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Box goes mobile with new OpenBox API

The online storage provider has a new service that lets mobile developers more easily integrate cloud storage into their apps--for free.

Storage provider and collaboration service Box.net is launching a mobile extension to its OpenBox platform of application programming interfaces on Thursday. The updated platform will enable iPhone app developers to make better use of the service's cloud storage, giving users access to their files across mobile applications on the iPhone and soon other platforms.

The idea is that users will be able to save whatever they're doing on the phone to Box's cloud storage service, as opposed to their servers or the device itself. It's similar to the way the smartphone can natively send some files to places like Apple's MobileMe service and Google's YouTube. Users can then make edits to those files using other applications, subsequently syncing back up the next time they launch the iPhone app.

As part of the new program, Box has already given a handful of developers access to the new APIs. These include Pixelpipe, JotNot, iRec, and iThoughts, all of which are releasing new versions of their apps that will be able to access and save to a user's Box account.

What's missing here are Box's servers, which are doing all the heavy lifting. But the idea is the same--your data flows freely between mobile and desktop apps, all through Box. Box

Beyond productivity apps, the new APIs allow for any kind of data to be sent over, which opens up transfers from generic things like text files, photos, and videos into things like game saves and user settings. A Box representative told me that while gaming would not be a focus of the API, a developer's implementation of it would not be discouraged.

Considering the heavy saturation of cross-platform games on the iPhone, it could quite easily give developers a way for gamers to continue the game they were playing on another device, making Box a valuable storage locker.