Dropbox launches Mailbox for Android, Mac OS X version coming soon

Dropbox, the largest cloud storage service, has launched Mailbox for Android and announced that the Mac OS X version is coming soon. Mailbox was bought by Dropbox last year. Mailbox is a smart email client that manages all your email accounts in one place. It has been designed for mobiles.

Mailbox has been available for iPhone and iPad since a long time. This is the first time Mailbox is available for Android. Currently it supports only Gmail and iCloud accounts. There are no words on when Dropbox will launch other email services to Mailbox for Android.

Mailbox for Android - Archive section
Mailbox for Android – Archive section

Mailbox for Android comes with Auto-swipe feature that learns from your swiping gestures on the mail conversations. There are four swipes that you can perform on your mails :

  1. Short swipe to the right : Archives the mail.
  2. Long swipe to the right : Trashes the mail.
  3. Short swipe to the left : Snoozes the mail. A pop-up box shows you pre-defined times which you can choose. Based on your choice, Mailbox will remind you of the pending un-read mail at the specified time.
  4. Long swipe to the left : Categorizes the mail to lists. There are three pre-defined lists : To Watch, To Buy, To read. You can create your own lists too.

You can also create your own rules (tasks) to be performed when you receive a particular type of mail. To create rules, long press icons shown at the top right of the mail conversation and choose the task.

For example, if you wish to trash all the upcoming mails from xxx@yyy.com, long press the trash icon at the top right of the screen and choose the required option.

Also, based on reports, a Mac OS X version of Mailbox is coming soon. To signup for the beta, enter your email address at Mailbox for Mac OS X webpage.

Link : Mailbox for Android | Mailbox for iOS

Import iPhoto, Screenshot Sharing in Latest Dropbox Experimental Build

Dropbox has announced the latest experimental build 2.3.12. This experimental build brings in an option to import photos from iPhoto, share screenshot by just tapping the Print Screen button on the keyboard and an option to move non-Dropbox files and folders to Dropbox with just a click.

The Import from iPhoto scans for photos and events in your library and shows up on the system notification tray. With few clicks, you can upload them easily to your Dropbox folder as viewable albums. Of course, you can share these albums with your friends on the web. Note that this import feature is available only for iPhoto 7.0 and higher.

share-screenshots (1)

Screenshot sharing is the best update in this new build. You can enable this feature in the Import tab in Dropbox settings. It is enabled by default once you download and install the latest experimental build. Once done, all the screenshots that you take with the Print Screen button are saved to /Screenshots directory inside Dropbox folder.

Ctrl + Print Screen combo will take the screenshot, upload it to the folder and also copy the screenshot’s unique Dropbox URL to the clipboard. You can easily share this link with others on the web now. The key combo is Cmd + Shift + 3 or 4 in the case of OS X.

share-screenshots (2)

Another notable update is Move to Dropbox option in the right click context menu. You can now right click any folder or file on your computer and it will be moved to Dropbox folder. Not copied.

You can get this experimental build right now on your computer by downloading the file from the Dropbox Forums. There is a file for the Linux users too, but it doesn’t bring much updates.

Link: Dropbox Experimental Build

Yahoo Mail integrates with Dropbox!

“My enemy’s enemy is my friend” is a quote that is true for both Yahoo and Dropbox. Yahoo announced that Dropbox will be available on the service. The integration with Dropbox means, Yahoo mail users can directly store their attachments files like photos, videos and documents on Dropbox.

Once users on Yahoo mail, check an email with an attachment, they will see a pop-up that asks them to store attachments with Dropbox.

Dropbox_Yahoo

Yahoo and Dropbox are natural allies

Yahoo has a popular web mail service but no cloud offering as yet. It is also a company on the decline from its glorious past and trying to get back on its feet. It probably cannot now invest in a cloud offering.

Dropbox on the other hand is a new company and does not have the resources to build themselves an email service. Gmail’s allowing users to save attachments to Google Drive must be impacting Dropbox.

So it makes sense that Dropbox and Yahoo are working together being natural allies. But the problem of attracting new users in big numbers still continues for Yahoo. Dropbox too has a uphill battle against the likes of Google Drive and Microsoft’s SkyDrive.

(via Dropbox)

Dropbox Releases App for Windows 8 Tablets

Dropbox has recently released an optimized app for Windows 8 users. This app is a tablet friendly one and available at the Windows Store. The Dropbox app will run on any Windows 8 platform which includes the hybrid laptops with touch-screens along tablets like Surface RT which do not support all applications that run on Windows 8.

Unfortunately Dropbox has still not released an app for Windows 8 phone platform.

Dropbox App Windows 8

Is Dropbox App in Windows 8 worth your time?

  • The app really is not all that useful if you already have the older version of Dropbox running on your Windows 8 PC. This is because this app is optimized only for the tablet interface and not the PC.
  • It allows features like sharing photos with Facebook and Twitter friends using the Windows 8 Charm Share feature.
  • It is very basic and if you have a Windows tablet then this is a must have app for you.
  • On the downside the app does not seem to support selective sync for folders which is very useful especially if your device might not have continuous connectivity.

