Cloud storage provider Box wants to be one of the first third-party services with a Windows 8 Metro-style app , allowing users to save and load files online instead of on theirhard drives. I got a sneak peak at Box's Windows 8 app at the CTIA Wireless trade show. It's quite clearly still indevelopment–crashes and glitches occurred often during thedemo–but it has all the features you'd expect in aWindows 8 cloud storage app. ( MORE: How to Choose Between Cloud Storage Services like Google Drive andDropbox ) Unlike Microsoft's SkyDrive, Box's Windows 8 appemphasizes sharing and collaboration in addition to personalstorage. From the main menu, users can view their most recent filesand folders, and can look at which files were recently updated bycollaborators. |
The app has a built-in photo viewer, but can openfiles in other apps when appropriate, such as Windows 8′snative document reader for PDF files. The app also lets users share links to files through e-mail andsocial networks, taking advantage of Windows 8′s built-insharing capabilities. With Windows 8′s universal searchfunction, users can look up Box files from the Start screen or fromwithin any other app. Outside the app, Box lets users access their online files as ifthey were stored locally.
That's because Windows 8 allowsonline storage services and other apps to tie into the Metro-stylefile picker. These services appear right alongside local drives, sothey're easy to access. For Box, it's an interesting move because the company'sdesktop app is only available for business users at the moment. TheWindows 8 app still doesn't sync files locally like existingdesktop apps for Dropbox, SkyDrive and Google Drive, but it doeshelp users access their online files outside the web browser.(However, I was told to "stay tuned" for news on aproper desktop sync app for consumers.) Simon Tan, Box's mobile product manager, said the Windows 8app should be available when the operating system launches laterthis year, though the company may make a version available for the Windows 8 Release Preview over the summer.
Although it's unclear whetherMicrosoft's re-imagined OS will be a hit, Box is willing to take the risk. "We kind of think that Windows 8 is going to be big,"Tan said, "So we're placing a bet.".
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