By Vamien McKalin | May 27, 2013 03:24 PM EDT
Mobile & Apps recently had a chat with the CTO of Tonido, Anis Abdul, about the company along with the Tonido client and mobile application that is used by thousands worldwide. Tonido is not the most popular service around, but according to Anis Abdul, it deserves to be.
Mobile & Apps: How long has Tonido been around?
Anis Abdul: The company was actually started in 2008, roughly a year after that we started Tonido. So the company itself is about 5 years old, and the client itself is around 4 years old now.
M&A: What was the main goal of Tonido when the company came to life in 2008?
Anis Abdul: The primary goal for us has been always to allow users to have control over their own data. Given the fact that the data used by users is increasing by the day because of all these different devices, for example the iPhones, Android phones and tablets. People should be given a way to manage and have control over their own data without having to resort to public clouds and stuff like that, so that was one of our primary motivation to provide a kind of private cloud access for data that you own.
M&A: Does Tonido provide a service where users can have access to their files online and not just on their local computers?
Anis Abdul: Yes, Tonido already has that support. You can basically mount it as a drive, it will look like a drive and it is available through an application called Tonido Drive, which can be installed on your Windows client. Furthermore, you can also use a web browser or a mobile client to access your files if you so wish.
M&A: Just recently, Tonido updated its iOS app, could you share more information on that for our readers.
Anis Abdul: Until recently, Tonido has been running direct access to the files, but one of the most requested features we have seen, is the ability for users to get quick access to their media files, whether it is audio files, video files, or photographs. That requires indexing, so basically, Tonido had to look for these files and index them for easier access. That support was added to Tonido server in version 4.6.2 and onwards. Therefore, at the same time, we wanted people to access that using the iOS client, so for this to happen, the iOS client was completely rewritten with a new UI and new support to get access to this indexed data.
Anis Abdul: With the new Tonido iOS app, it will show all your audio files in the form of artistes, albums, and music genre. It also gives you full control over your playlists. If you go to photographs, you'll notice photos have been organized based on the year, month, or day they had been taken. Also with videos, you'll see that videos can be accessed wither by their names, or by the day a video was taken.
M&A: Are these new features available on Android and Windows Phone?
Anis Abdul: Not at the moment, however, these features will come in the next version of the Tonido Android app, which is scheduled for either this month or the next. Following that, it's going to be for windows, but we're not yet set on a date since the Windows Phone user base in not where we would have like it to be.
M&A: When it comes to the numbers, what is Tonido's user base?
Anis Abdul: If you look at the data, we have around 200,000 users taking advantage of what Tonido has to offer at the moment.
M&A: With the popularity of Microsoft SkyDrive and Google Drive at an all time high, how does Tonido plans to compete with these services?
Anis Abdul: Compared to the other platforms, Tonido is not tied to a single platform. For example, Apple's iCloud is only tied to Apple devices, the same can be said for Windows. Furthermore, Tonido allows for the access of data that is on your computer and not a third party public drive in the cloud.
M&A: Are there plans to work with hardware manufactures and network carriers to have Tonido pre-installed on smart devices.
Anis Abdul: Yes, Tonido does provide OEM support. We're currently in talks with KPN, a network provider in the Netherlands and Orange in Spain, they are interested in releasing specific hardware with Tonido installed. Also there's company like Corsair, that already released hardware that uses Tonido.
M&A: What is Tonido Plug?
Anis Abdul: Tonido Plus is basically a mass device, except that it is really low powered, it takes up like only 5 watts, and it comes with WiFi, Ethernet, and a USB. You can attach your external USB hard drive to it, or a laptop hard drive using the SATA port. Once you have that, everything should work as expected since Tonido Plug already have the software pre-installed. All the user would need is the Tonido app on their mobile device or a web browser to remotely access their files on the Tonido Plug hardware. Furthermore, Tonido Plug supports DNLA, so you should be able to view files on your TV.
M&A: Where can consumers purchase Tonido Plug?
Anis Abdul: You can visit Tonido.com and purchase it from our store, Amazon, or one of the distributors in the UK and Singapore.
M&A: How do you assure users that Tonido does not have access to their files?
Anis Abdul: Because Tonido is on your computer, none of the data ever goes to our servers. Furthermore, you can restrict the files available for access via Tonido to maximize your security.
M&A: Does Tonido have services for businesses?
Anis Abdul: Yes. With Tonido Biz, users can customize Tonido by putting in their own logo; they even have more sharing capabilities along with the option to add any amount of guest to the system. In addtion, with Tonido Biz, users can customize the type of files guests will have access to. Business customers can have access to all these features and more for only $129.
Thanks to the Tonido team for taking the time out to make this interview possible.
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