FREE EXTERNAL WEB STORAGE (with no real streaming and no syncing for individual customers, with the Box.Com option, but a LOT of free lifetime storage space)
Have struck out the details on the no longer available drop.com deal
Essentially, box.com normally gave up to 5 gigs of file storage for free on personal accounts, with a file-size limit of 25 MB applied. They also offer a plan for up to 25 GB for $9.99/mo., but they had a limited time offer until 11:59 pm, March 23 to register for their 50 GB Personal plan, for free, for a "lifetime," with a file-size limit of 100 MB.
That offer was for Android users, and that included Kindle Fire. The site was created in 1999, and SusyD says they have many Fortune 500 clients.
DROPBOX.COM -- this is another external web file storage place, which most file hoarders are using already, with rave reviews:
Before I give the info on limitations at box.com -- most of all, on sync'g files between devices and on streaming ('bandwidth') -- Dropbox(the most popular one today) has less stringent bandwidth limitations, allowing 10 GB/day while box.com restricts file transfers to 10 gigs per month for even free promo 50GB plans for individual customers.
Dropbox, on the other hand, offers only a stingy 2 GB of free space, but you get much more file-transfer capacity per month than at box.com (music streaming is possible only with individual files -- there is no built-in media player functionality to play one number right after another, and CBR mode ("constant bit rate" rather than VBR ("variable bit rate") is more reliably streamed. Video files can be streamed and whether they are downloaded or streamed depends on the browser and plug-in.
However, there is an Android market app CloudAround music player, that works around that. See How to sideload non-Amazon apps.
To get more storage than 2GB at Dropbox (besides the referral bonus method -- very clever), there are $9.99/mo. and $99/yr plans for 50 GB of storage, but you also get the syncing of files and unlimited file size transfer on the desktop app, advantages over box.net's offering. As mentioned, they both have almost complementary strengths and weaknesses.
Using Dropbox's desktop application there's no file size limit (except for your plan's max file storage amount). Using the webpage, the file-size limit is 300 MB files.
Also, you get file-syncing, which is not an option for individual customers at box.com (which provides this only to businesses with at least 3 paid accounts).
Dropbox.com's SYNCing: if you install their apps and programs to use the dropbox on computers and other devices: once you put a file in one, it will just show up on the other devices. This is extremely valuable.
So, both services are worthwhile in their own ways. (See further below.)
REGISTERING FOR A FREE DROPBOX ACCOUNT
While you can register at dropbox.com easily enough -- if you instead use a referral link from an existing customer who has "invites" remaining to distribute and has a college email address (I'm one), you'll get an additional 500 megabytes for your account at registration, and so will the inviter -- otherwise it's normally only 250 megs add'l space per shared referral registration.
Each person can build their storage allotment that way, sharing registration invites, getting up to 8 gigs of additional storage for regular users and up to 16 gigs of additional storage for those with *.edu addresses -- and, those from colleges without .edu extensions can write box.com to be counted as college registrants eligible to 500 megs additional per referral and to the higher 16-gig additional file space.
My Dropbox referrer link for the bonus 500 MB upon registration is http://bit.ly/dropboxab. I was given a limit of only 28 invites though, so if interested, use it soon.
Both of these services will help with keeping files where you can get them to use on your Kindle Fire, as the files are downloadable as needed to your Kfire or, in the case of Dropbox, these can just show up on all your devices after being uploaded to one.
BOX.COM's [now expired] temporary free offer - More details
Limitations on streaming or file transfers
(I'm naming the companies more than I normally would because their names are so similar. Am hoping that'll make it less confusing which company I'm referirng to in any paragraph.)
Please note: Box.com's is NOT a plan that includes usable streaming the way Amazon provides for its music. It allows mp3 streaming but you are limited to bandwidth use (transfers of data) of only 10 gigabytes per month, after which you must wait another month before you can even download again. Downloads are treated the same as streaming when counting transferred data.
