Cloud computing data loss for mobile owners

The new Palm Pre smartphone has suffered its first setback after users were unable to recover their data from its cloud computing backup system. Users who reset their handsets to the factory defaults, wiping their personal information, expected to be able to quickly restore data that had previously been backed up, but soon discovered that this was not possible.

The Palm Pre’s online backup service is known as the ‘Palm Profile’ and is able to store extensive contact lists, personal notes, reminders and calendar items. The purpose of the system is to allow users to restore their personal data if their Palm Pre is corrupted, lost, stolen or irreparably damaged.

The manufacturer Palm has issued a statement to the press stating that it is aware of the issues that some customers have been having with the Palm Profile backup system and that it is aiming to remedy any current problems as soon as possible.

According to official sources, the issues are only affecting a small number of customers, although this may be misleading as it is unlikely that a significant proportion of Pre owners will ever have required the use of the backup system this early in the Pre’s life. If more people restore before the issues have been fixed there could be many further incidences of data loss.

At this time it appears that the problem is only affecting the US market, where the Pre has become an extremely popular alternative to the Apple iPhone. However, there is still a chance that other customers around the world, including the UK, could suffer the same problems in the future.

The failure of the Palm Pre’s cloud backup system has echoes of the recent T-Mobile Sidekick data loss scandal caused by a catastrophic server failure during an upgrade. Microsoft-owned Danger was eventually able to recover all of the user data from the cloud, despite initial reports suggesting that it had been permanently destroyed.

With more and more mobile manufacturers integrating cloud backup into their flagship platforms, incidents such as these are seen to be damaging to the image of cloud computing during a period when so many are working hard to establish it as a viable and resilient platform.

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