Dropbox held its first Dropbox developer conference yesterday. To start things off, CEO Drew Houston announced that Dropbox now has a whopping 175 million users. That's up from "only" 100 million users in November 2012, but still adding 75 million users in only nine months is impressive. However the biggest news for developers, and eventually users, to come out of the conference is the new Datastore API. As explained in a blog posting on the company site:
Today, we're excited for you try out the beta release of the Datastore API - simple databases for your apps with Dropbox sync built-in! Use datastores to save your app's data - settings, contacts, or any other content that users create - and Dropbox will take care of all the syncing for you. People who use your Datastore-enabled app can be sure their information will always be up-to-date and available, no matter what device or platform they use.
Developers will now be able to use Dropbox's Datastore sync databases to sync any number of different types of data across devices on multiple platforms. This not only includes contacts and files, but also things like game saves and app settings. The Datastore sync also works when a user does not have an internet connection. Changes are saved locally and the next time a connection is made the changes are synced across devices.
If Dropbox's Datastore sounds a lot like Apple's iCloud, that's because it is. But the advantage of Datastore is that it works across myriad devices running multiple OSes. As for whether the stability and consistency of Dropbox's Datastore will be better than Apple's iCloud is yet to be seen.