Western Digital has added Dropbox support to its WD 2go mobile app, allowing customers to shuffle batches of files between their 'personal cloud', mobile devices and the popular cloud storage service.

The development is another sign of how previously-isolated hardware backup drives with simple backup routines becoming Internet appliances ruled by software.

In a typical scenario, user might capture images on their mobile device which could then be sent back to their personal cloud; a home-based Western Digital hard drive such as the My BookLive, My Book Live Duo (a larger version) or My Net N900 router with integrated storage.

With the upgrade to the free WD 2go mobile app for the iPhone, iPad or Android devices, the same files could now also be copied to Dropbox as well as to the home cloud drive.

Because of Dropbox's size limits for free account holders (from 2GB), the WD 2go app also allowed files physically located on the personal cloud to be sent to contacts via a secure link.

Files can also be shared straight from Dropbox but what will interest users is the way that they can manage this and other file housekeeping processes (for both personal and Dropbox domains) from the mobile device without the need to access a PC. When at home, the same personal cloud can be accessed directly by Wi-Fi.

“WD is committed to providing consumers with secure storage of digital content and access  to it on any screen, on-the-go or at home,” said Western Digital vice president, Jim Welsh.

“By combining access to Dropbox and personal cloud storage into a single intuitive mobile app, WD is empowering consumers with the flexibility and control of anytime, any-device management of their growing libraries of digital content.”   
What it also neatly offers is a way for storage vendors to reinvent commodity devices such as home hard drives into more interesting hubs full of content. Consumers do have a problem with multiple devices, not only how to back up these files but to manage file bloat across several devices.

A variation on this theme is another recently-announced drive from Seagate, the Basckup Plus range. These ship with software that not only automates conventional file back but also backs up a user's Flickr and Facebook images.