Note to the reader: This is part two of a series reviewing the merits and challenges of offerings in the Cloud Storage market.
Today’s review: Dropbox. A company started by MIT alumn Drew Houston, in continuous operation since 2008.
Ease of Use and Integration
Dropbox has enabled operation across every major mobile and desktop platform including iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows in addition to running desktop for Windows and Apple. After loading the software and identifying how you want the product to operate, Dropbox runs very smoothly in the background, even showing as an icon in the Services panel in Windows with animation showing when synchronization is occurring and a check mark in the icon when complete.
It is worth noting that Dropbox has a stable and mature set of APIs that enable full integration across a very wide range of platforms. Additionally, their User Community develops and supports a significant set of capabilities with the back end support of Dropbox.
The base offering of 2GB is the lowest of the major providers. The tiered pricing is right at a steady $1.00 per GB. To put this number in perspective, external hard drive storage averages 7 to 10 cents per GB and roughly double that of the equivalent Microsoft product.
Free extra space for referrals, however, but only for one year. After that, you either pay for the level of storage you are using, or lose it.
Upload and download speeds, including bursting, are affected by factors such as local connectivity that uncontrolled tests are inconclusive. Encryption and versioning are so nearly ubiquitous that they provide no significant differentiation.
Dropbox has an advantage in both developer support and the range of product integration, but it’s pricing structure, while in line with other competitors, makes Dropbox an also-ran. It’s only a matter of time before they are snapped up and brought into the fold of a provider with a broader range of services.