The New Dropbox: A Dream of the Independent Cloud
Let's dream for a moment, shall we?
The ecosystem war is going strong. Apple, Microsoft, and Google (and Amazon and Facebook and BlackBerry) are battling it out for your dollars, and platform lock-in is an unfortunate side effect. Right now, the closest thing we have to a universal cloud standard is Google, but its recent Windows Phone issues leave that option an iffy one. So what if Dropbox could rise above the mess of iClouds and SkyDrives and become the default cloud platform--the one everyone would have, the productivity software no one could live without--while remaining 100% platform agnostic?
With its recent acquisition of Mailbox (whose name, might I add, complements its parent company's perfectly), Dropbox has a weird situation on its hands: a Gmail-only, iPhone-only mail client with an amazing interface. With a few moves, though, Dropbox could make Mailbox a universal mail client on all platforms that supports all major email providers--with enough power to channel users into a new, a Dropbox-supported @mailbox.com email service. Such an account would come with an extra few gigabytes of Dropbox space for attachments and saved messages, and it would feature beautiful attachment integration with Dropbox files. Easier said than done, of course: There's the Android and Windows Phone and BlackBerry and Mac and Windows and Linux development to do, not to mention the backend server upgrades it would require. But it's doable, and would put Dropbox in a position to...
Launch a calendar service. Dropbox could buy an amazing calendar app people already use like Fantastical, expand it to all platforms, rename it Taskbox or something, and integrate it with your @mailbox.com account. Again, Taskbox would be completely platform agnostic and support Google Calendar, iCloud, etc. But the push would be toward Dropbox's own service, which would include a basic to-do function and integrate with...
Notebox. The last piece of Dropbox's new platform would be an Evernote competitor--something with the the ability to type up quick text files (synced to Dropbox, of course), or save an article Pocket-style, or link to documents already saved in Dropbox. I don't think the company should venture into the crowded and frustrating office suite space, but if it had to, it could expand the functions of Notebox to editing simple documents.
So that's it. Dream's over. Back to trying to sync my iCloud contacts to my Nexus 7 and installing Google Calendar plugins on Outlook. Maybe Dropbox doesn't really have the power to become the ultimate cloud utility and solve all our problems and make the world beautiful.
But wouldn't it be cool if it did?