Now through March 23, box (the other cloud storage solution) will be allocating 50 gigabytes of cloud storage space to anyone who downloads and installs the app from the Android Marketplace (sorry iOS users, it appears box has already offered this deal to you before, so no love this time). That’s a great deal. 50gb is a lot to get for free in any capacity. However, I’ve been mulling over whether or not to post about this offer for about 4 days now, because I feel that box isn’t quite being upfront with its audience. Still, 50gb is 50gb, and getting it free is a big deal. Jim convinced me that it’s better to let you guys know about the deal, so you can decide for yourselves how useful box might be. So box is giving itself away for free. Now you know. But I want to make sure you hear the drawbacks, so you don’t feel as disappointed as I did after realizing this won’t solve all of your cloud storage problems.
Box is certainly making headlines by offering 50gb of free cloud storage to new users, but the promotion seems more like a bait-and-switch gimmick when you take a closer look. While your Android smartphone will get 50gb of free, box’s cloud storage options aren’t quite as integrated as their competitor’s. Whereas dropbox will let you download and install apps and programs on all of your phones, tablets, and computers, box is only focusing its ease-of-access on phones. That is, there are no apps or programs to keep your box files synced across computers. Sure, you can log in from any computer to access your files, but it’s not quite as easy as opening up a file or directory with all of the files ready to download. Currently, box only provides desktop syncing to its paid business and enterprise users.
In addition to the absence of any dedicated desktop program, size and speed limitations also keep those 50gb feeling rather chained-down. In the comments on their announcement page, several users complain of upload speeds, one joking that it would take an entire month to upload 50gb over box’s servers. I haven’t tried download speed yet, but reading the chatter around a few different places, it seems to be much slower than dropbox in the download department as well. The speed may also be preventing the company from offering desktop sync to all of its users. My other main issue with box’s operation is their limitation on file size. At least for users signing up during the free 50gb promotion, uploaded files are limited to 100mb, so no movies folks. Maybe box doesn’t want to risk being held accountable for keeping users’ pirated materials, but more likely, their servers cannot handle the uploading of such large files.
So go out and get yourself 50gb of free cloud storage. I did it, and I don’t even really like what box has to offer. You need to see what you think and get it before it’s gone. Who knows, I might want to use it some day. That is if I fill up my dropbox account first. While it’s not going to expand your media storage by 50gb (due to limits on upload and download speeds and file size), it may allow you to store lots and lots of documents and images for a long time. And it’s 50gb. Free.