Dropbox’s effortless file sharing service is going mobile in a big way: the service has just launched its official Android application, a native iPad app (which comes in addition to a previously released iPhone application), and a new mobile API. The latter is most important: application developers on the Android and iPhone OS platforms will now be able to integrate Dropbox into their applications, allowing for effortless syncing from third-party apps like QuickOffice, GoodReader, and Fuze Meeting to your desktop.
One of the best parts of the new mobile API is the fact that it works with iPad applications. There are plenty of things to love about the iPad, but Apple has badly botched the flow to actually share files created on an iPad with your PC or Mac — the convoluted process involves syncing with iTunes, which isn’t the first application you’d think of when you’re trying to save, say, a Word document. With applications that integrate the Dropbox mobile API, you can skip that entirely: just tap save from your iPad. Your file will sync to your Dropbox account, and it will immediately pop up on all of your synced computers. In short, this is the file syncing service that Apple should have built (but better, because it works with Android apps too).
In addition to allowing users to save documents from their mobile devices to their desktop, the API also gives Dropbox’s native mobile applications an ‘Open With’ function. In other words, if you’re browsing your Dropbox account using the new iPad app and you come across a presentation file, you can choose to open it with Keynote.
Dropbox is calling the new mobile API ‘Dropbox Anywhere‘ and promises that an API suited for the desktop is on the way and a BlackBerry application will be coming this summer. You can see some of the launch applications for the mobile API here. I expect we’ll see quite a few applications add support in the near future.
Anyone else think this is going to spark a bidding war between Google and Apple?
Update: As pointed out in the comments, Dropbox competitor SugarSync also offers an API that should allow for similar file transfers. The key here will be getting developers to adopt the APIs — neither will be much use if they aren’t integrated into apps.
Dropbox was founded in 2007 by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi. Frustrated by working from multiple computers, Drew was inspired to create a service that would let people bring all their files anywhere, with no need to email around attachments. Drew created a demo of Dropbox and showed it to fellow MIT student Arash Ferdowsi, who dropped out with only one semester left to help make Dropbox a reality. Guiding their decisions was a relentless focus on crafting a...