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PC & Mac Files to iPhones? Soonr Does it.

You still can't take it all with you, but a new iPhone service makes it easy to access your PC or Mac files from the cloud.

Released today at Apple's App Store for the iPhone, Soonr automatically backs up PC or Mac files to a "personal cloud" of online storage. Soonr said its like-named service supports a wide range of document formats including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. These files can be rendered on the iPhone even though the related applications aren't active on the device.

While the files are better viewed on a larger screen, Soonr lets you preview pages in a thumbnail view for quick access. The basic Soonr service is free. Soonr said expanded versions will be available from certain mobile operators and SaaS providers it's working with. The standard version has a 500 megabyte storage limit. You can see a video demo of Soonr on YouTube.com here.

Wireless analyst Andy Seybold said he believes Soonr is another step toward truly mobile computing -- but just don't expect him to ditch his notebook when traveling just yet. He makes the distinction between "conscious carry" (deciding to bring a notebook computer when traveling) and "unconscious carry" (devices like the iPhone you may keep clipped to or in your pocket without worries over weight or bulk.

"The way I look at it is, are you creating work when you're traveling or more likely to just need to reference files? If I'm creating I take the notebook; if I'm referencing, a mobile device may be all I need," Seybold told InternetNews.com. "Services like Soonr are going to blur that line of having to decide whether to take just the iPhone and a notebook as well."

Soonr's release comes the day before the start of Macworld Expo in San Francisco and amid enormous interest in all things iPhone-related. A number of services, Hop+on+iPhone+such as pcAnywhere and GoToMyPC, have long offered PC and Mac users the ability to access their files from remote locations. But typically these require that the computer be turned for access.

By storing to remote servers (i.e. the cloud), Soonr makes these files available at any time regardless of whether the desktop system is active.

Soonr screenshot
Soonr Thumbnail Views
"We've coined the term the mobile document worker," Soonr Chairman and Chief Product Officer, Martin Frid-Nielson, told InternetNews.com. "They depend on access to documents and they have a lifestyle, a new way of working that's not just 9 to 5."

Frid-Nelson said Soonr backs up files and folders to the cloud automatically, starting with the My Documents for PC users, by default. Users can select other ones for Soonr to store to the cloud.

"We're not saying throw away your laptop, we recognize the need for both. But if you lose your laptop that's a big issue."