HP Mini Netbooks with CloudDrive Have Nearly Limitless Storage

I haven’t bumped into the ZumoDrive folks just yet, but they did give me a heads-up on some big news. The cloud storage and synchronization company worked a deal with HP (s hpq) to power the CloudDrive service on the HP Mini netbook line starting this month. Essentially, owners of HP Mini netbooks have built-in web storage that virtually expands the local, physical storage. All content is stored centrally on Amazon S3 servers and pulled down as needed.

What I like best about ZumoDrive’s approach is how data in the cloud has a local look and feel. When I last looked at the service, I used iTunes to listen to music files stored online, but you really couldn’t tell where the data was. This seamless blurring of local vs cloud storage is a key strength for mobile users as is the cross-platform support and mobile client.

Some of the key CloudDrive features include:

  • Seamless media integration – stream music, videos and photos to popular programs like, iTunes, iPhoto, Picasa and Windows Media Player.
  • Offline access enjoy frequently and recently used content.
  • Folder linking – link any folder to HP CloudDrive for automatic future importing.
  • Content autodetection –content is detected on devices by type (music, photos, etc.) for easy bulk importing
  • Improved iPhone app – move content seamlessly between an iPhone and one or more computers by storing it in HP CloudDrive.
  • Playlist syncing – listen to playlists on netbooks or smartphones, even if they were created on another PC.
  • File sharing – create a link to share a photo album, document, or entire folder for collaboration.

We’ll see if we can get a hands-on demo when meeting with either HP or ZumoDrive and report back on the experience. If it’s anything like what I’ve seen in the past, it ought to be good. The one outstanding question I have is the end-user cost — while CloudDrive will be bundled, the ZumoDrive service typically requires a monthly fee based on the amount of storage, although anyone can get 2 GB of storage for free.