| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Feb 23 Dropbox unveiled on
Thursday a new photo uploading feature for Android smartphones,
potentially sharpening its competition with Google,
Apple, and a host of other companies battling to rule
the burgeoning market for online storage solutions.
With a single click, the feature will allow users to
wirelessly upload high-resolution pictures straight from their
smartphones onto the virtual "cloud," where the files can be
accessed from any computer or mobile device.
Dropbox only offers users storage space - the service will
not provide any photo editing or manipulation features, like
those provided by Google's Picasa program.
Instead, CEO Drew Houston said, the company hopes that
third-party developers will step in and do precisely that.
Houston said the new development represented a small but
significant step toward cultivating a thriving "ecosystem"
around the Dropbox platform. In the case of photos, for example,
the company will encourage independent developers to write
programs to touch up photos.
"Facebook tied your friends and your social graph into this
ecosystem that offered all these services," Houston said. "We
envision similar things with Dropbox."
He added: "It's a major theme for us going forward this
Although the first release of the app will only be available
for Android phones, an Apple iOS version will be released
shortly, the company said. Users get 500 megabytes of storage
after their first upload and can receive up to a total of 3
gigabytes of extra free space.
Dropbox's new app, which targets a huge consumer demand for
photo-sharing, was meant to "secure and solidify their position
as the best file-sharing service and trying not go beyond that,
which I think is a smart move." said James Staten, an analyst at
With 100 employees in San Francisco and 50 million users,
Dropbox is one of the most closely-watched startups by Silicon
Valley investors - and its much larger competitors.
Earlier this month, Google announced Drive, a cloud storage
service that was seen as a direct answer to Dropbox's dramatic
Similarly in June, Apple announced iCloud, a
consumer-oriented service for Apple users that also syncs email
And Microsoft has also recently pushed to expand
its cloud offerings for enterprise computing.
Founded by Houston and a classmate from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology in 2007, Dropbox has raised $250 million
at a reported $4 billion valuation.