Lenovo to open up consumer cloud service this quarter

Lenovo will open its Reach consumer cloud service beta to anyone who wants to sign up later this quarter in North America, which could boost the Chinese company’s hardware sales by tying that portfolio to the cloud service.

A date for when the service will come out of preview mode has yet to be decided, said Lenovo spokesman Doug Augustine, in an email response to questions about the company’s plans for Reach.

The cloud service, currently in closed beta to select testers, provides 5GB of remote storage. Users can store movie, music and other multimedia files, and share those across computers and mobile devices. Users can also log in to Facebook from Reach and store passwords for other commonly used websites such as Amazon.com, LinkedIn and online banking that they can access from the cloud service.

Lenovo first talked about building its own cloud service early last year. Since then, the company has built data centers around the world and also acquired Stoneware, a cloud company that provided technology for Lenovo’s cloud service for business customers. Lenovo said it would use some assets from Stoneware for its public cloud service.

Lenovo has previously partnered with SugarSyncto offer cloud storage to Lenovo’s PC and tablet users. Another Lenovo cloud service for businesses can identify the hardware resources available on a computing device and deliver services for the available processing power, memory, graphics, battery life and bandwidth.

The Reach service supports Microsoft Windows, Android and iOS operating systems, and will work with Lenovo and non-Lenovo PCs, tablets, and smartphones. It offers a single user interface across devices, Lenovo said in a blog entry describing the service.

Analysts have said that cloud services are an important ingredient for hardware makers to sell more devices. Google, Apple, and Amazon wrap cloud, application and entertainment services that are tied closely to devices the companies sell. Lenovo already has an application store and the ability to stream and sync multimedia between devices.

Android tablet makers like Asus and Acer also offer cloud services and free remote storage for PC, tablet and smartphone users, but the services have not helped the companies sell more devices. Samsung does not have its own hosted storage service yet, though it offers 100GB of storage through Google on Chromebook laptops.

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