Box.net Adds Android, RIM Tablet Support, HTML5 Site - InformationWeek

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8/11/2011
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Box.net Adds Android, RIM Tablet Support, HTML5 Site

Targeting mobile knowledge workers who want to share and store files in the cloud, Box.net adds support for a more diverse set of devices.

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In an effort to make it easier for mobile knowledge workers to share and store files in the cloud, Box on Thursday updated its Android app to support tablets, introduced a new app for RIM's PlayBook, and revised its mobile website with HTML5 features.

Box, an enterprise-oriented cloud storage and sharing service, says that in the first seven months of 2011, it has seen an increase in mobile customer implementations of more than 600% compared to all of 2010.

While Apple's iPad has dominated the enterprise tablet landscape, Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of Box, argues that companies are looking to support more than one platform. "The future of enterprise mobility won't be owned by any one platform, and we're investing aggressively to deliver an unparalleled experience across all devices in a way that platform-committed vendors like Microsoft fundamentally cannot," he said in a statement.

Such sentiment won't stop the leading platform vendors from trying to own enterprise mobility and cloud storage. But Apple's forthcoming iCloud, which will store data for iOS, Mac OS X Lion, and Windows Vista/7, doesn't have anything to offer Android or webOS users, which could leave an opening for Box to exploit.

Box previously released apps for Apple's iPad and HP's TouchPad, and the company's Android app was previously available only for mobile phones. According to Box, there have been over 400,000 downloads of its iOS app and over 100,000 downloads of its Android app.

Noting that the combined share of iOS and Android in the smartphone market doubled between Q2 2010 and Q2 2011, rising from 31% to 62%, a Gartner report issued on Thursday declares, "Google and Apple are the obvious winners in the smartphone ecosystem." The research firm foresees competitive challenges for RIM as it manages its platform transition from BlackBerry 7 to QNX.

Box however says that it sees demand for broader device support. "We've seen several large customers request cross-the-board support for iOS, Android, and Playbook," a company spokesperson said in an email. "We've also had deals come in based on all of these platforms."

But there's more to enterprise mobility than native operating systems. Like many other companies, Box is embracing HTML5 alongside native apps. The company's mobile website, m.box.net, now offers the ability to view files and folders, to add comments, to share content, and to search using a mobile browser.

The revised website makes heavy use of Ajax, CSS3 animations, new HTML5 elements and data attributes, and HTML5 Web Storage. It will soon support offline storage, a company spokesperson said.

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