin function which automatically downloads your cloud files to your BlackBerry Q10 so that you don’t have to count on a connection to get the files you need. Pinning also uploads certain types of files.

For now, that’s only Box with pictures and videos. Be careful, though; I checked off the pin and when I realized that I didn’t want to download several GB of files to my phone, I couldn’t cancel the transfer. If you’re in the same boat, just sit through it and you’ll be able to unpin shortly.

PlayCloud on the BlackBerry Q10

You can also get access to SugarSync, SkyDrive, and Google Drive through a popular third-party file manager called PlayCloud. A major benefit PlayCloud has over the official clients is the ability to enable sharing of specific folders and generate links to share out to contacts that need to get their mitts on something. You can also link in DropBox and Box if you’d rather have everything in the same place, and if you need some more technical remote file access,

Dropbox, Box, SugarSync, and SkyDrive all have desktop counterparts which can monitor and sync specific folders. On Windows 8, that includes the usual hassle of having a Start menu version of the app if you want to be able to check files at a glance through a sidebar, and a separate desktop app if you want to automatically sync folders. On the plus side, once it's all set up, you've got a clear flow of files from your BlackBerry Q10 back to home base. Also, remember that if these services aren’t really your bag, you’ve got the ability to be your own cloud provider thanks to the new wireless file access feature in Link. The only real caveat there is that you've got to meddle around with your firewall a fair bit (or disable it entirely) to get it to work. 

Personally, I like the Link solution best. For accessing shared assets, obviously stuff like Dropbox is ideal, but generally speaking, what I want to do is tunnel right to my computer, without having to deal with additional desktop clients or worrying if the file I'm looking for had been synced recently. That's something Link remote file access stands to provide so long as your computer's on. Hey, that's just me, though - how do you guys store and access files in the cloud? Is there a service that isn't yet represented on BlackBerry 10? Do the existing solutions offer everything you're looking for? 

Reader comments

Comparing cloud services on the BlackBerry Q10

54 Comments

I don't use cloud based services on my smartphone. Haven't grown to trust them however I think it's getting to the point where I need to start. Maybe once I get my US AT&T Q10....argh!!!!!!! I will set it up. FIRTST!!

Congrats on being firtst, lol. :-P

Yah, AT&T better release the Q10 soon, I'm on the same boat as you dude...

I have been liking the Dropbox functionality, as I don't require auto backup of files...and their ongoing promo of adding more space to your account when your friends simply install the client to receive your file sharing is nice!

Z10-ing it all the way...

Posted via CB10

I flirted with cloudy stuff briefly, but now that there's no option on BB10 to limit MMS to SMS size for sending, the point for me was to share videos mainly, and none of then seemed to offer this (or it seemed to much trouble to bother), so dropped them. Just use YouTube now. Work's well, and they can stay private if you choose.

You used HOW much lube?

I switched to Box from Dropbox when they promoted their 50G PlayBook account and I'm sticking to it since, i came to love the richest services that Box offers and it is my favorite service now. Dropbox is great anyways. Looking forward For the laptop sync.

Posted via CB10

I use a combination of DropBox and Box for personal stuff, love the 50GB storage on Box but hate that it doesn't have a proper desktop client, so for documents I prefer DropBox. Although, the Box integration on Microsoft Office on my Windows 8 laptop is quiet handy. Use SkyDrive for work related stuff. Hoping once 10.1 officially hits for the Z10, I can just set up the Link share to have access to my SkyDrive from my laptop.

Use SkyDrive currently for a lot of my personal side projects (stuff that doesn't really need to be mobile). Use Google Drive for sharing files with a couple of co-workers (stuff that doesn't really need to be mobile). Have Box set up, boosted to 25GB thanks to having an HP desktop, on my Z10 for the automatic photo and video uploads, which is rare anyway since I have a DSLR for most of my photography. Technically still have a DropBox account but haven't used in a while.

I started with Sky drive, but had to drop it when sync failed too often - apparently it's a known issue. I switched to Box, as it has the most features and, at the time was the only one with a native BB10 app. It's been great, reliable. Between that, Evernote and LastPass I am almost completely synced. Now just my favorites!

Posted via CB10

Box with the free 50th and Windows auto sync all works a treat for me. As the old Martini advert said, any time, any place anywhere...perfect.

Posted via CB10

I prefer the Link method as well, but for me it's limited given that I'm on Verizon. Oh well, I'm sure there will be a fix and enhancements to the experience in the near future. For now I primarily rely on Dropbox.

Although the file manager in BB10 is MUCH better than the one on the PBOS, I wonder if we'll ever see Innovatology's Files & Folders app? I'm sure they're in the process of porting it over now but I'm kinda surprised it's not available already...

Posted via CB10 & loving it!

I've been using Dropbox as my main file repository for my work and personal files for years. Loving the BB10 integration.

Posted via CB10

I like both box and dropbox but they aren't good for bigger file sizes (such as movies). I've recently tried pogoplug and I like it because there is no limit to the file sizes. There is a current promotion on right now where you can get 20 free GB's just for signing up. Here is the link:
https://pogoplug.com/promo/cnet20
The only downside is that you have to sideload the pogoplug android app, but it works pretty good. You can find the .bar file on the good ereader website.

