Preview: Nokia's Files on Ovi Service
In the age of always-on connectivity, several companies are delivering services that provide 24-hour access to your files. The latest is Files on Ovi, from Nokia. This is a preview, rather than a review, since Files on Ovi is still in beta and there are several bugs in the system. It's a promising start, though. Ovi is a new site from Nokia that provides a variety of online services. Besides Files, there's a section that provides maps, an online music store, and a photo sharing service. Ovi also hosts the latest version of N-Gage. Once a game-playing cell phone, N-Gage is now a game service that works with several Nokia phones. Look for our review in a few weeks. Files on Ovi is currently free, although you'll need a credit card to create an account. You'll get 10GB of online storage. The site's FAQ say that users will be able to choose between 3GB and 10GB accounts when Files officially launches, although Nokia hasn't yet announced pricing or a launch date.
You'll need a Vista or XP computer to set up your account. You first download a small helper application, but all connections and settings are done through the browser. Log in and you can view your computer's files in a simple menu structure. You can then indicate which ones you want permanent access to, meaning that they'll be stored in your Ovi account and made available even when your computer is off. The marketing for Files on Ovi makes the service sound like it's exclusively for accessing your files from your Nokia phone. Actually, you can reach your files from a browser on any equipped device, even a Macintosh.
It also suggests that all of your files will be available even when your computer is off, and that there are no settings required. The truth is that you need to indicate which files or folders to make permanently available, and the service doesn't provide unlimited storage. In our testing, we found it easier to access Files on Ovi on a Mac. When using a Vista PC, we couldn't select all of the files on our host system. Using the browser interface, we could only select the first file in a folder, but none of the others. This is certainly a bug that will be worked out before the service leaves beta. When accessing the same directory with a Mac, we could easily select any file and preview or download it, or put it in the online storage section. When used with a Nokia smartphone, Files on Ovi provides an easy and quick way to load music. Open the phone's browser, navigate to the music folder of your host computer, and download any of the songs you want to your phone. In our testing, songs downloaded in seconds over a 3.5G connection.
Files on Ovi also lets users e-mail files, so you can send a file as an attachment directly, without the bother of downloading it first. If getting remote access to your files has been a problem, check out Files on Ovi while it's still free and see if this is the solution for you. While it has a few bugs to work out, it looks like it could be a tremendously useful service.