Earlier this Box launched its new OneCloud feature, the goal of which is to integrate a range of iOS business and productivity apps around Box’s cloud storage. The biggest advantage to OneCloud is that it neatly sidesteps the lack of file management in iOS, essentially functioning almost like cloud-centric iOS version of the Finder.
Box isn’t the only company looking to get around the iOS file limitations while also connecting users to the cloud. Quickoffice this week announced its new Connect solution, a dedicated app and cloud service combination that aims to make it easy for users to access, edit, share, and sync files and documents across all their devices as well as across a range of third-party cloud services.
Connect by Quickoffice is designed around providing seamless access to documents and files regardless of where they are stored or the device being used to access them. In addition to including its own cloud storage and sync capabilities, Connect will integrate with other cloud platforms like Box, Dropbox, SugarSync, and Google Docs. Targeting business and enterprise users, it will sync with business oriented systems like BaseCamp from 37 Signals. Connect even extends beyond the traditional cloud storage options to include services like Evernote.
From a device perspective, Connect will support iOS and Android as well as Macs and Windows PCs. On a desktop level, the service will integrate with the native file system and users will be able to use Office or compatible tools like iWork for viewing and editing documents. As with most cloud services, users can also manage files though a Connect by Quickoffice web portal.
Connect is also designed to support collaboration and document sharing. It offers commenting features on files and folders, though it stops short of offering something akin to Microsoft’s Track Changes – a feature that no iOS app has managed to achieve. It also offers integration with the major social networks for document sharing and collaboration.
Probably the biggest Connect feature, however, is the ability to search for files across all cloud services and all of a user’s mobile devices and desktop computers in one fell swoop.
The service will offer three tiers of services, though the free tier seems extremely limited in capabilities:
- Basic (free) – view documents, cloud access, five sharable folders, sync up to two devices, 5,000 file sync capacity
- Premium ($44.99/year) – view and edit documents, integrated search across devices/clouds, unlimited folder sharing, sync up to four devices, remote access, 125,000 file sync capacity
- Professional ($69.99/year) – view and edit documents. integrated search, unlimited folder sharing, sync up to six devices, remote access, file versioning, 250,000 file sync capacity
It’s a little hard to judge Connect beyond its feature set as the service hasn’t officially launched, which may be because of Apple’s App Store review process. Nonetheless the feature set is impressive and, based on existing Quickoffice products, will probably live up to its description.
The big challenge for Quickoffice is going to be Connect’s pricing model. While the service sounds like iCloud on steroids, there is a yearly cost if you want to take advantage of most of its features. Considering iCloud and other similar services including Box’s OneCloud, which has Quickoffice integration, offer similar features for free it’s likely that many consumers may pass on the business oriented Connect.