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Not All Clouds Are Created Equal

Now that we’ve been spoilt by seamless cloud syncing, anything less is infuriating.

I’ve gone on and on about my love of clouds. I love how my iPhone syncs with Aperture, keeping all my photos together. And in the past, I was very pleased with how my Samsung Android devices did similar with my Google account. Likewise, whenever I add an app to my iPhone, it’s automatically reflected on my iPad at home. My Apple TV has movies, TV shows, etc. that I’ve previously bought ready for viewing. Google Play store worked in a similar fashion.

I keep all my work-related notes and thoughts in Evernote, my passwords in LastPass, my bookmarks in Xmarks. They all work seamlessly, syncing between disparate devices. More important, whenever I get a new device, it’s a snap to set it up. Just log in to the respective clouds and ‘boom’ there are my docs, passwords, bookmarks and so on.

I thought my struggles and hassles with syncing were over, but alas, it seems I’ve been rather spoilt, and not all clouds are created equal.

Nintendo really needs to hang its head in shame. My aging eyes were struggling with my 3DS portable gaming console, so I’ve finally had to succumb to get the OAP version, the 3DS XL.

The ‘process’ for getting my apps and user data from my old device to the new one is nothing short of shocking. The 22(!) steps require a person to sit with both consoles and literally move data (in a 100% destructive manner) from one to the other. And I mean literally as you can see the ‘bits’ being moved. So rather than transferring the permissions, it slowly moves all the data (including the games/apps) between devices.

Despite the instructional video that declares ‘it’s easy’, the exercise certainly took 30 minutes or more.

Not to mention that this convoluted process requires that both devices are working, so I can’t imagine the pain you go through if you’re trying to replace a broken or stolen device.

I also succumbed to getting Wii U—and to clear up the tangle in my AV rack, I also went through the same painful system transfer process between my old Wii and the Wii emulator on the Wii U. This was even worse, as I had to have both connected to the TV, and to keep re-syncing my Wii Controller to make it work.

Here’s another offender: As I mentioned last week, Father Christmas kindly brought me a PS Vita, ready for remote playing of my future PS4.

Inside the pack were two PlayStation codes for game downloads, which I was able to quickly add to my existing PS3/Store account, and then see the new games automagically appear on my new Vita. Whilst this aspect of the PS Cloud was comparable to Apple’s, the Vita is awful when it comes to back-ups.

The PS Content Manager is basic at best. You can either back up the entire device, or you have to go through and back up each app manually. You can’t even do this as a batch, so it’s 1.) Select, 2.) Back up, 3.) Wait 10 minutes, and 4.) Repeat for every app.

Sony really needs to link the Content Manager to my store account, and get it to manage apps automatically, like Apple, like Google/Android.

After years of being spoilt by the likes of Apple, Dropbox, and Evernote, it’s surprising how basic some consumer-facing cloud services are—and I really don’t see consumers getting to grips with them.