Best Buy announced a new mobile backup service called mIQ. Designed to compete with similar services like Apple's MobileMe or Microsoft's My Phone, mIQ offers up to 1 GB of storage space in the cloud for photos, video, contact and calendar information, SMS messages, and more. However, unlike its competitors, mIQ has a couple of distinct advantages: it's 100% free and anyone can sign up to use it.Earlier this week, electronics retailer
What mIQ Does
Mobile phone backup services are par for the course these days. Several vendors offer their own version: for example, Apple has MobileMe, Microsoft has My Phone and Nokia has Ovi. Despite this fact, a lot of users aren't taking advantage of these solutions for one of two reasons: either their phone isn't supported or they simply don't want to pay for the service. Case in point, Apple's MobileMe starts at a hefty $99 per year. After already blowing hundreds on the handset alone, that extra fee often proves to be too much for some users.
That's why Best Buy mIQ has appeal. Although the service maxes out at 1 GB of storage, it's enough for the average mobile phone user to backup everything on their phone with room to spare (well, except for iPhone users, but they're not supported at this time. Guess they have to pony up the $99 after all).
In addition to providing online storage, the new service also provides a web site where users can access their online account, even reading and responding to incoming SMS messages from their PC. From the website, mIQ users can share photos and videos to popular social networks, too, including Facebook, Flickr, FriendFeed and Twitter. And all changes made from the web instantly sync back to the mobile phone and vice versa.
Officially launching on Monday October 12th, mIQ will be pre-installed on any supported phone sold at Best Buy. In addition, other users, even those who bought their phone elsewhere, can sign up to use the service too from miqlive.com. Currently the system, built by Seattle-based Dashwire, supports smartphones running BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 operating systems like the BlackBerry 9700, Bold, Tour, Nokia E71 and N97, HTC Pro 2, Samsung Omnia II and T-Mobile Dash 3G.
But you don't have to wait until Monday to sign up. The site is accepting registrations as of now.
What's the Catch? Why is mIQ Free?
If you're wondering why Best Buy would offer a valuable backup service like this for free when so many others force you to pay, it's because the company is busy rebranding themselves as more than just a place to buy phones and accessories. They want to be an end-to-end mobile solutions provider - a place where you can shop for phones from multiple carriers, get advice, and receive support for your handset throughout the life of the phone.
To accomplish this goal, the company has been busy ramping up new offerings like a dedicated Best Buy Mobile site, a revamped Facebook page with new applications, and of course, a partnership with Google for exclusive Best Buy apps, including some designed just for Android phones.