Over the last couple of years, Dropbox has quickly become one of the stellar file storage and synchronization services that every computer or mobile enthusiast knows and uses religiously. The idea is simple: 2GB free of storage, upgradable, applications for Windows and Mac OSX, and an effortless sync process between many devices. Dropbox also has an Android application on the Market, but everyone who has used the service knows that its power can be pushed way beyond what that official software offers.
Here, we will take a look at 11 different utilities, in varying categories, that make the most of Dropbox’ seamless cloud synchronization and help you keep everything neatly backed up and available on multiple devices. Where possible, we will mention similar applications that fit in the same category and also work with Dropbox.
We all have some important notes or text files that we want to have access to constantly, without having to worry about transferring them or synchronizing them. Epistle is the solution to that. It’s a simple .txt editor, letting you type and edit your notes and important information, while easily synchronizing them with a folder on Dropbox so you can access them from any computer or other mobile device.
When it comes to viewing and editing Office documents on Android a few names come to mind, and QuickOffice is certainly one of them. It has the ability to work with Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, and brings support for images and tables, alignments, calculations, as well as many other functions. With the “Connected File Manager”, QuickOffice Pro steps up to even allow you to access your Google Docs, MobileMe, and yes, Dropbox files, making it the ultimate document viewer and editor for the cloud.
The instant image snapping and filter editing is all the rage nowadays, with Instragram on the iPhone capturing all the attention. PicPlz aims to fill the same shoes on Android, with several free filters, instant sharing to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and several other services. However, one feature that sets PicPlz apart is the option to link it with your Dropbox account, so that both original and edited images get uploaded to it. This avoids you losing your data by mistake or while switching devices.
Document Scanner does what its name suggests: scans paper documents by taking pictures with your camera. The scanned documents can then be cropped, aligned, saved as PDF and organized into folders. The winning feature is the option to upload all these scans to Dropbox, making it easy to keep all your receipts and important files in one central location.
For the creative foodies out there, My Recipes is a very interesting application. It won’t let you access recipes created by others, but instead acts as a database of your own creations. Add ingredients, modify proportions, attach an image, create grocery lists, everything is available, especially the option to backup and restore recipes from your Dropbox account to keep them handy.
One of the simplest to-do applications on the Market, Todo.txt Touch avoids the complicated look and options, in order to use one todo.txt file that synchronizes across to your Dropbox account. However, the essentials are there, with a clean interface, adding tasks, and the ability to filter, search and sort tasks.
Titanium Backup has been the best friend of rooted Android users for a long time, thanks to its backing up and restoring function that saves applications, all their data, and user information to the SD card. It even lets you freeze all these applications and uninstall locked manufacturer software. Thanks to an integrated Dropbox option, Titanium Backup will back up all this information to your online account, making it easy to transfer data between devices and to keep everything at hand, should something go wrong with your device.
Keeping track of expenses and income can be quite a hassle, but with Balances and Budgets, you might be tempted to do it. Clean interface, password lock for all the data, easy organization between different financial accounts, exporting in CSV format: all the important features are there, as well as automatic backup to Dropbox.
Kobo eBooks stems from the same league of great eBook reading services as the Kindle or Nook. It supports the epub format, and synchronizes books, notes and bookmarks across devices, platforms and even Facebook. The differentiating feature from other readers is Kobo’s ability to access your Dropbox account to get your own books from it.
There are several password-keeping applications for Android that synchronize with Dropbox, however very few are cross-platform. 1Password brings a simplicity to the approach, with only the ability to view the accounts, passwords, and sensitive data cards you created on your computer. There’s also an integrated browser that allows you to open your favorite websites with an autologin feature using the save passwords.
The official Dropbox client for Android lacks any synchronization feature, and this is what Titanium Media Sync aims to bring. It allows continuous sync from the device or SD card to the Dropbox folder, and that by monitoring any local files for changes or additions and sending them as soon as possible. There’s also a triggered one-shot sync from the server to the device.
Requires: Android 1.0 and up
Market Link: Titanium Media Sync
Developer: Titanium Track
Similar to: AutoFolderSync, Dropbox Sync For Tasker/Locale, Sync Folder With Dropbox, Downloader For Dropbox
How Do You Use Your Dropbox?
Personally, in the past year, I have shifted from reading about Dropbox and dismissing its usefulness, to a true Dropbox ninja. I rely heavily on the service for many aspects of my everyday and online life and I find that it makes multiple tasks easier and effortless. My preferred services to use with Dropbox are the above-mentioned Epistle, 1Password, PicPlz, and Document Scanner. However, I am pretty sure that I will keep discovering and enjoying new ways of integrating Dropbox with my HTC Desire Z. What about you? What Android utilities have you found that push the boundaries of what Dropbox can do?