Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Polishing the Android Experience

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We’ve been iterating on Box for Android for more than two years now. With more than 5 million downloads to date and a 4.4 star average rating, we’re pretty proud of how the app has been received by the Android community. Today, we’re releasing a new update (v2.4) that adds some awesome polish to the user experience, and a new way for our biggest fans to get more involved in our development process.

Project Butter for a better viewing experience

Today’s update is all about improving your navigation and browsing experience, especially for pictures. We know that images (*.jpg files) are uploaded 5X more often than the next most common file type (*.pdf files), so we wanted to create a buttery smooth experience for those of you browsing through all those photos. For us, this meant completely overhauling our photo previewing capabilities, and we think you’ll agree it was worth it. Now, you’ll notice smoother transitions between levels and a fading effect for thumbnail icons as you’re drilling down through your folders. These look even better when you switch to icon view:

fading in of thumbnails

The biggest improvements have been made to our file preview pages. We removed a lot of the extra icons covering up your images by shifting functionality back into the action bar and submenus.

new preview on android

Even better – swiping between pictures in a folder is now much smoother. We utilize lower resolution versions of images when in transition and only load the full resolution version once you pause on one.

Sign up to try new features

After upgrading to this new release, you might notice this prompt the next time you open the app: new features

If you love Box for Android and want to help test out new features before they are made available to the general public, feel free to enroll in our new alpha testing channel! It’s a two step-process:

  1. First, you need to join a Google Group using the same account you use with the Google Play Store – you can join via the link that the app sends you to: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/box-android-app-alpha/join alpha group
  2. Next, you should get a welcome message directing you to opt-in to receiving alpha channel updates, which you can also do via this link: https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.box.android become a tester

By opting in, the Google Play Store will automatically deliver updates to your currently-installed Box for Android app that will contain experimental features. Your usage of these new features will be measured and impact how we build and deliver them for everyone else. If you want to send feedback about what you see, you can post back into the Google Group by emailing box-android-app-alpha@googlegroups.com.

Note that we may reserve the right to limit membership of that group at any time, and you can always opt out of the program by going to that same link and removing yourself. Since the updates we deliver through the test release channel may have bugs or other issues, we kindly ask that you take caution if you decide to join. But we know some of you have great ideas about our app, and we want to hear your feedback – so please consider joining! We look forward to having you try out some of our most cutting edge ideas soon.