ZumoDrive in public beta and on the iPhone and

ZumoDrive is not just another cloud storage service a la Dropbox or MobileMe. Rather than using the cloud as a backup of the data on your hard disk, ZumoDrive merges the cloud and your disk to give you a lot more room than you’ve been used to.

For example, you can have 10Gb in the cloud, but only take up a few hundred Mb on your laptop – or now iPhone. Performance is very good so they you barely notice the fact that are not running applications locally. There are some IO intensive apps that I don’t think are suitable.

For instance, this frees you to buy a (solid state) small 60Gb disk on your laptop but have three times that available. ZumoDrive syncs the data it expects you to need intelligently, so that you can survive without a network. However, in this day and age that is quickly becoming less and less necessary.

The iPhone app is cutely named Supersize Me. Its proposal is similar: whether you access a network over wifi, 3G or some 2.5G variant, you get to massively increase your storage space by streaming it from the network. I am writing this 3000 feet in the air on the iPhone WordPress app on the way to Copenhagen and Supersize Me works just fine in flight mode too.

In fact, this is not as revolutionary as it sounds. Plenty of apps do this already but they are limited to a single purpose. For instance, my Last.FM app streams music to my iPhone, just as my beloved Sonos system does to three different sets if speakers spread across my house. There is no difference in performance between me listening at home to Coldplay streaming from my local NAS or streaming from a Last.FM server somewhere in the cloud. What is cute about ZumoDrive is that it works with files for any app: music, photos, spreadsheets, presentations, word processing documents – you name it.

ZumoDrive was only available with an invite code until today when their public beta started. At the same time, the app is available on the iTunes app store for free — before it goes up to $5.

Pricing plans have also just gone down from where they were in the private beta. You can get 25Gb for $7 a month, 10Gb for $3 and 1Gb for free. I think this is not at all bad, and Zumo is going to get a lot of users in a pretty short time. This has got to be a default choice subscription for MacBook Air owners.

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