Pogoplug Cloud Launches With 5 GB Of Free Storage For Mobile Users

Cloud storage service and device maker Pogoplug is unveiling its latest offering today: a new service for mobile users that offers 5 GB of free online storage. To use “Pogoplug Cloud,” you first sign up directly from your mobile phone or tablet (iOS or Android 2.2+), then download the app and begin the upload process.

And that’s where Pogoplug really begins to shine: it automatically uploads the photos and videos from your device to the cloud – no sync required.

In testing (on the iPhone), the process was pretty straightforward. You go to www.pogoplug.com from your mobile browser to sign up or login to the service and find the appropriate app for your device. You then launch the app, login and the upload just starts on its own. It really couldn’t be easier.

In the app’s Settings, you can also specify whether the uploads can run over 3G, Wi-Fi or both, and there’s a curious setting where you get to specify a “destination” – what other destination besides Pogoplug Cloud could there be? There aren’t other options at present, but it would be great if this app could one day serve as a funnel to other cloud services too. Fingers crossed!

As a company, Pogoplug has been experimenting with different ways to entice users to its online cloud storage service, a challenge in the era of Google Docs and Amazon’s Cloud Drive and the like, all of which offer their own freemium services attached to much more recognizable brand names. Pogoplug typically uses its competitors’ size and scope to its advantage, though, at least in terms of its marketing. Pogoplug is about doing it yourself, hosting your own cloud storage safely and securely outside the reach of the big co’s.

Today, there’s Pogoplug hardware, desktop applications, and now, this new mobile app, all of which attempt to funnel users into the Pogoplug Cloud instead.

Although the Pogoplug user interface isn’t quite as clean and pretty as those from Google, Amazon, Box.net, Dropbox, iCloud or others, it’s certainly handy to get 5 GB of storage for free. But where Pogoplug stumbles is the pricing, something it claims is more affordable than the rest. That’s only the case when you “host-your-own,” though – then it’s free. Otherwise, additional online storage is $9.95/mo for 50 GB and $19.95/mo for 100 GB.

Google, meanwhile, charges $5/year for 20 GB, $20/yr for 80 GB, $50/yr for 200 GB, $100/yr for 400 GB and $256/yr for 1 TB.

Amazon charges $20/yr for 20 GB, $50/yr for 50 GB, $100/yr for 100 GB, $200/yr for 200 GB, $500/yr for 500 GB and $1000/yr for 1000 GB.

And Apple’s iCloud is $20/yr for 10 GB, $40/yr for 20 GB and $100/yr for 50 GB. You see, it’s actually hard to compete with the big guys on the bottom line.

If anything, Pogoplug is more in line with Dropbox, which also offers 50 GB for $50/mo or 100 GB for $19.99/month.

That being said, if you’re looking for an additional backup destination for either iOS or Android (no single point of failure!), it doesn’t hurt to have another 5 GB to tap into somewhere. But when it comes time to switch over to the paid pricing tiers, Pogoplug may not make the cut.