I don't remember what the helpful box.com customer support rep (Sherwin) said about counting uploads in that bandwidth limit. Box.com's service is really mainly for smaller file transfers (up to 100 megabytes with this special free 50GB-storage offer) and is very good for that.
In fact, all the files I have at dropbox and Amazon are quite small ones.
Its plan is NOT a plan for moving a lot of videos then either. It's primarily for storing files that you can access (say, an Android app that you can download or share with someone else, or files for work or school, all kinds of documents you want to have access to later, or even photos you want to back up (this is a very good idea!).
box.com's Limitations on Syncing between devices
While Dropbox's best feature is the easy file-syncing between devices, Box.com doesn't offer it to individual customers. It's available only to businesses with at least 3 paid accounts, and the minimum $15/mo. account for each -- or, then, $540/year for a business account with the minimum number of accounts.
box.com's Limitations of file-transfer (bandwidth) per month
Although you can STORE 50 gigs of files at box.com (not a small advantage, which I've taken), they don't expect it to be used for wild file-sharing or streaming of video or even mp3's since that would be a waste of only 10 gigs per month of file-transfers on this plan.
To get MORE bandwidth/mo. if needed, they offer a $9.95 plan for the lower 25GB of storage but you'd get 2 TERAbytes of file-transfers a month and 1-gigabyte file-uploads.
HOW TO GET THEM
AT ANY RATE, both of these external web storage sites with easy-downloading to tablets are worth registering with for their free storage and file transfer plans.
1. To get the box.com deal, go to Amazon's product page for box.com, check out the reviews, and once you click to "purchase" the app for $0.00, click to get the app. Then, use your device to just download it from the Amazon apps store on your Kindle Fire.
You can also search it with your device instead at the Kindle Fire's apps store.
Once you've downloaded the app and opened it on your device, you'll
2. To get the dropbox.com app: Amazon doesn't seem to be carrying a useful version of Dropbox for the Kindle Fire yet but you can, as I described, use my college-acct-based referral link from dropbox.com to get an additional 500MB of storage space when creating your free Dropbox account there and use it on your computer.
(You can also use How to install non-Amazon apps to install a more useful version of Dropbox for Kindle Fires, from 1mobile store, described in that article and also noted below.
Once you get to Dropbox's site, you'll see a link to their video on how to use Dropbox and an option to read the Text Tour instead. You'll also see the Dropbox app is offered on that page.
Then, to actually download the Android Dropbox app that Amazon doesn't provide for the Kindle Fire yet but Amazon (unlike B&N) allows us to install non-store apps, follow these clear instructions nicely posted at the Amazon review by Amazon customer M. G. Marks, with the app-download link filled in by D. Rojas:
As of this writing, the official DropBox app is not available in the Amazon App Store, but I was able to get it installed on my Kindle Fire anyway with the following steps:
'Lightly slide down the top of your Kindle Fire display.
'Click the gear icon in the top-right corner of the Kindle Fire home screen to activate the Settings window
'Click More [on some Kindle Fires]
'Scroll down to Device or to Applications (this differs with Kindle Fire models)
'Scroll down to `Allow Installation of Applications from Unknown Sources' and move the slider from `Off' to `On
'You'll be prompted to confirm you mean to do this; you agree
'Switch to the Kindle web browser and go to http://bit.ly/dropbox-android-app, and click Download App. This will download the Dropbox .apk file
'When the download is finished you'll see a notification in the top left corner. Click it and scroll down to the notification that the download of the Dropbox .apk file is complete.
'Click the file.
'You will be prompted to install the application. Click the button
'Once installation is completed, start the Dropbox application and log in.
BOX.COM Promo as it
- LG Android: through 6/30/12
- Sony Tablet S and Tablet P: through 12/31/12
- HP TouchPad: through 12/31/12
- RIM PlayBook: through 12/31/12
- Sony Ericsson Xperia phones: through 12/31/12
- The Apple devices promo has ended.
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