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 (s goog) and BlackBerry (s rimm) 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 (s 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.
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