BoxWorks 2013: CEO Levie Talks Up Box Mobile As New iOS App Debuts

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Box CEO Aaron Levie launches iOS app, and laments BlackBerry’s troubles

Box CEO Aaron Levie says the company’s new iOS application offers an insight into its smartphone and tablet strategy going forward, calling mobile the “true catalyst” for the IT industry’s current transformation.

Speaking at the Boxworks 2013 event in San Francisco, Levie explained the new application had been completely rebuilt using technology it gained from the acquisition of storage app Folders earlier this year. He also commented on BlackBerry’s troubles.

Box acquired Folders because its application was better than the official Box app, said Levie. However, because Folders was iOS-only, Apple’s mobile operating system will be the first to receive attention. The new app will be rolled out in the Autumn, but Levie promised other platforms will receive the features “pretty shortly.”

Box Mobile

Boxworks 2013 Aaron LevieMartin Destagnol, former CEO of Folders and current head of iOS engineering at Box, showed off new viewing options for photos and PDF files, which are among the most popular types in Box, as well as new swipe commands and sharing options. He also demonstrated PowerPoint presentations within the app, claiming it was the first time such a file could be viewed properly on iPhone or iPad.

Levie said the recent rise of mobile technologies was “the single biggest driver of information velocity for individuals” and was changing user attitudes as they now want to perform tasks and share information quickly.

Box has achieved eight million app downloads, while its mobile traffic is growing at a rate of 130 percent and now accounts for 40 percent of total Box usage, said Levie. He expressed surprise that tablets, a form factor that has existed for less than four years, could soon outsell PCs, which have existed nearly 30.

“This is ultimately changing how we work,” he added.

Levie also discussed BlackBerry’s plight, calling it “an interesting case study of moving too slowly” and questioned whether the struggling Canadian manufacturer could succeed if it continues using its own operating system.

However he was keen to point out that Box is platform neutral and does support BlackBerry 10 and even has a native BlackBerry Playbook application, making it probably the only cloud provider to have one.

Unfortunately for BlackBerry, Levie had no idea about what would happen to the company, but joked Box could be preparing a bid.

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