Dell bundles free online storage with new PCs

Free online storage standard for all new Inspiron and XPS computers

Along with its newly-hued PCs, Dell Tuesday quietly made free online storage standard for all new Inspiron and XPS computers, the first time a top-tier OEM has bundled the service with consumer systems.

Called "Dell DataSafe Online," the one-year deal provides 3GB of storage for all new Inspiron desktops and notebooks, and 10GB with new XPS machines. After-purchase options let users upgrade to 10GB, 20GB, or 30GB, and extend the subscription. Upping the allowance from 3GB to 30GB, for instance, costs US$39 for 12 months.

Dell first broached the DataSafe idea at January's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), when it said the service would help customers migrate data from older systems to new Dell-built PCs. Users were to upload files and settings to Dell's servers; Dell would then transfer the data to the new computer before it was shipped. However, the OEM made no mention of this feature.

Using software pre-installed on the Inspiron or XPS computer, customers can select the files or folders for storing online, and choose a backup schedule. Data is encrypted, said Dell, and online storage accounts are password protected.

Of course, free online storage isn't new. In fact, it can be had for the asking, new Dell or not. Berkeley Data Systems Inc., for example, offers 2GB free to Windows and Mac users with its Mozy service, and charges US$54.45 for a year subscription to unlimited storage. Xdrive's same-named Xdrive online storage service, meanwhile, gives away 5GB, and prices its 50GB allowance at US$119.40 annually.

Dell willl be introducing Dell On-line Back-up on Inspiron and XPS in Australia in the third quarter. Prices haven't been finalised but are likekly to be around AUD$30 a year for 3GB and AUD$40 for 10GB, said Paul McKeon, corporate communications manager, Dell Australia and New Zealand.

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