19 Comments

Summary:

Verizon’s V CAST Media Manager, a subscription service to offload media and documents from smartphones to the cloud, is available for Android and BlackBerry. Verizon’s brand and marketing dollars could push the service to consumers unaware of competing products. Should Dropbox, Zumodrive and others be worried?

vcast-online

V CAST Media Manager, a Verizon Wireless (z vz) subscription service to offload media and documents from mobile phones on to Verizon’s servers, is available for Android and BlackBerry smartphones. The service initially launched last year on feature phones, but has quietly expanded to now include smartphones, says MocoNews. For $2.99 a month, customers receive 25 GB of storage capacity and both a mobile and desktop client, allowing subscriber access to files on either a handset or desktop computer.

As a heavy user of mobile cloud-storage services from Dropbox and Zumodrive, I see many similarities between those and V CAST Media Manager. Verizon’s service provides for storage of music, video, pictures, and documents that can be organized through folders and playlists. Media files or folders can be shared with friends or family, and photos can be posted directly to MySpace and Facebook. In other words, Verizon is competing directly against online mobile storage providers with a fairly comparable and reasonably priced product for smartphones. Given Verizon’s branding and marketing, the service could catch on with consumers who aren’t already familiar with the concept of cloud storage.

The relatively inexpensive pricing of $36 per year will also help gather an audience for Verizon’s new web service, but raises an interesting question. As the industry moves to a tiered-pricing model — which we know Verizon is prepping for in conjunction with its LTE rollout and AT&T has already done –will there be a “double-dip” cost? From a consumer’s standpoint, it would be appealing if data transfers using the Media Manager service didn’t count against any bandwidth cap in a tiered cost structure. I doubt that will happen though; my expectation is that carriers will try to make money coming and going, as folks pay for both the online storage service and for the data connection it requires.

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub req’d):

Metered Mobile Data is Coming and Here’s How

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  1. Good point about making money coming and going. I’m a DropBox fan-boy and the default free space I get (plus the extra space when referring others) is enough for me right now.

    But I do like the fact that you can manage your music playlists AND post images directly to facebook and the like.

    …but I like FREE event better.

  2. Let’s ignore the fact that Verizon exists only in the USA and Dropbox et al are available to the billion+ Internet users outside of that country.

    1. Faruk, that’s a worthy point, of course, but I doubt it matters to Verizon nor to many of their 93 million subscribers. I know plenty of people that use Verizon Wireless services and when I talk to them about Dropbox, they’ve never heard of it. That was my point about Verizon’s brand and marketing: third-party cloud services have to step up their advertising else the bigger brands will land grab customers that don’t know about existing services.

      1. Kevin, Faruk’s point is well taken actually. You are framing this article in a U.S.-centric point of view. The Internet is global. Its the “WORLD” Wide Web too (on top of the Internet). For storage why not use Amazon’s S3 which gets dispersed globally (Asia, Europe, North America)? And seriously, would you trust Verizon to act as your storage service supplier? Verizon is a non-motivated leviathan that enjoys being an oligarch. At least Amazon isn’t an oligarch (and they have cloud storage competition from Rackspace, MobileMe, Dropbox and others). Verizon’s core competency is not in the storage of bits but in the telephony and thus movement of bits. Even Verizon’s voice mail systems are s**tty (I.e., have you ever tried leaving a relatively long and detailed voice mail message for someone on their mobile phone’s voice mail system including Verizon’s voice mail system only to have to call back a second time to continue where you left off because the voice mail is truncated because of the mobile phone companies being el cheapos about their voice mail storage)? That example (of how junky mobile phone companies handle their voice mail storage systems) alone suggests to me that this article of yours hasn’t been thought through very well. Time to put that thinking cap on again ;-)

  3. I dont really see their USP. Dropbox is easy to use and on nearly every device (well, lets wait for that symbian client, will you..) – and it´s convenient.

    And if you want private storage (and most people consider data on their mobile phone private) you should not use a storage provider without any encryption in place.

    So this is just a product to gain a few more $ from existing customers. Its far from being a game changer..

  4. google needs to wake up too. people want/need storage that they can use as they wish (not just a measly 1gig of your 25gig).
    google would kill if they would aquire dropbox and allow people to get some secured storage for pay alongside of the current model. at least, i would love it :)

    1. Tsk Tsk Charlie. You obviously haven’t yet heard of the up and coming insync … Google would be potentially better off acquiring Insync instead of Dropbox!

  5. Ah thank god, as a college student, this price makes sense! Drop Box was a little much for me and I am sure others thought the same way.

    Future post coming your way!

    http://www.danfonseca.wordpress.com

  6. I think you’ve got it wrong.

    As the carriers move to metered data they can differentiate their services by NOT metering them — while metering all their competitors. You wouldn’t actually get data transfers for the carrier’s services for free, they would just spread that cost across the base rate for all their subscribers.

    I have no problem with metered wireless. There is a true incremental cost to the carriers that heavy data users should bear. The fairest plan would be a small fixed fee, plus a “per bit” charge — but ALL data transfers, regardless of whose services consume them, should count.

    1. Good point, Austin! Definitely a way for the carriers to differentiate by not metering their own services – but I think they will anyway. ;)

      1. Not metering this own service gets at the heart of net neutrality. If try don’t meter their services they can by default crush dropbox, pandora, rdio, and any other data-intensive competitor. That seems like a trend back towards more walled gardens. I don’t have a problem with Verizon metering their service or not, and competition is great just as long as it’s a level playing field.

  7. Good, because frankly the dropbox client on android blows!

  8. Binfer is a great option to send large files directly from computer to computer, without uploading to a server. You can send hundreds of files of any size with a simple drag and drop. Binfer will manage the transfers with auto resumes, encryption, notifications etc. Check it out: http://www.binfer.com

  9. How the Cloud Can Help Carriers Sell Content: Tech News « Saturday, September 18, 2010

    [...] which enables users to access files in the cloud via a handset or computer for $3 a month. As Kevin noted last week, the service is similar to offerings from companies like Dropbox and Zumodrive, which essentially [...]

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    [...] Google wants the world to use it as a search engine and suite of web apps to beget ad income, which last year accounted for 97 percent of revenue. Verizon will be moving towards a tiered pricing bucket for wireless data and is even offering cloud-based services that compete against third-party developers on its mobile network. [...]

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