"Native mobile applications have been something that our business users have started to increasingly demand, especially over the past six to 12 months," Lipson said in an interview. The Android app is available now, with the iOS version to follow early in the second quarter. While the iOS version is optimized for the iPhone, it should work with the iPad, as well.
According to Lipson, the iPhone and Android apps were a logical next step in ShareFile's product development after launching its Sync feature earlier this year. Sync enables one- and two-way synchronization between a customer's PCs and their Web-based ShareFile folders.
The majority of ShareFile's customers are small and midsize businesses. The new mobile apps allow users to access their ShareFile folders on the go. Lipson gave a personal example: On the way to a recent meeting, he realized he'd saved the most current copy of his PowerPoint presentation locally on his desktop. An employee dropped the file in his Web-based ShareFile folder and he accessed it from his phone.
Apple iOS and Android were relative no-brainers as ShareFile's first optimized mobile apps, according to Lipson. But the company's approach was geared toward adding other device-specific apps not too far down the line. ShareFile used the open source PhoneGap platform rather than build each app from scratch, which Lipson said should streamline additional mobile development. His company expects to roll out BlackBerry and Windows Phone apps, for example, in the near future.