Dropbox has become an indispensable part of my toolbox. It’s the free service that syncs files between different computers, so that files in the “My Dropbox” folder appear on all the computers running the software linked to your account. Edit a file on your home computer, save it in My Dropbox, and the edited version will be on your office computer in the morning. It saves different versions of files, allows you to share files with others in various ways, and gives you online access to them when you’re away from your computers. Here’s my recent writeup about Dropbox.
Yesterday the company released the first versions of Dropbox applications for iPads and Android devices, joining its iPhone app. The press release with more details is here.
There will be more capabilities added to each app, but the first release is simple and surprisingly useful. Take the Android app as an example: the Dropbox app on Android displays the list of Dropbox folders and files, the same list you see on your computer. If you click on a file on the Android, Dropbox downloads the file and shows it to you (and caches a local copy). You can’t edit files on the Android and have them saved back to Dropbox, at least not yet; for the moment, it’s a one-way trip designed only for viewing Dropbox files.
Meanwhile, in the Dropbox app, pictures and video can be uploaded to your Dropbox folders. I’m still testing but it appears that pictures have to be imported individually – I don’t see a setting to link Dropbox to the Android’s pictures folder to upload all pictures automatically. However, the camera can be started from the Dropbox app, which will then automatically take over the pictures and put them into your Dropbox folder online.
It’s also possible to mail links to individual items in Dropbox straight from the mobile device, making it ridiculously convenient to share photos immediately from your iPhone or Android.
Visit Dropbox to set up your free account and become familiar with the service. The Android app is available in the Android Marketplace. The company also released tools for other program developers to integrate with Dropbox – it’s getting the kind of momentum that might cement it as the first choice for everyone to move files into the cloud.