commentary Optus' first dip into the consumer cloud market with Smart Safe is a good start for cloud backup and storage for mobile phone and computer, but it does leave a lot to be desired.
(Screenshot by Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)
Users can access the telco's new storage and backup service through a web browser, via a PC or Mac desktop application or through an app that is compatible on Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry. Each Smart Safe account can be used by up to five devices.
Smart Safe backs up mobile phone photos and contacts, and lets you store music, movies and photos from your PC. From within the web portal, these files can then be shared to social networks such as Twitter or Facebook.
Uploading and downloading content doesn't count towards your data quota for Optus mobile customers; however, storage backup from a fixed line will count uploads and downloads against a user's fixed line quota, the telco has warned.
Trialling the Android app on an HTC Incredible S, we find that it does the job for backing up contacts and photos, but it was not possible to choose what files you wanted to back up on the phone itself, nor could you actually see within the app what files had been stored.
The desktop application gives you the option to manually back up certain files or folders, or you can set to automatically back up files and emails at certain times during the day or week. This "set and forget" backup method is handy for customers who would otherwise neglect to backup should disaster strike.
The web portal provides an overview of the devices backed up and the files stored in the Smart Safe cloud. From here, a user can share and delete files, upload other files and manage the devices that are using the Smart Safe service.
In general, the service definitely has promise; however, the apps both on Mac and Android were buggy at times, and the web portal was often unresponsive. It would also not be outrageous to expect that all three portals would look the same and have similar functionality, with the tasks you can perform on the desktop app mimicking those that can be performed on the web portal and the Android app. One of the biggest annoyances was not being able to manage the backed up files on Android without logging into the web portal.
Additionally, iPhone users will have to stick with Mobile.Me backup for now, or wait for the much-hyped Apple iCloud. Optus had not responded at the time of writing as to why they had not released an app for the iPhone, but one possible scenario could be Apple refusing to approve an app that would compete with Apple's own iCloud when it is made available in Australia.
The Smart Safe service is free to use for Optus customers who only require 500MB of storage. Those with greater storage needs can pay $5.99 per month for 10GB, or $14.99 per month for 300GB.