Your Windows Phone 8 can't connect to all cloud services, but it can connect to enough of them to keep most mobile users happy. One such service is Box, which is unique in the world of cloud sync/storage in that it's clearly geared toward the world of business. With the addition of Personal and Enterprise plans, Box has nearly everyone covered for cloud storage — and Windows Phone users are no exception.
Box offers a solid mobile app for the Windows Phone 8 that includes some unique features, including:
- Powerful preview tool
- Support for Office documents and PDFs
- Pin files as live tiles
- View and edit file descriptions
- Comment on documents
- Share files
The one caveat to the Windows Phone 8 Box client is its inability to upload any type of file other than images. Other than that one weakness, Box is an outstanding cloud sync/storage service for your Windows Phone 8.
As with most mobile app installations, getting Box on your Windows Phone 8 is simple. Just follow these steps:
- Slide your live tiles to the left
- Tap on the Store app
- Tap the Search button
- Search for "box" (no quotes)
- Tap the entry for the official Box client
- Tap Install
You may have to allow the app certain permissions to continue (depending on what you have installed and/or the security settings on your phone). If prompted, allow the permissions so the installation can continue.Once the app is installed, you can find it in the app listings (swipe the home screen to the left - Figure A). Tap the icon to launch the app. Figure A
Box installed on a Verizon-branded HTC Windows Phone 8.
UsageThe first thing you must do is log into your Box account. If you don't already have an account, tap the Sign up button (Figure B), and fill out the necessary information. Figure B
Tapping the Watch video button will take you to Youtube.com for a video introduction to Box.
How you log in will depend on the type of account you're logging in with. If you have a company account, tap Use company credentials, and use your company single sign-on credentials.Once you've logged in, you'll be presented with a listing of all your sync'd files and folders (Figure C). Figure C
Just a few files already sync'd with a Box account.
Here's how you can work with your files:
- To preview a file: Tap on a file and a preview will be generated (Figure D)
- To share a file: Tap on the file, let the preview generate, tap the share button (first button on left), and select how you want to share the file
- To comment on a file: Tap on a file, let the preview generate, tap the comment button (second from left), tap the plus sign [+], type your comment, and tap Post
- To pin a file: Tap on a file, let the preview generate, and tap the Pin button (farthest right button)
Some files can also be opened for editing (depending on the file type and what you have installed on the phone that can be used for editing).
To upload a photo to your Box account, do the following:
- From the All Files screen, tap the upload button (second from right, the upward-pointing arrow)
- Select the photo gallery that contains the photo
- Tap to select the photo(s) to be uploaded
- Tap the Upload button (bottom center - Figure E)
You can upload as many photos as you like.
Password protect Box
You might want to add an extra layer of security onto the Box application by adding a Passcode. Here's how:
- Open Box
- Tap the menu button (three horizontal dots)
- Tap settings/logout
- Tap the on/off slider under Passcode lock to move it to On
- Enter a four-digit numeric Passcode
- Confirm the Passcode
- Tap OK
Now, any time you open Box, you'll have to supply that Passcode.
Box is a fairly straightforward cloud sync/storage application for the Windows Phone 8. It's not perfect (with the addition of being able to upload files other than photos, it would be closer), but it's certainly no slouch in the world of mobile cloud apps. If you have a Box account, add this app to your Windows Phone 8 so that you can easily gain access to the files stored on your Box cloud.
Have you used Box on your Windows Phone 8? Share you experience in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.