Cloudy storage merchant Box sneaks on to Chromebooks

The banker's offer just went through the roof

Lenovo N20p touchscreen Chromebook

It’s hard to escape the commodity niche in cloud, but Box.com is trying.

The PR-friendly cloud storage firm has secured backing from Google, gaining a toe-hold on the chocolate factory’s cheaper-than-cheap Chromebooks. A beta of Box for Chrome has been announced, letting you install the document repository as a native app, rather than through the front door of your browser.

Google announced Box-Chrome integration at its Chrome Live online event. Box’s service provides document storage, workflow and replication, and the service is already available for Windows.

The firm is making a play for ubiquity: putting itself on more low-priced devices, serving the consumer and education markets, rather than just business.

Chromebooks have been selling in units of millions range in the US but sales are lower in Europe, shipping in units the range of tens of thousands per quarter. Microsoft, meanwhile, has backtracked on its Chromebook killer, the Windows with Bing notebook, in Europe.

Mixing reach with depth, Box has separately announced a developer edition of its tools. The kit gives you an instance on the Box servers dedicated to your app and a new authentication model that Box said makes it “incredibly easy” to create new users for your app.

Box stressed: “You own the users, the content and the authentication.”

The company stressed app devs will get to run their applications atop its “enterprise-grade” data centres – roll-out of which has been contributing to losses for the recently IPO’d firm of $361.2m, despite growing revenue. ®

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