AT&T on Thursday announced a new service it calls AT&T Locker that will allow AT&T iPhone and Android smartphone customers to store 5GB worth of videos and photos for free in AT&T's "cloud."
The service is available through a free app in the Apple App Store or the Google Play store. And it allows users to store roughly 5,000 average sized photos in the cloud. The app requires subscribers use either an iPhone 3GS or newer device. And Android users must be on version 2.1 or higher of the Android OS. Customers who don't have devices that meet those requirements can still store photos and video in the Locker, but they must connect via a computer to sideload the video or pictures to the cloud storage.
From the AT&T Locker, users can share their videos and images on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or e-mail. Users can create and customize albums for photos and video on the device or online from their computers. AT&T also allows customers to store music and other files in the AT&T Locker.
Users can choose to upload new photos and video via Wi-Fi, AT&T's cellular network or both. Customers can manage those photos and share them through the app on the smartphone or on the AT&T Locker web page. AT&T plans to incorporate additional features in future versions of AT&T Locker. And the company didn't say whether higher storage options will be available.
The service sounds very similar to services already offered by Apple and Google. Apple's iCloud service also allows up to 5GB of free storage. And it also offers Photo Stream, which allows its iPhone users to automatically store photos in Apple's cloud and share them across multiple iOS devices as well as share them with other people. The service stores up to 1,000 pictures automatically and this storage doesn't count against the iCloud storage limits.
Google also offers storage in its Google Drive service. This service also offers up to 5GB of free storage. You can store anything here from pictures to documents to music.
Of course there are also other options for storing photos and other digital content including Dropbox and Microsoft's SkyDrive. So it's unclear why exactly AT&T wireless subscribers would use AT&T Locker over any of these other services. That said, AT&T's focus on mobile content may appeal to some users.
Still, considering the bad rap the company is getting lately in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, especially in places such as New York and New Jersey, some subscribers may not trust AT&T with their precious photos and videos if they feel they can't count on the carrier to keep the network up and running in a crisis. After all, operating a wireless network even in the face of a disaster is AT&T's core business.