Back in 2012, Google came out with a feature that would rival the commonly used cloud storage option, Dropbox, with their release of Google Drive. Originally, Drive had a base storage of 5GB which could be used to save documents, pictures, videos, etc. on the cloud. A user had the option to purchase extra storage if they found 5GB too little. Since then, Google has offered various expansion methods for free; the most recent being the expansion of Drive and Gmail (they share the same storage allocation) to 25GB if certain criteria were met. Well, they are looking to offer yet another [temporary] expansion.
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Together, Google and HTC are offering users of certain devices the ability to expand their storage up to 50GB for two years. The good news is that owners of certain HTC devices, be they new or current customers, are eligible for this upgrade. HTC One Max, for example, will come with this option automatically. Just fire up Google Drive and the offer will pop up before you. The remaining devices eligible are limited to 2013 devices but require Sense 5.5. So we HTC One owners are a bit out of the loop until we get the update (for example), with the exception of some customers in Europe. However, don’t let that dissuade you or stomp on your dreams. It seems users have until January of 2016 to sign up for this offer. When Sense 5.5 reaches current devices, Google Drive will notify the customer of the offer for an additional 25GB (totaling up to 50GB storage).
A quick note: If you own multiple HTC devices, the offer is only redeemable once per account . So you cannot stack redemption across multiple devices, but that should matter little considering that you will still have 40GB to 50GB total storage across your account. But more to that point, you can redeem two different offers (one for 50GB and one for 25GB for example) across multiple devices. Also, the Developer Edition of the HTC One is ineligible for this offer as is any device with an unlocked bootloader. Keep that in mind when looking for the promo offer. Also, while most users will get an additional 25GB storage (for a max total of 40GB to 50GB), the HTC One Max owners will actually come out ahead with a total of 65GB.
But what if the offer ends and you have filled up your storage? Don’t worry. All your files will still be accessible, downloadable, shareable, and editable but you simply cannot add any more files without purchasing more space.
One major issue I see with this is that it is not eligible for used or refurbished devices. This is problematic considering carriers’ return/exchange policies. For example, when I first got my One, I was having screen issues. Instead of giving me a new One (even though it was only 2 weeks old at the time), I received a refurbished phone. Because of this, I am ineligible. According to Google:
” The offer is only available to original buyer of a device over its lifetime.”
This is a substantial addition to the current free storage offered by Google. With more and more people storing larger and larger files, and sometimes doing full back ups on the cloud, this is yet one more move from Google for user support. For those of us who signed up for gmail when it first came out, we remember watching the storage amount rapidly tick upward from 500MB to 1GB to 2GB and onward. I see the same modus operandi with Google Drive, and I’m not complaining. This move by Google and HTC is actually larger than it may seem. In essence, if a customer were to purchase one of the new HTC devices, they are getting near $60 worth of storage for free (figure calculated from the base purchase of $4.99/mo for 100GB of storage). Not a bad deal, especially for shutterbugs who auto-sync to Drive.