In my last article (“Honeycomb Is Changing the Way We Compute”), I suggested that products like the Samsung Galaxy Tab™ would transform the way we think about the task we used to call “computing.” In reality, your smartphone, your tablet, your TV and even your refrigerator can be “computers” in the traditional sense. And cloud computing is paving the way.
Unlike the days when a computer was a stand-alone platform, these new breeds of devices have Internet connectivity built into their DNA. This connectivity is called “cloud” because it can be accessed wherever you go via today’s powerful 4G networks or Wi-Fi. Thanks to cloud computing, you can now use your mobile devices to surf the Web, check email, update your status on social media networks or shop online. It’s not some futuristic thing for techies or geeks—it’s something that you’re already using and may not have even realized. Let me walk you through a few highlights of some of my favorite cloud computing sites available.
While digital photos have revolutionized photography, they also eat up a lot of hard drive space and can become an organizational nightmare. Google has developed a free photo management and editing software called Picasa. One of its coolest features is Picasa Web Albums, which syncs and shares photo albums of your choice to the Web. The Web albums can be shared with your Google email address book and are password protected for your peace of mind.
Better yet, if you own a Samsung Galaxy Tab or Galaxy S™ smartphone, Picasa Web Albums will sync right to your phone within the “Gallery” Application. Want to show your parents or friends pictures of your new house, new car or new baby? Just hand them your smartphone or tablet and all the pictures from your Web albums are right there ready for them to check out. Picasa gives you 1GB of free image storage (approximately 4,000 wallpaper-size photos), all without using any space on your device. That’s the beauty of the “cloud.”
People often ask, “How do I get my music off of my computer, and onto my smartphone?” And then the next question that follows is usually, “What if my smartphone doesn’t have enough storage?” While many smartphones and tablets have 16GB or 32GB of storage, that’s usually not enough considering how much music the average user has stored up.
The Amazon MP3™ application overcomes storage limitations. Free from the Google Play™, it was developed in conjunction with the Amazon Cloud Player, a service that will upload 5GB of your music and playlists for free (20GB if you buy one album from Amazon). Any of your devices that are signed into your Amazon MP3 account will have your complete library of songs at your fingertips, ready to be streamed over 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi, without using up any local storage. And best of all, Amazon has recently offered unlimited space for MP3 and AAC (.m4a files) at no additional charge for all paid cloud storage plans.
What if you want to listen to your music on a remote desert island? Amazon Cloud Player offers a convenient way to download your selections right onto your device for your enjoyment when you’re not connected to a wireless network. Amazon MP3 also lets you purchase music from one Galaxy device, and have it with you on all of your Galaxy devices.
While Android-powered tablets like the Galaxy Tab 10.1 give you easy access to great video sources and sites such as YouTube and Hulu™, sometimes you may be craving the latest primetime TV shows or newly released DVDs.
Samsung Media Hub gives you access to next-day TV (a show airs on Tuesday, and it’s in Media Hub to watch on Wednesday), and new-release movies on the same day the DVD becomes available. Best of all, the library of Media Hub is constantly refreshed with the latest video content and top quality flicks.
But what really makes Media Hub amazing is that it’s a cloud-based service. If you have both a smartphone and a tablet, you can have the same content on both devices. All you have to do is log on with another Media Hub–enabled device and all the content you have purchased is there, ready to be downloaded. Media Hub can be shared on up to five devices, which means you can keep your content with you even as you change or upgrade from different mobile devices. When you buy a movie or TV show on Media Hub, you own it—even if you get a new phone or tablet.
Another key benefit is that because Media Hub is a download service, you don’t have to be connected to Wi-Fi the whole time you want to watch a movie. You can just download the content you want and watch on a plane or entertain the kids in the car.
That’s just the beginning. The Samsung Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets were designed to be “cloud enabled” right out of the box. Now there are tons of cloud services that are changing the way we edit documents, manage files, read books and more.
But beyond the many applications available, the cloud has completely altered our approach to computing as a whole. In the past, if your laptop crashed, you were at risk of losing everything. Now with my Galaxy Tab 10.1, for example, I’m able to control my entire digital world—from organizing family photos to updating my work spreadsheets—without having to obsessively back up all of my media or shuffle between devices and computers to get a task done. Cloud computing simplifies the entire process, and in doing so, is revolutionizing the way we go about our business—and our life.
The views and opinions expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of Samsung Telecommunications America, Samsung Electronics America Inc., or any of its parents/affiliates as well as any other individual employee thereof.
Nicholas DiCarlo is VP of product planning for the wireless terminals division of Samsung Telecommunications America and is passionate about making mobile devices for real people, non-techie people and super techie people, all the same.
Questions? Comments? Two-cents? Email Nicholas at email@example.com and he’ll get back to you with a reply—maybe even feature it in his next column—all from his Samsung Galaxy Tab, of course.
Android, Google Play, Picasa, Picasa Web Albums, and YouTube are trademarks of Google, Inc.
Other company and product names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.