Lots of reviewers (including ours) have echoed this gripe about the iPad: It needs a file management system. But given that Steve Jobs can sometimes be a tiny bit stubborn about responding to critics' complaints, I'm happy to see an announcement by Dropbox that could make managing files on the iPad and other mobile platforms easier.
Dropbox is one of the first applications I install on any computing device. I put files in my Dropbox folder and they're automatically synced to all my devices -- Windows desktops, Mac laptops, iPhone, etc. Today, the company announced a mobile API that lets developers build Dropbox support into their apps. GoodReader, QuickOffice and Documents to Go have already incorporated the technology, which lets you access files from your Dropbox account, make changes and then have those changes synced among your devices.
Baking Dropbox into apps with Dropbox Anywhere solves three problems with mobile data simultaneously:
1. It provides very simple-to-use file management on devices that may have either no system at all, like the iPad, or a clunky one.
2. It deals with the limited storage on most mobile devices. Instead of clogging up your phone or iPad with office documents, you can keep them in the cloud instead.
3. It lets you work on any platform without the hassle of having to email yourself a document to get it from your desktop to your phone and back again.
I'd normally say that I'd like to see other cloud storage companies try for similar partnerships. But in this case, a bit of a monopoly might be a good thing. If lots of app makers partner with Dropbox, we could end up with a de facto system for managing files on all our mobile devices.
For tips on getting the most out of Dropbox, check out "Dropbox: Beyond the Basics"