Back when Box launched its OneCloud platform for enterprise mobile apps back in March, VP of Platform Engineering Chris Yeh says that virtually all of the user comments boiled down to a single question: What about Android? So today, Box is answering the cry of forlorn Android owners by releasing OneCloud for Android.
OneCloud is basically a collection of mobile apps that integrate with Box. Viewers can browse, purchase, and download apps from a gallery. Then, when you’re browsing your documents in Box, you can interact with them using the apps that you’ve installed. Yeh says that 25 percent of Box iOS users are visiting the gallery every day, and that OneCloud is already on-track to drive hundreds of thousands of dollars of app sales for developers in its first year. The most popular apps involve document editing and PDF annotation, he adds.
As for Android, Yeh says it was always on the roadmap, especially since the company’s mobile user base has more Android owners than iOS. (So why start with iOS? Because of the potential of the iPad.)
“In a perfect world we would have launched [Android and iOS] simultaneously, but it was a lot to bite off,” Yeh says.
He adds that in some ways the experience is better on Android, specifically in allowing for a smooth transition from opening a file in Box, opening an app to edit the file, then saving that app back to the same location in Box, which he says is not as clean in iOS.
There has been one big surprise, Yeh says: The relatively small overlap between OneCloud apps on iOS and Android. Initially, he expected to bring most of Box’s iOS partners into the Android platform, but he realized that many small developers only have an app on one or the other — they don’t have resources for both. So even though Box has signed up 50 launch partners to OneCloud for Android, only 11 of them are also available on iOS. This, Yeh says, is an indication of how “fragmented” the smartphone landscape has become.
The Android apps include printing app Breezy, note-taker FetchNotes, and e-signature app Docusign. And with today’s release of the Box OneCloud Android SDK, their ranks should grow. (Yeh says the Box team likes to work directly with each partner, although that may become less feasible as the platform scales.)
After starting as a college business project in 2005, Box was officially launched in March of 2006 with the vision of connecting people, devices and networks. Box provides more than 8 million users with secure cloud content management and collaboration. They say their platform “allows personal and commercial content to be accessible, sharable, and storable in any format from anywhere”.