AOL on Monday introduced Xdrive Desktop Lite, a new version of the online data storage service. For the first time, Xdrive works on the Mac, thanks to AOL's switch to Adobe AIR technology. Xdrive Desktop Lite is being offered as a public beta.
Xdrive provides users with an online storage repository. Users upload digital files stored on their local hard drive, then can access those files from within the Xdrive application on that computer or other systems with an Internet connection. Users can get up to 5GB of storage via Xdrive for free; additional space costs extra (a 50GB plan costs $9.95 per month). AOL acquired Xdrive in 2005.
In principle, Xdrive works similarly to Apple's iDisk, which comes as part of Apple's .Mac services, although .Mac enables any WebDAV client, Mac or PC, to access an iDisk volume. Xdrive requires the special desktop client in order to work. The Xdrive Desktop Lite client lets users share files with others, either by e-mailing them links ot the files or by embedded HTML code on their own Web pages (the client provides specific links to shared files).
The new public beta release of Xdrive Desktop Lite is built using Adobe AIR, development software designed to enable software makers to use Web technologies like HTML, Ajax, Adobe Flash and Flex on the desktop instead of on the Web.
Anyone with an AOL or AIM user account can register for Xdrive for free. Later this year, anyone will be able to register for Xdrive with any screen name or e-mail address, according to AOL.