Dropbox introduced a feature last week that allows mobile apps to save data to a user’s Dropbox account, allowing users to sync their mobile app data across multiple devices .Millions of users have already downloaded Dropbox to automatically sync their files across multiple devices by placing them within a Dropbox folder on their computer.
The Dropbox service is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. A mobile version of Dropbox has also been released for both Android and iOS. Dropbox’s cross platform compatibility is a major reason the product has seen such success.
According to the Technology Review, Dropbox’s new Sync API will place Dropbox in direct competition with Apple. Apple’s iCloud service allows Mac OS and iOS users to sync data and files across multiple Apple devices. However, the service only works with Apple products. Dropbox’s alternative will not only allow Apple users to use their data outside of Apple’s ecosystem, but it provides the same functionality for other operating systems that have not yet had an easy-to-use alternative available.
Developers must first embrace the programming interface before users will reap the benefits. If such adoption does take place, users will be able to take pictures that previously could only be accessed within a specific app and save them to their Dropbox accounts instead. Users can then access this data from any of their other devices or from any web browser. This last feature is unavailable to iCloud, giving Dropbox’s service even more appeal.
Before now, the Dropbox API worked with websites, not apps. Application developers had to create their own means of integrating with Dropbox. With Dropbox’s new API, developers can focus on the core functionality of their own apps.
The competition between Apple and Dropbox is nothing new. Apple initially offered to buy Dropbox back in 2009. Instead of allies, they have grown into the two most widely used cloud services in the US. Dropbox now feels threatened by services such as iCloud that lock users into a specific ecosystem. This approach guarantees that users will continue to turn to Apple devices where their data is easily accessible and can lower the use of alternatives such as Dropbox that are not allowed access to such data. Dropbox’s offering is more popular among users of other devices for whom the options are not as mature. People who rely on many different operating systems within their homes may still download Dropbox as their most accessible option.