Microsoft announced this morning that its updated OneDrive service is now available worldwide. A rebranding and expansion of SkyDrive, OneDrive provides some additional new features, and storage and payment options. But the bigger message here, perhaps, is the service's new stated focus on cross platform interoperability.
"For our existing SkyDrive customers, you are all set; your files are ready in the new OneDrive experience," Microsoft's Chris Jones writes in a new post to the official OneDrive blog. "All you have to do is head over to http://www.onedrive.com/ and log in. For those of you hearing about the service for the first time, OneDrive gives you one place for all of your files, including photos, videos, and documents, and it's available across the devices you use every day."
With the rebranding of SkyDrive to OneDrive, Microsoft is making the following functional additions to the service:
Automatic camera backup for Android. This functionality debuted in Windows Phone, of course, and is now part of Windows 8.x as well. Microsoft previously added this to SkyDrive for iPhone as well.
Video sharing. You can now share and view videos just as easily as photos.
Video transcoding. While the details are a bit vague on this one, Jones notes that you will never have "to sort out what video format to use—it just works."
Additionally, there are some other new options that should be of interest, including the ability to earn up to 5 GB of additional storage by referring friends to OneDrive (at 500 MB per referral). And for those that wish to pay for purchased storage tiers in monthly allotments, that is now possible too.
And here's a neat tip: If you do configure automatic photo and video backup in the OneDrive app (presumably on any platform), you'll get an additional 3 GB of OneDrive storage for free.
What I'm most interested in here, perhaps, is how Microsoft is now promoting this service so clearly for those on non-Windows platforms. Yes, SkyDrive apps have been available for iOS and Android for some time, but these apps were always positioned as companions. With Microsoft's new devices and services push, however, OneDrive is now positioned as an equal opportunity across Windows (and other Microsoft platforms like Office and Xbox), iOS and Android. (Witness the title of the introductory blog post: OneDrive is Now Available Worldwide: Free Cloud Storage for Microsoft, iOS, and Android Devices.)
"OneDrive is much more aligned with our vision for the future," Jones notes. "Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to get all of your favorite stuff in one place—one place that is accessible via all of the devices you use every day, at home and at work ... We've built OneDrive into the latest versions of Windows, Windows Phone, Office, and Xbox... If you happen to carry an iPhone or Android phone, or use an iPad, Android tablet, Windows device, or a Mac—OneDrive is available there, too."
I did notice that an updated OneDrive app is available on Windows Phone this morning, and while I'm away this week and don't have access to all my devices, I assume new apps are rolling out across the board. I'm curious whether we'll see any changes in the Windows Phone integration pieces, but suspect not: That will almost certainly have to wait for the next OS release, I'd imagine.