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Dropbox gets a mobile API and a trio of apps

Dropbox is unleashing a trio of apps for popular mobile devices, as well as a new API for app developers to build cloud storage into their applications.

Dropbox is getting more serious about its efforts to bring its cloud storage solution to mobile devices. On Tuesday the company is announcing a mobile API for developers to build ties to Dropbox's servers into their own apps, as well as formally launching first-party applications for the iPad and Android and BlackBerry devices.

The new mobile API is something Dropbox is calling "Dropbox Anywhere." The company has worked with a number of developers to integrate their apps into the new data pipeline. These include Fuze's FuzeMeeting app, Dictamus, Air Sharing, GoodReader, QuickOffice and Sprite Mobile's backup tool. All of these apps are able to tap into a user's Dropbox storage to fetch data, and save it back without needing to use any of that device's local data. Now any developer will be able to do the same with their own mobile software.

Competitor rolled out something very similar back in September 2009 with its OpenBox API. The real promise of efforts like these is that you can access your files no matter what device you're on or what kind of limitations its creators have put into place in regards to things like local storage access. This has become a problem with Apple's iPhone, iPod Touch, and now iPad, which have plenty of on-board storage for files, but no way for third-party apps to make adjustments to the file structure. Using this system, along with how much room you have on your device, no longer becomes an issue--that is, as long as you have an active connection to the Web.

A QR code for Dropbox's new Android app.

As far as the new apps go, Dropbox for the iPad (which is actually a universal application--meaning it runs on iPhones and iPods too), rolled out to users Monday evening. Dropbox for Android, which CNET has been told will remain at feature parity with the iPhone and iPad version of the app, was released to the Android marketplace Tuesday morning. BlackBerry users are due to get their version of the app later this month.

Dropbox continues to offer both a free and a paid version of the service, with some 4 million users having signed up. The company would not disclose how many of those users are paying subscribers of the service's two premium tiers.