The New York Times has proclaimed Google Music as one of the best cloud applications released for Android phone devices last year. That the music service is offered free of charge helps explain its selection, and also locates Google Music right at home among the other applications in the Google family, all available gratis (GMail, Google Docs, et cetera). But like those other apps, comprehensive features also distinguish Google Music: users can transfer 20,000 of their tracks to the cloud via the app, which also immediately and wirelessly synchronizes what they upload to their Android. Google Music’s mammoth-sized music storage capacity dwarfs that of main competitors Amazon Cloud Drive and iCloud. What’s more, Google Music struck an enviable deal with the Android Market; through this e-marketplace, users can profit from hundreds of prime tracks to download — at no cost, of course.
SugarSync is sweetening the pot when it comes to multiple device alignment. The application keeps users in short reach of every file and document from any location or device. Many similar applications house users’ files neatly as well, but SugarSync goes the extra mile by further backing up each document online. This characteristic upstages archrival Dropbox, where a user must remember to upload a file if she’d like to find it there. SugarSync’s designers clearly intended to infuse a jack-of-all-trades aesthetic into the application; it doubles as a music streamer, a mobile app (available on everything from BlackBerry to Symbian), and a polyglot (usable in Chinese, Spanish, German, and Japanese). At as little as $5 monthly (after a month-long free trial), this “Renaissance Man” app is a multifaceted steal.
“Assembly-line” style personalization, three-dimensional design, and the beauty of ceramics intertwine in Sculpteo‘s 3D Printing Design Maker, the perfect application for the trendy potter in your life. The process begins with a photo or portrait of the user, or of a friend, taken and available on the user’s iPad. That user uploads the pic to Sculpteo’s cloud storage system. The company’s revolutionary 3D print technology transforms the photograph into a ceramic vase, plate, mug, or the like. In addition to cloud computing, Scupteo’s application makes equally clever use of what VentureBeat terms “mass customization,” in which manufacturers utilize mass production schemes to tailor an item to an individual consumer. Scupteo’s courted top-notch artists to develop new ways of using the ceramics application to further enmesh consumers into the design process. The tailor-made ceramics begin at $70 an item.
By Jeff Norman