OneDrive Begins Delievering Unlimited Storage Plans

Earlier today I posted an article bringing to light how serious Microsoft is about cloud computing based on their financials from last quarter.  As if they actually read my post, Microsoft’s OneDrive division has just upped the game for cloud storage in a big way.  If you are an Office 365 subscriber, starting today OneDrive is beginning to roll out unlimited storage for as low as $6.99 per month.

Is there really any doubt left on how good of deal this is for you?

To get this outstanding deal when it comes you need to do the following:

  1. Go to the Microsoft Store and buy either Office 365 Home (for up to 5 PCs/Macs) $99.95 per year or $9.99/month, Office 365 Personal (1 PC or Mac) at $69.95 per year or $6.99 per month or if you are a student, Office 365 University at $79.95 per year.
  2. User your Microsoft ID that you used to purchase Office 365, sign in and install.  As part of the install you will be able to sign up for OneDrive if you don’t have an account.  If you are using OneDrive already and sign into the same account, you will automatically be bumped up to 1TB of storage.

If you are already an Office 365 user then there is nothing more you need to do.  Microsoft will be rolling out this unlimited storage to users over the course of the next few months.  If you want to jump the queue and get it first, follow this link to get moved up in line.

For those of you on Office 365 for Business, the unlimited storage plan will be coming as part of a roadmap update in 2015.  According to the OneDrive blog:

For OneDrive for Business customers, unlimited storage will be listed on the Office 365 roadmap in the coming days and we will begin updating the First Release customers in 2015, aligned with our promise to provide ample notification for significant service changes. In the meantime, get started using your 1 TB of storage today by backing up all those work files kicking around on your PC – with the knowledge that even more storage is on its way!

I cannot think of any reason not to give this a go.  You have the latest and greatest suite of Office apps along with unlimited storage for your documents and pictures.  What’s not to love?

Is Fitbit Betting on Windows Phone over iOS?

Today was a busy day for San Francisco based Fitbit.  The company announced three new fitness activity trackers – the Charge, Charge HR and Surge – all of which will be their next generation of activity trackers.  All three look really impressive and will offer different levels of tracking based on your needs as a user and all three have multiple days of activity between charges which, particularly in the case of the Smartwatch-esque Surge, is important.

Along with this was the announcement from Fitbit and Microsoft of the new Windows Phone app which I highlighted earlier in a post.  That update brings a lot of improvements and enhancements, particularly around SensorCore and Cortana support.  It is the first one of those that is interesting in light of the recent decisions that Fitbit has made around iOS.  It also makes me think that Fitbit is making a bet that Windows Phone, as a platform, is going to take off.

Let me lay a little bit of foundation for those who haven’t kept up with the state of affairs in iOS from Apple.  With the release of iOS 8, Apple introduced Health Kit, an aggregation app if you will that allows you to pull information from the M7/8 motion processor built into the iPhone 5s/6/6 Plus.  It also allows for integration of information from 3rd party apps such as MyFitnessPal and Jawbone’s Up.  It’s this last part that is interesting as Fitbit stated multiple times in their user forums that they have no plans to integrate into Health Kit.  Why is that interesting?  Because during the keynote introducing Health Kit, Fitbit was the first shown.  It seemed, by association, that Fitbit would be tied to Health Kit.  In fact, the link to the user forums above were updated on October 8th with additional confirmation Health Kit integration, for now, won’t be happening.

So that makes the integration with Windows Phone and SensorCore very interesting because it effectively is saying no to iOS and yes to Windows Phone. 

Fitbit for Windows Phone Gets Major Update

On the same day that Fitbit announced a new lineup of personal trackers, the Fitbit for Windows Phone app has received its first major update since being launched this summer.  The update, which is available now in the Windows Phone Store, brings a load of improvements to the app along with integration to Cortana.  What is evident in this release is that Microsoft and Fitbit have worked very closely together on this release and it effectively brings the app to the same level of the iOS and Android versions of the app.

The two big updates in the app are around SensorCore support and Cortana.  SensorCore, which is in some Lumia devices, will track your motion when your phone is in your pocket.  This is similar to the Motion Processor that you find in iPhones today.  In the Fitbit for Windows Phone app, it will use the SensorCore information to track your steps and distance without having to actually wear a Fitbit tracker.  If you want more in depth inforatnion such as calories burned, active minutes and sleep you will need to use a tracker.

Fitbit for Windows Phone – Free – Download Now

Mobile Devices Infographic – Size Matters

When it comes to mobile devices, size very much matters.  It matters for what type of user you are, what you need from that device and what content you are going to consume on that device.  Nubo Software has put together a great mobile device infographic that covers everything from Smart Watches to family sized televisions – so you could argue that it isn’t necessarly all about mobile devices.  But the infographic is good as is the full story behind it that explains the logic behind it is quite good and well worth spending the time to read.

Microsoft is $1.3 Billion Serious About The Cloud

There has been a lot of analysis of the Microsoft quarterly report from last week that has dissected almost every element of it.  I posted here last week about the reports around Windows Phone unit being sold and how the Surface lineup is impacting the overall consumer PC business.  One element that seems to have been overlooked to a large extent is capital expenditure of $1.3 billion that the company has spent on new and upgrading existing data center infrastructure.  This is, in my opinion, an important statement from the company in their earnings.  It points out, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Microsoft is serious about the Cloud and will continue to make this an emphasis for the company.

Satya Nadella, when he became CEO of Microsoft, made it clear that the strategic direction of Microsoft was to be “Mobile First, Cloud First”.  This is a huge ask for a company that has traditionally sold on a license model that assumes physical equipment on premise.  A lot of people simply chalked this up to Nadella’s background of working in the Microsoft Cloud division and this being his roots in the company.  But the evidence suggests that since he has become CEO, the company is indeed holding true to this new direction.  Windows Phone sales continue to improve but the mobile division continues to add applications on other platforms.  The most notable of these is probably the Office suite of apps for iPad that was released shortly after he became CEO.  But supporting the mobile division and perhaps more of the company than we know is the Cloud division.  It is everywhere in Microsoft and if you use a Windows PC, Windows Phone or Xbox One, you are using these cloud services and probably don’t even know it.