By Maximilian Clarke
Acer have unveiled plans for a new cloud-based service, ‘AcerCloud’, at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to help them develop a relationship with the consumers that purchase Acer’s electronic devices.
Acer’s ‘cloud design philosophy’ is to connect all of a user’s different form factor devices, regardless of manufacturer and operating system, in order to securely transfer digital media between those devices and to make that media accessible at any time. AcerCloud is interoperable with any devices that have a Windows or Android operating system and adopts a distributed architecture for cloud data storage by using the consumer’s main personal computer as a repository for the files made accessible to their mobile devices through that user’s ‘personal cloud’.
AcerCloud is a consumer-only service that at the time of launch will consist of three applications: ‘Clear.fi photo’, ‘Clear.fi media’ and ‘AcerCloud Docs’. ‘Clear.fi photo’ allows cross-device and cross-platform access to and management of photographs. While ‘Clear.fi media’ and ‘AcerCloud Docs’ performs the same task but for rich media such as music and for Microsoft Office documents (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) respectively.
Photos and media are indexed to the cloud by Acer, so that a user’s devices know which personal content exists as well as where to find it. But the content is not uploaded to the cloud, instead it remains hosted on its respective client device - with the exception of pictures taken by mobile devices which are uploaded to and hosted in the cloud for 30 days. Documents meanwhile are all uploaded to the cloud by default regardless of file type, but are again only hosted for a maximum of 30 days.
For photos and media the host device needs to be turned on in order for other devices to have access and to download or stream that content. Documents however, especially work documents would need to be accessible everywhere, even if a computer is not turned on and would also be likely to take up less space on Acer’s servers.
This prevents the AcerCloud from becoming full up with large-footprint music and video files and prevents Acer from becoming an unwitting repository for unofficial copies of copy-written media. The only data that will be stored on the cloud is data that is unanimously end-user created: mobile photos and Office documents. By adopting a 30-day storage period for any hosted data, Acer’s servers will not become burdened by redundant data that is unused by their customers.
AcerCloud is an attempt by Acer to embed itself in the day-to-day activities of the purchasers of their personal computers and to leverage those customers usage of mobile electronics devices, regardless of the manufacturer. AcerCloud does not compel consumers to purchase all Acer devices, nor to have to use devices with the same operating system in order to have multi-screen access to cloud-based content.
AcerCloud will be free and will come bundled with all new Acer PCs, with software upgrade being made available to existing Acer PC owners. It will launch in North America and China in Q2 2012 and throughout the rest of the world in Q4 2012.