ownCloud: Private Cloud DropBox Alternative Enhances Android, iOS Support

ownCloud, an open source alternative to DropBox for private clouds, has enhanced its Android and iOS mobile apps for an exceedingly feature-rich user experience.

Christopher Tozzi, Contributing Editor

June 13, 2013

2 Min Read
ownCloud: Private Cloud DropBox Alternative Enhances Android, iOS Support

What does it mean to have a cloud of one’s own? Most of us would probably be satisfied with just the basics: Automatic file syncing, easy sharing features and efficient, Web-based access to data. But ownCloud (the open source cloud infrastructure project and potential Dropbox alternative) has gained the slew of innovative features for Android and iOS app users.

By offering an open source platform that lets individuals and enterprises build file-syncing and sharing infrastructures on their own hardware or in a private cloud, ownCloud has always stood out in a competitive niche where most other products were proprietary or subscription-based. But in its early days—and even after the launch of a commercial entity, called ownCloud Inc., to provide services related to the open source ownCloud software—ownCloud’s feature set remained pretty basic.

Today, though, that’s all changed. The latest ownCloud product release includes an impressively comprehensive list of features—and these are only for the platform’s mobile apps, which are available for 99 cents in the Android and iOS app stores. The full feature list is available from ownCloud, but here are the highlights:

  • Embedded audio and video players for media files stored in the ownCloud cloud.

  • Multi-account management on a single device.

  • Offline access, which makes it possible to work with ownCloud files even when devices lose connectivity.

In addition, a helper application is now available to users of the Android ownCloud app to assist with username and password management. This provides a workaround for an Android bug.

Like the desktop version of the ownCloud app, the mobile clients now offer an exceedingly feature-rich user experience. In fact, it’s hard to imagine wanting many capabilities beyond what is currently available, unless you’re a fan of feature bloat.

These enhancements position ownCloud to compete better than ever with alternative file-sharing and syncing services such as Dropbox. Now, in addition to pitching the platform as one that affords greater flexibility and security by allowing users to keep their data on their own hardware instead of entrusting it to third parties, ownCloud developers can brag about all the features their software offers that competing solutions simply don’t.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Contributing Editor

Christopher Tozzi started covering the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis in 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” is forthcoming with MIT Press.

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