A Dropbox app is still not available for Windows phone, but it should be available sooner rather than later.

Try out the Dropbox app if you have a Windows tablet and let us know your views in your comments.

Link: Dropbox for Windows 8

5 Tech Companies for Whom 2013 Could be a “Make or Break” Year

As I decided to jot down things that I might expect to happen in the technology world in 2013, I ended up writing mostly thinking about Apple, Samsung, Google and Facebook. But what about very popular companies that are struggling? I thought it would be interesting to write down about five tech related companies for whom 2013 could potentially be a “make or break” year.

#1. Research in Motion (BlackBerry)

RIM BlackBerryThe Canadian company has been struggling not just from competition by Apple’s iPhone but also Android based phones. Once a BlackBerry phone symbolized the words “smart phone”. It is still a very popular phone with office going executives but it has lost out in being relevant to younger buyers. RIM also has seen its tablet offering called Playbook finding very few takers.

RIM will launch BlackBerry 10 featuring the new BB10 OS on 30th January. The year ahead with new BlackBerry phones could possibly mark its big turn around or its fall into the abyss. Forget an about turn, I am not sure it will even manage to keep a status quo in the mobile market. It will face additional competition from new Windows 8 phones that will enter the market in bigger numbers in 2013.

#2. Nokia

Nokia WIndows PhonesNokia has a glorious past as cell-phone manufacturer just like RIM. The company actually failed to get enough app developers on its platform and saw itself underestimating the acceptability of touch-screen phones. While Samsung bet on Android to produce smart-phones, Nokia shook hands with Microsoft.

In the year ahead, Nokia has a well received Lumia 920 running Windows 8. The next iteration of Lumia 920 will be crucial. The real problem for Nokia is that at the moment its destiny is not its own hands. It is in the hands of Microsoft’s Windows 8 phone becoming popular. Nokia will not just be working hard in 2013 but also praying hard for success of Windows 8 phone.

#3. Facebook

Facebook App AndroidFacebook had a mixed year in 2012. It launched its IPO, bought Instagram and showed off a newly designed mobile app for iPhones and Android. But these were not exactly signs of great innovation by Facebook. These updates and acquisitions were mainly an exercise of catching up.

Facebook has not really been pushed too much by Google+ in 2012 but expect that to change in the year ahead. Facebook is still struggling to find a way to make money from mobile phone platforms. More people will end up using Facebook as an app from their phones or tablets than their browsers. This would mean the current revenue stream of getting clicks from ads will see a decline. Facebook Gifts is a novel idea which would make Facebook’s revenue model as e-commerce instead of advertising. It also has not exactly fixed its reputation on the privacy front.

If Facebook continues to struggle to make money from it’s mobile phone platform 2013, it would with some big questions marks on Facebook’s future. That said its 1 billion users will make sure it remains relevant despite the health of its revenues.

#4. Dropbox

Dropbox_logoPersonally I love using Dropbox. I have used it for over two years. I love its referral program and also use it as a default service to backup my photos.

But the threat to Dropbox is very real. It faces competition from some seriously big players with some seriously deep pockets. Google Drive and Apple’s iCloud services will challenge Dropbox.

The problem for Dropbox seems two-fold. It lacks the financial resources of Apple and Google. Additionally it also lacks having its own mobile phone platform like an iOS and Android or online services like Gmail or Google search. If Dropbox does not hold its own against Google and Apple, it might have to think of a dreaded word called “acquisition”.

#5. Microsoft

Windows8_packageI thought more than a few times before putting Microsoft in this list. But it makes sense that 2013 will be the year, Microsoft will make a incredible turn-around or end up further behind the likes of Google and Apple. Microsoft has faltered with its online business with Bing. It has also invested in So.cl which is a social network that not one has taken notice of as yet.

Windows 8 as an OS is great attempt by Microsoft. It is a real step forward design wise by Microsoft. The company’s big problem is that Windows 8 phone is not exactly getting people very excited. The Surface tablets also have not exactly caught people’s imagination and Microsoft has nothing in the 7-inch tablet form factor.

One major issue for Microsoft has been developing a great app eco-system for developers. At the moment is a bit of a ghost town. It is nowhere close to the likes of Apple’s app store or Google Play. If Microsoft does not fix these drawbacks with Windows 8 over the year, 2013 could end up being the year which would mark the beginning of the end in Microsoft’s history.

What are your expectations from the tech world for the year ahead? Do let us know in your comments. Also as this is the last post before the year 2012 ends, let me take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very “Happy New Year!”

Dropbox Links: Share Files and Folders with Non-Dropbox users

Dropbox has a great way for sharing files using links.With Dropbox Links it allows users to share files and folders of any size with practically anyone. The ones accessing the shared files will not even need a Dropbox account. Earlier this could be done, only if with files shared on a public folder.

