Tablet App of the Week: Box.net
Just when you thought you had your cloud storage needs met, along comes Box.net with a more social aprroach to file and project management.
By Leo Stiles
Dropbox has always been our app of choice for file sharing between our phones, tablets and our PCs, but let’s face it the free storage allocation of 2GB has always been a bit meagre. Thankfully, there is another contender in the app store that not only plays Dropbox at its own game but also comes with an offer that should not be passed up.
Box.net is an uninspired name for an app that goes beyond what you expect from this sort of application. Much like Dropbox it, It provides you with a file sharing solution for all your content, whether it’s on your Windows PC, your Android phone or your iPad. However, flexible file storage is only half the story.
Initially, Box.net seems less intuitive than its competitor, but whereas Dropbox is more of a file management system, Box.net is designed for project management. It does this through a smart comments and notifications system which lets you share folders with others and allows them to attach comments to individual files. These comments are then sent to you as an email notification which brings them to your attention immediately rather than you having to constantly check in on the file to see if any new feedback has been given.
This is project management at its simplest and takes the work out of dealing with multiple emails and files. I tested this out on a presentation project that I was building with a couple of others and the whole affair functioned like a social network with the comments system moving everything along with ease. I was less enthused about having to manage my local storage as Box.net doesn't automatically save and update the copy on your hard drive (a feature of its premium enterprise service).
To carp about this would be to miss the point as Box.net is geared towards making tablets into powerful business and presentation tools with the ability to print, display via projector and through Air Play mirroring if you use an iPad. Moreover it is compatible with a number of other apps such as iBooks, Evernote and Quick Office, making tablets more of a laptop replacement than they would be on their own.
Box.net is also holding a trump card at the moment as it is offering 50GB of storage free to anyone who signs up over the next month instead of the usual 5GB. If you've ever uploaded photos or any other large media to a file sharing service then you’ll appreciate that the first few gigabytes can fill up rather quickly.
This app is a good example of a new kind of application that is platform-agnostic and is a salve for anyone that gets frustrated when programs just don’t get along. Although it might not suit every user, those of you who regularly collaborate with others should install Box.net as soon as you can - at least to take advantage of the massive amount of storage on offer.