Apple introduced its new iCloud service to much fanfare yesterday, offering a way to synchronize your music, documents, photos, contacts, and apps across multiple devices. The full iCloud service goes live this fall, but some portions are already working. But Apple is hardly the first company to bring cloud-based services to mobile devices.

Google Android users have long been able to sync contacts, appointments, and other data across multiple devices and the web. And Microsoft had already offers tight integration between Windows Phone 7 and the 25GB of free cloud storage the company offers with its SkyDrive platform.

Now Microsoft is detailing new SkyDrive featires that will come with Windows Phone 7 Mango. SkyDrive and Hotmail already let users access their contacts, calendar appointments, email, Office documents, and photos across multiple devices. Mango will add support for:

  • Sharing photos stored in your SkyDrive account via email, SMS, or IM
  • Sharing videos recorded on your phone over the web using SkyDrive
  • Browsing all folders and documents in your SkyDrive account on your phone or searching for documents
  • Viewing all items that other users have shared with you

You can check out a few demo videos showing new photo, video, and Office features.

Apple’s iCloud service has a few things to offer that SkyDrive does not, including the ability to store your music collection in the cloud. But one key advantage Microsoft is offering is that you don’t have to pay extra for apps to edit text, spreadsheet, or presentation documents. Apple and Microsoft will both store your documents in the cloud, but you have to pay $10 per app to actually create and edit those files in iOS.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...