Microsoft fills in OneDrive roadmap dates, details

Microsoft is on track to deliver the promised synced engine for OneDrive consumer and OneDrive for Business, according to information disclosed at its Ignite conference.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

In January 2015, Microsoft officials outlined a one-year roadmap for bringing together its OneDrive consumer and OneDrive for Business cloud-storage services.

At the Microsoft Ignite conference this week in Chicago, officials filled in more details about the company's OneDrive plans and deliverables.

In January, Microsoft execs said that by the end of this year, both versions of OneDrive would share a single sync engine. That engine would be able to sync shared folders across all platforms -- but not handle selective sync, a spokesperson clarified on May 8.

Officials also said at that time to expect shared folders and side-by-side consumer/business account support to make it into the first release of Windows 10. A replacement for the deprecated placeholder feature was, back in January, on tap to come later in calendar 2015, meaning some time after Windows 10 is released to manufacturing (which is expected to be in late July, though Microsoft officials still have yet to confirm that date publicly.)

This week, Microsoft provided an updated and more detailed OneDrive roadmap (which I've embedded above in this post).

According to the new roadmap, during this calendar quarter, Microsoft is adding a new mobile PDF capability for Android and iOS; adding a Save to OneDrive for Business from Outlook Web Access feature and more.

In Q'3 2015, Microsoft will deliver the first preview of its coming shared OneDrive consumer/OneDrive for Business sync client for Windows and Mac, among other features.And in Q'4, Microsoft expects to make generally available the shared OneDrive sync client for Windows and Mac. It also is on tap to deliver a Windows 10 Universal OneDrive app that will support both OneDrive consumer and OneDrive for Business.

The ability to select the folders that a user wants to take offline will be in the next-gen OneDrive sync client (Q'3 for preview, Q'4 general availability), a Microsoft spokesperson said.

This sync client also will include the ability to see offline files in read-only mode.It's that offline read-only file capability that looks like the replacement for placeholders, as Windows watcher Paul Thurrott notes. Microsoft has plans to add file-editing support to this offline-file feature at some point in the future.

Update: A Microsoft spokesperson said the replacement for placeholders has nothing to do with offline file access.

Microsoft also provided an updated OneDrive roadmap for developers. Here's a slide showing off that version of the roadmap:


More details on OneDrive's future can be found in the "A File's Future with OneDrive for Business" session from Ignite (available in recorded video form).

Update (May 8): Microsoft released a blog post summarizing its sessions on OneDrive from Ignite, noting that its unified OneDrive client will work on Windows 7, 8 and 10 ("but not 8.1 as we anticipate that most 8.1 users will take the free upgrade to Windows 10"). The post notes reiterates that "the new client will deliver our number one requested feature for business users: selective sync, i.e. the ability for a user to determine which folders they want to take offline."

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