Box boosts Windows 10's enterprise potential with new app

The Box app works across PCs, tablets and smartphones

Enterprise-focused cloud storage company Box is trying its hardest to be Microsoft's best buddy, and the company continued down that path Wednesday with the release of a new app for Windows 10.

The app, which is powered by the new operating system's Universal App Platform, is designed to let Windows 10 users of all stripes access files stored in Box from devices that range from desktop PCs to tablets and even Windows smartphones. Box announced its plans to build this app in April, and its introduction comes as Microsoft is rumored to be rolling out its first major update to Windows 10 this week. 

Box's app also integrates with the Windows file picker, so users can access their documents stored in the cloud service from apps like Excel and Powerpoint without having to leave their work. It can also scale up and down in size so users can get a full-screen look at all their files, or scroll through them in a slender vertical pane alongside another app. 

This new Box app unifies the company's previous Windows 8 app and Windows Phone app. It also shows the potential of the Universal App Platform: Box's move to take advantage of new features in Windows 10 means that the company's work translates to popular Windows tablets and PCs, but will also show up on Windows Phone, which doesn't have nearly the same level of popularity. 

"By combining the two apps in Windows 10 as a universal Windows app, it decreased our engineering overhead, and increased our velocity for future iterations," Box Senior Product Manager Lois Wang said in a blog post. 

The announcement comes amid Microsoft's push to get more developers to build their applications for the Universal Windows Platform. With Windows 10, the company has pushed its online storefront as the preferred method for developers to get their software in front of users. Of course, getting app makers to use the Windows Store relies on users actually visiting it, and developers building their apps to take advantage of it. 

More major companies are expected to build new apps for Windows 10, including Facebook, which promised new versions of Messenger, Instagram and its flagship app for Microsoft's new operating system. Whether apps like those and Box's new app will be enough to kick-start the development ecosystem around the Windows Store, however, remains to be seen. 

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Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
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