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8/29/2014
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Microsoft Enhances OneDrive Mobile Apps

As the cloud storage wars rage on, Microsoft looks to make OneDrive and OneDrive for Business more cohesive, starting on Android.

Windows 8.1: 8 Things I Hate About You
Windows 8.1: 8 Things I Hate About You
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Microsoft announced several enhancements to its mobile OneDrive apps this week, including an update to the Android version that allows users to access both consumer and business accounts. The Android app is the first of Microsoft's OneDrive editions that includes this feature.

Since earlier this year, CEO Satya Nadella has been shaping Microsoft into a cross-platform company, with core software and services available to users of all major OSes. Thanks to BYOD, more people are using both personal and work devices -- and often more than one OS -- to get things done. Nadella's tactics play into this trend, but they also impose new challenges on Microsoft workers. To serve BYOD demands effectively, Microsoft services have to translate gracefully across devices. That means that, when one version of an app is updated with a new feature, the other versions often need to follow.

In that vein, Microsoft confirmed that other versions of OneDrive will soon gain the ability to access both personal and work accounts. "This is the first example of how we're creating a single, unified OneDrive experience," OneDrive group program manager Jason Moore said in a blog post. "We're looking to bring these features to iOS and Windows Phone devices in coming months."

[Need help choosing online storage? Read Cloud Storage: How To Pick A Provider.]

Though the updated Android app allows users to access both OneDrive for Business and the consumer version of OneDrive, the services remain separate. The former still requires that businesses sign up for some kind of subscription, whereas the latter is available both as a free service, with 15 GB of cloud storage, and as part of Office 365, with 1 TB of storage.

When an Android user adds a OneDrive for Business account to the app, both the personal and business data are accessible from the same interface, but files are still housed in separate areas. This should make it easier to avoid accidentally posting a business doc to your public storage folder or inadvertently sharing a personal photo with everyone at the office. The Android version of OneDrive also gained support for security PINs, improvements to camera backup speed, and the ability to open files from OneDrive in other apps.

OneDrive for Android users can now access both personal and business accounts.
OneDrive for Android users can now access both personal and business accounts.

Nadella announced his cross-platform goals in March, when he introduced Office for iPad. Since then, Microsoft has often seemed to prioritize iOS products. The company still hasn't released a full Office suite optimized for Android tablets, for instance, though one is expected soon. Microsoft also has yet to release a touch-first version of Office for Windows tablets. That product will reportedly arrive in the first half of 2015.

Microsoft evidently chose to merge Android's OneDrive and OneDrive for Business accounts before doing so with iOS because the Android version was further behind. "As we didn't have a native [OneDrive for Business] experience on Android, it was selected as the first app to provide the unified experience between personal and work files," a Microsoft rep confirmed to PCWorld. On iOS, OneDrive and OneDrive for Business are currently offered as two separate apps, neither of which can access information stored in the other.

Though iOS won't get the unified UI until later, Microsoft did roll out one new update for people using OneDrive on iPhones and iPads: native search. Users can now swipe down from the top of the screen to reveal a search field. The iOS app also gained the "all photos" view from the web version of OneDrive. This view displays all photos from across the user's OneDrive account, organized chronologically.

Not to be forgotten, Windows Phone 8.1 received an update, too. Users can now access the OneDrive recycling bin from within the app, which should make it easier to recover accidentally deleted files.

Microsoft is making progress with OneDrive, but it will have to keep up the pace to continue competing in the crowded cloud storage market. In June, Microsoft increased free OneDrive storage to 15 GB and subscription storage to 1 TB. Since then, Google and Box have begun offering unlimited storage. Dropbox also recently introduced a plan that offers 1 TB for $10 per month. As competition tightens, it's likely that plans that offer unlimited capacity will become the norm, putting more pressure on companies to continue differentiating through security, collaboration, and other features.

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Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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shakeeb
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shakeeb,
User Rank: Black Belt
8/31/2014 | 11:31:30 PM
Re: cross platform
@H@mmy – yes restriction to a particular OS would not be a smart thing to do at the present situation. Many users will just not move to a new device for a cloud solution. 
shakeeb
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shakeeb,
User Rank: Black Belt
8/31/2014 | 11:30:07 PM
Re: cross platform
Good move by Microsoft bringing in competition will definitely lower the rates and the service standards would be much better.
tzubair
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tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2014 | 12:38:24 PM
Re: cross platform
"Its not suitable if you just close your eyes seeing your competitor's progess. Not restricting such things to Microsoft OS only is a smart move I think."

@Hammy: I think what MS is doing is something they had completely ignored a few years back. When Android was launched, MS never really took it as a serious threat and never aimed at collaboration. All they attempted to do was stick to their own platform. Now they're realizing this when Android is more powerful in many ways and collaboration is inevitable.
tzubair
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tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2014 | 12:30:37 PM
Re: Still missing something that one more thing
"The reason I mention this is that if microsoft is making so many efforts on getting One Drive into Android and iOS, how come the love isn't received back in having Google Drive available for Windows PHones?"

@mejiac: I think the reason why MS might not have Google Drive as part of its app store is because they want to promote One Drive and they want it to become widespread. Having Google Drive would reduce the demand for One Drive, in my opinion.
stotheco
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stotheco,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2014 | 10:35:16 AM
Re: Still missing something that one more thing
It seems like the ball is in Google's park, and they're just not very interested to either share it or pass it along. The way things are, Android has the bulk of the mobile market share. Windows phone is trying to grow its user base, so it makes sense that they're trying hard to expand onto other popular platforms instead of vice versa.
H@mmy
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H@mmy,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2014 | 4:53:15 PM
Competition
An air of competition is always beneficial for the end user. Seeing Google, Box and Microsft compete we should expect much better features and tariffs in future.
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2014 | 4:44:28 PM
Still missing something that one more thing
Great Article!!!

I recently tried out the new Nokia 635, mainly because it had Cordana and the latest windows 8.1 updates.

I liked many things, but the one thing that really got me, reason why I returned it, is that it's missing the Google apps... mainly Google Drive.

The reason I mention this is that if microsoft is making so many efforts on getting One Drive into Android and iOS, how come the love isn't received back in having Google Drive available for Windows PHones?

I'll be honest...I like the windows phone, it's intuitive and well integrated, but without some core apps it doesn't help it.

What does the community think?
H@mmy
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50%
H@mmy,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2014 | 4:40:29 PM
cross platform
I think its a perfect approach from Microsoft by targeting all major platforms. Its not suitable if you just close your eyes seeing your competitor's progess. Not restricting such things to Microsoft OS only is a smart move I think.
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Google in the Enterprise Survey
Google in the Enterprise Survey
There's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity ­products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent ­mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers ­distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
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