Apr 7, 2011 — by: Karl Johnson
Categories: iOS Applications, Mac Applications, Review

Some say the iPad does not need a file structure application like Finder on the Mac. That may be fine for content consumption, but not for content creation. Those that want to use the iPad as a productivity device will want to have a finder like application. Storing files in the application and syncing through iTunes is horribly slow and cumbersome at best.

Accessing stored files is a must to create content or be productive. If only one device is used, those files can easily be stored on that computer or device. A problem arises when someone starts to use more than one device. Making sure files are up-to-date on every device or computer can become a headache. This headache can be solved by using Dropbox.

Dropbox's biggest advantage is its ability to sync files between multiple computers in the background without any user intervention. This service is fast and only requires a small amount of resources. It turns a tasks that requires multiple steps to complete into a less than 1 minute wait time. Dropbox syncs files in the background while the user is working. Once the work is complete, it usually only takes a minute to sync the recently saved work.

The iPad is a different story. Since the iPad does not have a finder, Dropbox can't sync files to it. While the Dropbox app is nice for viewing files, it does not sync files on the iPad. The best move Dropbox made was to build an API to allow developers access to Dropbox from within their applications. This API allows other developers to add features to the product with Dropbox's involvement. It has turned Dropbox into a cloud Finder for the iPad and iPhone. This has changed the way productivity apps are developed for the iPad and iPhone.

More and more iOS applications are adding Dropbox integration. These productivity apps allow the user to open, edit, and save their latest files while away. Photogene allows users to save edited photos to Dropbox. Nebulous was built from the ground up to edit text files anywhere in the Dropbox Folder. Web Browsers like Atomic Web and iCabMobile allow files to be downloaded directly to a Dropbox folder. Many other graphics and productivity applications also provide access to files from desktop applications. Other developers have stepped up to build a better Dropbox file application as well. ReaddleDocs and GoodReader both allow files and folders to be synced between Dropbox and the iPad or iPhone. These applications are what separates Dropbox from similar products and unleashes the iPad's true potential.

In the past, people had only one computer in the house or office. So files only needed to reside in one place. That has changed as computers have become cheaper and mobile devices more powerful. With multiple computers and devices, files can't be stored just in one location anymore. These files need to travel with us as we move from device to device simply, reliably, and without user intervention. Up-to-date files need to be accessible anytime and anywhere. Dropbox is filling a void that was created when we changed the way we use computers. While not perfect, it is the best solution for keeping all one's files up-to-date on the devices we use today.

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1 Comment

  1. VirtuAl20XI ~ Apr. 7, 2011 @ 9:12 am

    Please do a comparison of SugarSync to DropBox- I like SugarSync- just a bit Sweeter I'd have to say :) Thank you, VA20XI #

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