Dropbox's new "chooser" button, as shown in Mailbox. Mailbox users can now save emails to their Dropbox account without leaving the app, or attach a Dropbox link like an attachment.

Chooser integration on an Android. Users can now pick up apps on their Android tablets where they left off on their iPhones.

Dropbox's new "saver" button allow an app's users to save and access content via their Dropbox accounts.

Saving to Dropbox.

Rejoice! Your masterpiece has been saved in Dropbox.

The "saver" option in action.

Dropbox

Saving to Dropbox.

Dropbox Moves Beyond The File To Power Cross-Platform Applications

Apps can now use Dropbox to sync bookmarks, passwords, to-do lists, preferences, contacts, high scores, and other data between devices and operating systems.

In its latest move from file storage base to cloud-based operating system, Dropbox announced a set of new tools for app builders on Tuesday that syncs app data across platforms.

“Today we move beyond files and folders to store any kind of application data,” Dropbox CEO Drew Houston said at the company's first developer conference in San Francisco.

Apps can now use Dropbox to sync bookmarks, passwords, to-do lists, preferences, contacts, high scores, and other data between devices and operating systems. That means their users can, for instance, pick up apps on their Android tablets where they left off on their iPhones. Microsoft and Apple offer similar developer tools for syncing files. "We already have 175 million people who have signed up for Dropbox, and they don’t have to have the friction of creating another account,” Houston said of his service's competitive advantage.

Dropbox also introduced a new version of Mailbox, the email management app it acquired in March. It incorporates Dropbox's new "chooser" button, which allows an app's users to access content via their Dropbox accounts. Mailbox users, for instance, can now attach a Dropbox link like an attachment. "This is the first integration that Mailbox and Dropbox have done," Houston said, "and we’re looking forward to doing a lot more."

Though Dropbox was founded in 2007 as a cloud storage company, it has recently moved toward also managing its users' content. It acquired photo app Snapjoy and music management service Audiogalaxy last year, and in January announced a feature for previewing documents without leaving the site and tools for sharing photos from Dropbox to Facebook, Twitter, and email.

As Houston said, Dropbox has 175 million users, up from about 100 million in November, and about 100,000 developers have used its tools in their apps.

[Image: Flickr user ilamont.com, Courtesy of Dropbox]

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3 Comments

  • TPIC-UK

    Does this theoretically mean that apps could be stored in the cloud? er-go not taking up phone storage? Then be accessed from an ipad, iphone, PC, Windows Phone, Android etc? 
    OR in reality Drop Box are just adding some features- calling them apps and making them slot inside their existing product?

  • Sarah Kessler

    When someone builds an app, they can use Dropbox to sync it across platforms. So let's say you're playing a game on your iPhone that has nothing to do with Dropbox and you get a high score. That game's developer can use Dropbox's new API to make sure that when you log in to the same game on your Android tablet it reflects that high score.

    So it's not storing these apps in the cloud (at least not yet!), it's providing developers with tools to sync their apps in the cloud.