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Turn your iPad into a Web server

A new app called ServersMan HD turns your iPad into a file-serving device provided you have enough bandwidth and can afford the charges.

Japanese software development shop FreeBit recently announced "ServersMan HD," an application that makes your iPad act like a Web server--allowing documents and files to be uploaded, downloaded, and viewed on the device.

Currently, the primary way to get files on and off of the iPad is through iTunes syncing or e-mail, or by using an online service such as Google Docs that stores your files in the cloud.

And while odds are you won't be building an iPad-based data center anytime soon, this application, like others, helps to prove the use case of cloud-based storage for tablets and other mobile devices.


But the growth of cloud-based anything (storage, video, etc.) for mobile devices assumes that the necessary bandwidth is available and not terribly expensive, both of which current iPhone users have suffered with at the hands of AT&T's position as the exclusive provider of mobile services.

As CNET's Marguerite Reardon noted last week, since the iPhone first launched in 2007, AT&T has been struggling to keep up with demand for wireless-data usage on its network. iPhone users on average consume five- to seven-times more data per month than average wireless subscribers, according to analyst firm Sanford Bernstein.

Odds are iPad users, once unleashed on the AT&T network, will consume even more data, especially considering the fact that you can't make non-VoIP calls. This is partially what lead to AT&T's announcement this past week to eliminate unlimited data access plans.

I bought a Wi-Fi-only iPad and to date have been pleased, if underwhelmed by the device. The lack of Flash support ranges from annoying to infuriating (you try telling a 3-year-old he or she can't view and reading e-books on the iPad becomes quickly tiring, not just for your eyes, but also for your wrists as you hold it in position.

But the iPad still holds a tremendous amount of promise. The issues are less about technology and more about consumer choice and rights to content. I expect to see Android close the gap dramatically over the next year as the iPad will struggle to have as much differentiation over competitors.