Although many people might be under the impression that due to its integration with SkyDrive, Windows Phone is not a good platform to be on for fans of other cloud storage services, like Dropbox and Box. Fortunately, the folks over at Microsoft are trying everything in their power to lure more users to the Mango platform, and for that reason, they have welcomed the official app for Box with open arms, despite it being a rival of their very own offering, SkyDrive. After taking the new official Box client for a spin, we have to say that the app bests the SkyDrive client for WP7 by quite a huge margin. Almost all the options that are available in the web version of Box are there in the WP7 app as well. You can upload files, view all the data stored in your Box, and manage everything related to files, folders, comments and collaborators.
If you already have a Box account, you can use your credentials to log in to the app. Otherwise, signing up isn’t too complicated and requires nothing more than your email ID and a new password (not too much work for getting 5GB of space for free). You can use Google app accounts or company credentials to sign up for Box, too. Once you have signed in to the app, you will see that Box is divided into three main sections; Files, Uploads and Updates. The Files area lists all the data that is stored in your Box account. Both folders and files (of all formats) are displayed here, and if the file belongs to a format that is recognized by the service, the thumbnail will show up accordingly. If you want, it is possible to reorder any folder using the Sort button located in the bottom bar. Hitting this button takes the app’s users to a new screen, from where they have to choose the sorting criteria. If you want to add a new file to your storage space, swipe your way to the Uploads section. Any compatible file stored in your WP7 can be uploaded to Box this way. The Updates section intends to keep Box users in the loop regarding activities from people with whom files are shared. The Search button in Box works for finding out anything stored in your account, while the button next to it can be used for the creation of new folders right from your phone.
Box can let you view and play a lot of file types, including music, videos, documents and images. If you are using the Box app for browsing through the photos on your account, you can play a slideshow of all the photos in a folder using the slideshow button in the bottom bar. Some file formats, like .txt, are supported by the app, but the app opens them in your WP7’s Internet Explorer rather than displaying everything within itself. Apart from that, it is possible to add comments and new collaborators to any folder to your account, and everyone who is named a collaborator will be able to view and edit the shared files.
The Box app is available as a free download for all WP7 devices, and while you just have to grab it if you are already a Box user, the app might prove to be quite useful for those who don’t have an account for the service yet.