Carbonite Inc has been around since 2005. The company provides a nearly effortless way to back up and restore data on your computer. In fact, their motto is simply “Back it up. Get it back”. The days of not backing up your personal data are over, and have been for quite some time, so why aren’t you? There are many different options to consider; Carbonite is one to definitely look at. As far as security goes, they use 128-bit Blowfish encryption to keep everything locked down tight. They can handle all user generated files, no matter if you are looking at backing up a few documents, 200 GB of music or more.
As far as BlackBerry goes, they’ve added a few updates to their Carbonite application not too long ago. Through the Carbonite app, you can browse through, download and email practically any file you have backed up from your PC to your account. Is this the type of access you are looking for? Let’s take a peek.
Back it up. Get it back
Before you get started, you have to set up an account and install Carbonite on your computer. During the setup, you will be asked to give your computer a nickname and identify it as either a server, laptop or desktop. You can then choose what you want to back up – you can specify which files (documents, spreadsheets, presentation, images, music, etc) or folders you want. You can also select Programs files, email, settings and contacts, as well. Depending on what you have selected, your initial back up could potentially take hours. I initially selected 608 files to back up (roughly 0.33 GB) and it took 10-15 minutes or so.
Of course what we are more interested in is what the heck does this have to do with BlackBerry? Carbonite has a free application that acts a doorway to your backed up files. In the BlackBerry app you will be asked to select which computer you want to work with, if you have more than one set up. The files are organized just was they were on your computer – in their proper folders and directories (of sorts). In my case, the music I selected to be backed up weren’t technically in my Music folder on my computer. Files are displayed in a list by default, but you can switch the view to thumbnail quite easily. To further this, images can be viewed as thumbnails or you can download to view them in full screen mode. Each file will display its size and the date it was last modified.
Pulling up folders and files is a little sluggish. Downloading an image with a file size of 893kb takes nearly 30 seconds. Now with Carbonite, you can hit Send in the menu in order to download then attach them to an outgoing email. I guess you can’t use the excuse that the file you need is at home can you? When accessing audio files, you have the option to save or stream them. It seems to only take a few seconds for the file to play. I found that I wasn’t able to skip forward or back, as it continued to get caught up while buffering.
In order to access your account on your BlackBerry, you will need to provide the associated email account and password. In the settings menu, you can enable the application to automatically log you out, after a specific period of inactive time. Carbonite also includes a saved file section, which is said to be for quick access and offline viewing. It essentially downloads the file as normal, but doesn’t necessarily store it in the typical directories, and forces you to access the application to view it. I was a little disappointed that I was not able to upload any files from my BlackBerry. Similar services, such as DropBox and SugarSync, allow users to do so. I am hoping to see these options added to Carbonite soon.
The application is free, but requires an annual subscription for the service. Carbonite gives you unlimited backup space for $59 per computer per year. They do offer a free 15 day trial to see if it works for you. To compare, SugarSync offers various packages from a free 5GB plan to a 500 GB plan for $399.99 per year. DropBox offers start from a free 2GB plan to a 100 GB plan for $19.99/month. Services vary between each company; some may offer real-time upload of changes, others cannot back up every folder.
Despite not being able to upload my own files from my BlackBerry, I could appreciate the accessibility to my backed up files that I did have. Essentially, it comes down to how many options you want to have, and how much storage. If you want unlimited space with a few less features, it’s hard to argue with the $59 per year value. The Carbonite app is free from BlackBerry App World.