Latest version of StuffIt Deluxe incorporates cloud computing

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Smith Micro Software on Monday announced a new version of Stuffit, its venerable file compression tool.

Among other new features, StuffIt Deluxe 2010 supports the new “cloud-based” StuffIt Connect service, which lets you share large files with other users more easily.

The program now has a Stuff and Mail option in its menu-bar menu. If you select a small file, that option will compress it and attach the compressed file to a new e-mail message. If you select a larger file, the compressed version will be uploaded to the “cloud” via StuffIt Connect, and an e-mail invitation will be sent to your recipient. That invitation contains a link to the hosted file; files are encrypted and can be password-protected. The service allows you to store up to 2GB of compressed files at a time.

Also new in this version: plug-ins that enable you to compress files from within iPhoto and Aperture; a Create Disk Image entry in the menu bar menu; and improved compression of 24-bit image formats and WAV files.

While such features sound nice, they do raise a question: Smith Micro says its marquee product provides “industry leading” compression methods and file-compatibility, along with StuffIt Connect and other conveniences. But OS X has its own built-in file-compression tools. Will users find Stuffit’s additional features worth the program’s $80 price-tag? (Registered users of previous versions of StuffIt Deluxe or StuffIt Standard for Mac can upgrade for $30.)

StuffIt Deluxe 2010 for Mac is compatible with OS X 10.4 and later. It’s available for pre-order now from Smith Micro and resellers.

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