I don’t need telling about the advantages of Dropbox. I have been using it for years and it has never let me down once. I have lost count of the applications that reliably synchronise over all my devices via Dropbox, from my accounts system to ordinary plain-text files. It just works and I am a great believer.
The news that Dropbox is to open a UK office in London is welcome for there is nothing like a bit of local attention and support. But the first task for the team, I suggest, is tackling the service’s overpriced data packages. I stump up $199 for 210GB Dropbox storage (including the 10GB of freebie space I’ve accumulated by recommending the service to friends and colleagues) and that is more than I could be paying to competing services. At the moment, because of the strength of the pound, Dropbox costs me £115 for a year’s service. This won’t last, of course, once the dollar again starts flexing its muscles.
In my little ecosystem the biggest threat to Dropbox is from Apple’s iCloud as it morphs this autumn into iCloud Drive. This facelifted service will work very much like Dropbox, with individual file control and the ability for disparate apps to sync data. In contrast, the current version of iCloud feels like trying to pin the tail on the donkey; it definitely has a mind of its own when it comes to file location and synchronisation.
The big thing is that iCloud Drive will be much cheaper, certainly much less than Dropbox at current rates. Talk is of 200GB for $48 a year (a quarter the cost of Dropbox) and a terrabyte at even lower cost per Gigabyte. Currently the Dropbox ceiling for individuals is 500GB at $500 a year. I have been tempted to upgrade so I can store more current photographs but it is just not cost effective when compared with a combination of local storage and a regular off-site backup.
My Dropbox sub comes up for renewal in November and I shall have to think carefully about whether to continue or to seek an alternative. Christpher Breen of Macworld has been having similar thoughts and has chosen already to leave Dropbox. This article lists some of the alternatives.
Currently it is a case of over priced and over here, to borrow a second-World War metaphor. So come on Dropbox UK, let’s have some pricing action. If you still want to woo me with your American charm, better reduce the cost of the nylons and the chewing gum.