As I’m typing this I’m waiting for a conference call with Data Robotics, maker of Drobo and its companion DroboShare, which makes Drobo a NAS device. The news today: DroboApps are here, officially. Some of you already might have heard about DroboApps. The first few apps are available from their website. Be warned, you’ll need both devices for most of these tools which is no surprise, since most of the apps are meant to be used remotely, which requires DroboShare’s Ethernet port.
For example there are already apps that allow you to run a Bittorrent client on the Drobo or use it as a media server for iTunes. With Yoics you can access Drobo and its contents from everywhere in the world. I’m sure there are many more ways to make use of the device. DroboShare, the device which actually runs most of the apps, is based on Linux – so there are numerous possibilities. Can’t wait to talk with the guys in the US again. I’m not sure if they are going to tell me anything beyond this today, but one can hope.
So I’m just off the phone with Thomas Loverro, Data Robotics’ Director of Product Marketing, to get some more details on the DroboApps. The SDK is available to everyone who wants to create their own app. At this time they have a little over 100 developers. Data Robotics also has some partnerships with other companies to push development. One of the first resulted in the already mentioned Yoics. But they are also working with two other companies – Tom didn’t say which – but they are well-known manufacturers in the audio and photography industry.
To use an application you have to enable DroboApps in the Drobo Dashboard. This will create a folder on your Drobo where you simply copy the downloaded applications. Currently there are no commercial apps available, but it’s up to the developers if they want to charge for them or not. Data Robotics doesn’t do a formal certification, like Apple does with the App Store for example. So you don’t necessarily have to download an app from their site. They just like to get notified about a new one, so they can check it and put it up on their website.
Apps can be everything that works on a Linux system. For example Apache was just ported (not yet uploaded to drobo.com), so it’s only a matter of time until you see php, mysql and the other usual suspects. Tom said that DroboShare “basically gets you a 200 USD PC that runs Linux”. So, be creative and show everyone what’s possible!