Microsoft has been on a rollercoaster of surprise announcements lately. They just recently announced and quickly launched the Microsoft Band
, their first device in the world of watches and fitness bands. Despite its short notice, it sold out in the first 24 hours. It has some pretty amazing features for $199, and it's compatible not only with Windows Phones as expected, but even iOS and Android!
It's surely going to be a compelling and competitive offering compared to the Apple Watch being released next Spring. They also just announced and released a much-anticipated update for Outlook for Mac
. The update brings with it an interface overhaul that gives it a modern look, much like Outlook 2013 on a PC, as well as some performance and reliability enhancements. It's available for Office 365 customers. A public beta of Office 2015 for Mac is expected to be released in the first half of next year, with the final release available in the second half of 2015.
What I consider their most surprising announcement is that Office 365 customers will have their OneDrive storage upgraded from the already amazing 1TB to UNLIMITED storage!
You heard that right, UNLIMITED. It was only this past summer when they announced that customers were being upgraded from 20GB to 1TB. What makes this so amazing is that you can be an Office 365 customer for as little as $6.99/month
($69.99/year). Even if you didn't want or need the Office suite, $6.99 is the hottest deal going right now for online storage.
The Closest Competition
The closest deal from Dropbox is 1TB for $9.99/month ($99/year), and Box.net offers an unlimited option starting at $15/month ($180/year) - neither of them includes the Microsoft Office suite. For the same $9.99/month that Dropbox charges for what is now considered a paltry 1TB, you can get unlimited storage and the Office suite installed on up to 5 PCs or Macs, 5 tablets, and your smartphone devices (iOS, Android, and Windows Phone). Oh, Microsoft also throws in 60 world minutes of calling per month via Skype. My brain is exploding!
This same unlimited storage upgrade will also be making its way to OneDrive for Business next year according to the Office 365 roadmap
. Microsoft has some technical challenges to overcome with ODFB first as it doesn't allow for selective sync like the regular OneDrive does, so it makes it very difficult to synchronize an UNLIMITED amount of data to say your 256GB SSD drive in your Surface Pro 3. Don't worry, I'm sure they'll get it all figured out soon enough.
Take Advantage of these Offers
With this offering being as affordable and crazy awesome as it is, there really is no reason nowadays to NOT have your most important documents & photos backed up. It's very easy to remap your My Documents / My Music / My Videos / My Photos to OneDrive so it's always synchronized and automatically backed up to the cloud.
Use it for backups, use it to maintain versioning on your documents, use it for storing your huge music or video library, use it for your downloads, or whatever else you can think of to cram in there. You'll find that you'll rarely need to carry a USB flash drive around anymore.
It has been an exciting week in the world of Microsoft. I can't wait to see what else they've got up their sleeves to surprise and delight us.