Great find...this is exactly what i was looking for without resorting to youtube and others that have a file size limit... Also, you don't really need the app if you just bookmark the site in your browser... The only strange thing is that clicking on your username on the top left shows your account as having 5g available... I hope it's just a glitch.

We use Dropbox teams with a Terabyte or two of storage and it works well for the company however, and correct me if I'm wrong but Dropbox still can't retrieve files deeper than 3 file folders deep. So Dropbox is limited right now so Play Cloud works the best on my Z10 and Blue Box on my Playbook. No perfect answer yet. Haven't really looked at Box.net.

Posted by my awesome Z10

I've had to use Google Drive for the last year because my university is deeply integrated with Google Apps. Its been getting better but definitely has its shortcomings. I will be switching to Box or Dropbox whenever I get my hands on a Q10!

I use both dropbox and box cause they're both so well integrated in the Z10 and I get a combined 7Gb. Would've used skydrive, too bad it's missing. Unfortunately the only one that's also available on Playbook is box, so that's my main one.

Google drive s i upload files to it from my travels. So for everyone to use them I upload them. So play cloud is for me.

Posted via CB10

I'm LOVING the BlackBerry Link option!
I no longer use the cloud because I no longer need to, I just go strait to the original files and open/edit them right there. The integration is so seamless it's almost like they are on your device (the only difference is slight lag associated with the upload/download)

....did have some problems getting it to work properly though...for the first few days it was very unstable, but that seems to have rectified it's self without me doing anything (must have been on BlackBerry's side)

Posted via CB10

I would love to know how did you solve the issue. I am currently unable to access the files remotely on my PC! :(
I practically tried every trick in the book to solve it but with no results. When I click on my PC in file manager, I just get a blank white screen. I am running my Z10 (T-Mobile) on the leaked 10.1.0.1483 version. Appreciate any help on this

you need to open your firewall.... there is a post on this somewhere where i recently posted screenshots when i finally got it to work

The thing I'm REALLY looking for is a way to access Amazon Cloud Drive on my Z10. Anybody know of any options out there?

What I don't understand us why BlackBerry is limiting their reach. Both SkyDrive and Google Drive have APIs for access and management. Instead of crossing their fingers and waiting for apps, BlackBerry should seriously consider adding these services to the File Manager.

PlayCloud supports all this cloud services

So I don't think that BlackBerry should work on this feature. But on other missing application or features, mainly if there isn't a third application.

Today, no tool to edit a video, resize, crop... invocation framework should be improve...

Posted via CB10

Thanks Simon for the good post. Could you look into the printer option? I'm highly interested in being able to print directly from our BB10 device. Hopefully it's a way for us to print our documents. Thanks.

Don't forget that none of these services are very secure. Only save public files on there, unless you're not worried of finding private pictures in forums somewhere.

BB10 should support WebDAV by default. Right now we have to use 3rd party apps for that.

When I first signed up for Box, with 50 GB, they limited individual files to 25 MB, so the service was pretty much useless to me as I have lots of Ppt presentations. So I started using Dropbox, and in spite of only 2 GB space, I've been very happy with it.

So how do people sync movies? A movie file can easily exceed the remaining space on Dropbox, and transferring to Box is out of the question.

Posted via CB10

Don't do the mistake I did and delete the "Connect to Dropbox" app!!!! Then Dropbox is gone and can't be reinstalled - only an "update" thru the BlackBerry Link software will restore it. Major bug!

Thumbs up for Box.
I have a personal account with 50gb with the PlayBook promotion and with blackberry balance/BES10 I have a separate BOX account for corporate data Our corporate Quota is 1TB.
Complete segregation of work/ play with balance and the native integration is really nice. Along with the on board storage on Z10,64GB SanDisk card, and 1050GB of BOX storage no looking back on my IPhone 5.
I also have some Dropbox storage :)
The Integration is key and hard to explain to converts. But once they see the available storage and integration and separation of corporate VS personal its a eye opener.
SOLD!!

Posted via CB10

Simon,

Excellent article! You're method unfortunately means we have to disable firewall in OSX ML or in Win7/Win8 but I'm hoping BlackBerry can fix that issue in an update soon. You're actually onto something here - beyond what you're thinking.

Currently I'm researching making my Mac Mini into a full server so that I can control it remotely over HSPA/LTE/ remote WiFi while for editing my apps not accessing moving or sharing them.

It's a real task to access the content while staying safe and secure.

There are only a few cloud service provider which do encrypt the content *on the client prior to the upload*. Wuala is one of these. But they don't support the BlackBerry platform with their app.

Files on my server behind a VPN-Gateway is the main solution.

But in some cases I'm not able to stay online, needing to access some content though.

To resolve the problem, I build up my personal environment:

Synching the file with a secure cloud (in my case Wuala), software is running on my notebook and a server placed next to my Fileserver. And the synching folder is a network share in my domain.

Result: full access to the files with notebook even in offline situation, synching changed content when online again. Online access with Android-Tablet through the cloud app and - the very best - full access with my Z10 via work drive app. And that all without reducing security and privacy of the data stored in the environment.

The work drive app is the great killer feature for me: native, using builtin security of BES, no need to do additional VPN....smart and simple solution. Link provides a similar function to the home PC, but I haven't figured out the security around this feature.

Posted via CB10