Review: cuteBox, a Dropbox client for Symbian

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If you’re an avid Dropbox user and are wondering how to get at your files with your Nokia smartphone, then look no further. cuteBox is a Dropbox client ready to use for your Symbian^3 smartphone.

The Symbian user community are a patient and persistent lot. There are many web services out there, including Dropbox, that have overlooked the Psion-descendant that Nokia bought. However, the developer community is equally industrious and creative, and have been even more so since the February 11th announcement that Nokia would gradually transition from Symbian to Windows Phone.

cuteBox started out life as a paid for application, until Genera Software found other ways to make money and released it for free.

If you’re unfamiliar with Dropbox, it’s an online storage service aimed at people who want to keep files synchronised between multiple computers. If any files in your Dropbox folder are changed on one computer, then any other computer logged into the same account is automatically updated. This idea extends to sharing folders with other users, so that multiple people can collaborate and share files.

Dropbox works well as an online backup service, thanks to its always-on synchronisation. Free accounts have 2GB of storage, although this can be increased by having friends sign up with your referral link. There are monthly and annual plans which give 50GB or 100GB of storage too.

Anyone interested should keep in mind that there are concerns over its privacy and security practices. Files are transferred to and from Dropbox via an encrypted (SSL) connection, and are then encrypted on its servers. However, so that it can comply with the law, Dropbox retains a set of master encryption keys. This means that it can decrypt your files, when instructed by police. There was even a bug in June this year, when for several hours passwords were not required to login.

If you think the convenience outweighs the privacy risks, and you own a Symbian^3 phone, then you’ll be wanting an app for that. Symbian has a number of unofficial Dropbox clients, and cuteBox is the best of the lot, even before it was released for free. Now that it is free, it really is the obvious choice.

When you start cuteBox for the first time, all you have to do is enter your username and password. Then, it automatically populates the file list with everything in your Dropbox account. File types are identified with appropriate icons and thumbnails for images. In the file view you can kinetically scroll and tap on any file or folder. You open a folder by tapping it, and if you want to go back, just swipe to the right. Tapping a file opens a dedicated screen where its details are shown. The file is automatically downloaded, and previewed when applicable.

The user interface consists of a toolbar with four buttons. The first button starts the process of uploading files to the current Dropbox folder. It gives a menu with five options, the first of which creates a new folder. The next three are for uploading audio clips, pictures, or videos, giving a thumbnail gallery with check boxes. The final option is for local files, where you can navigate the storage drives for any type of file. This is for slightly more advanced users who, for example, could have some type of office files on their device.

The second button is used for selecting multiple files for download. The third button allows you to select multiple files for copying, moving, or deleting. Finally, the fourth button brings up the settings page. You can remove your account from the device, or change the location that files are downloaded to. It also gives feedback on how much of your Dropbox account is being used.

If you need to use Dropbox on your Symbian smartphone, then cuteBox is the best option and it’s free.

Highly recommended.

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