Dropbox adds a Mailbox to build out mobile services portfolio

Dropbox's purchase of Mailbox offers another glimpse at the cloud company's evolving mobile strategy.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Dropbox has confirmed that it is acquiring Mailbox, a mobile app and Gmail client for the iPhone.

See also: Dropbox revamping desktop client with new drop-down menu

Touted by Mailbox itself to "put email in its place," the app is touted to have a completely redesigned inbox (compared to the native email app on iOS devices) that makes it simpler to sift through and archive messages while on-the-go.

At first glance, it's arguable that this app is designed to replicate the streamlined experience of Gmail that already exists on Android smartphones.

However, availabliilty of this free app has been limited to a reservation-only basis.

Having only launched a month ago, the Mailbox team said in a blog post on Friday that its service capacity has grown 2,000x over, and the app is already delivering more than 60 million emails per day.

The team also hinted that it wasn't going to be able to scale on its own to handle that demand, admitting that "rather than grow Mailbox on our own, we’ve decided to join forces with Dropbox and build it out together."

But this means big things for Dropbox too. On the services side, it simply expands what Dropbox can offer to existing and new users in face of growing competition among cloud storage providers. And based on the popularity of Mailbox thus far, it could gain Dropbox some more ground with iOS users in particular.

Furthermore, this purchase provides more light on Dropbox's evolving mobile strategy. The San Francisco-based company didn't offer many details about how and where the Mailbox unit will fit in, but there is this snippet:

Dropbox doesn’t replace your folders or your hard drive: it makes them better. The same is true with Mailbox, it doesn’t replace your email: it makes it better. Whether it’s your Dropbox or your Mailbox, we want to find ways to simplify your life.

Thus, rather than starting from scratch with its own email client (which would look like a more direct swipe at platforms like Google Apps), Dropbox is going at this goal of producing well-rounded cloud platform of software and services from another angle.

To recall, Dropbox also added some minor tweaks to its iOS and Android apps earlier this week with notifications for shared folders. That's a small update but over time it adds to promoting the app's presence and deep integration into the mobile experience overall.

Image via The Dropbox Blog

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