Dropbox has removed the restrictions of size and type of files which can be shared publicly. So basically the file size depends on the storage limit of your account.

Dropbox Links Features

Log into your account and click on the “Link” icon next to any folder or file. You can share it with a simple URL.

If you are using Dropbox from your PC, right-click on the folder and under Dropbox, select “Share Link”.That will direct you to the Dropbox web portal.

Any user with access to the shared link will be able to view the folder and files. They will not be required to have their own Dropbox account.

At the “Dropbox Links” dashboard, users can access the files shared previously and also remove them (see below).

With Dropbox’s new photo-viewing UI, I find it the best way to share photos with people who don’t have an account. There is no doubt that Dropbox is taking aim at Google Drive. Google had rolled out options of adding large attachments over upto 10 GB from Google Drive into Gmail.

I have been using Dropbox for almost three years now. While I also use Google Drive mainly for work, I still do most of my personal file storing and sharing on Dropbox.

What are your views on Dropbox Links? Do drop in your comments

Link: Dropbox Links

Dropbox brings in Two factor authentication for better security

After recent reports of Dropbox users getting spammed and usernames/passwords getting stolen, they have finally introduced a couple of security features which includes the much needed Two-factor authentication.

To enable it, go to security tab in your account page and look up for ‘Two-step verification’ (shown in the screenshot). Hit the ‘change’ link, and you’ll be guided through the process.

With Two-factor authentication on, you will be asked to enter a six-digit code (apart from password) every time you login through a new device. You can receive the code either through SMS or the Dropbox app.

You’ll also be given a 16-digit backup code which you need to write down. You can use that code for logging in if you don’t have access to your mobile.

Apart from Two-factor authentication, the security page also gives you information about previous logins – location, time and browser used to access the site. Also, your verified devices (for which you don’t need to enter any extra code) appear there.

It’s a bit of work, but definitely worth it if you store confidential information in the cloud.The feature will probably added to the stable build of Dropbox soon.

Link: Dropbox (account page)

Single Login to Connect and Manage Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive

There are many cloud storage options online like Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive and more. I use Dropbox to backup my photos from my mobile and digital camera, while I use Google Drive to manage important documents and files.

Otixo is a great web app, that allows users to link up their cloud storage accounts from Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive.

Otixo Features

  • Add you accounts from multiple services once you register.
  • The default free account allows your a monthly bandwidth of 2 GB.
  • Users can upload, download, preview, rename folders, create new folders all from the Otixo interface.
  • We can share documents with a single link, which can expire after 30 days. We can reduce the number of days the link stays active too.

I found Otixo quite useful but would love to see a mobile app for it rather than use from the browser.

Try out Otixo and let me know in your comments if you know of similar services to link up cloud storage on multiple accounts.

Link: Otixo

Dropbox Introduces Streaming of Video Files on Android ICS

If you bought a Android phone recently there is a change that you received a 20 GB bonus storage space with Dropbox. Dropbox has been introducing a lot of great incentives for users on Android platform and continuing in that mode they have now introducedvideo streaming for Android 4 (ICS) users.

Yesterday, Dropbox released an update on Google Play. The update allows ICS platform users, the option of streaming their videos from their Dropbox account rather than download them on the phone. This saves a great deal of memory space for phones.

Why video streaming makes sense for mobile platforms?

Android phones are not the same everywhere, like say an iPhone. This means a lot of Android phones might not have a lot of internal memory. Video files are usually large sized. So downloading them from the cloud to watch them is not really a ideal.

Streaming of video files stored on Dropbox, makes sense as I can view my home videos from my Dropbox account. This saves me a lot of memory on my phone.

I think Google Drive will also soon bring this about, especially once it starts selling movies on Google Play. Dropbox is probably pre-empting it and what better platform to do it on, other than Google’s very own Android.

Link: Dropbox on Google Play

Share Your Dropbox Folders with a Link

Dropbox today has introduced a new feature of allowing users to share folders with other with but sharing a link. This option has been made available on their website. Every folder on a Dropbox account now has the option of being shared with a URL.

On the Desktop application similar option show up if you right click on a particular folder and access its Dropbox options.

Sharing files with a simple link was always popular but most services were hampered with size restrictions. So this service by Dropbox will probably see a lot of people share their projects, bunch of photos and even home videos with a simple link.

Expected Google Drive is Pushing Dropbox to ramp up!

There are still many rumours going around that Google will be launching a cloud storage service to rival Dropbox. This could be quite a challenge to Dropbox as it does not have anywhere close to the resources that Google has. This is probably pushing Dropbox to shore up its defense.

Dropbox has already introduced quite a few new features like saving photos from a digital camera, a newly designed website with a photo viewer and lately it has even doubled the free space offered for every referral.

I am sure Dropbox fans are in for a good time with more features that will probably be announced over the next month, especially when Google Drive is released.

Do drop in your comments.

(via Dropbox Blog)