New SDKs greatly simplify the creation of storage management apps for Android and iOS, and make it easy to add USB storage functionality to other apps.
USB storage is generally underused in mobile apps, even though there are various situations where it would be very convenient for users. Examples include on-the-go backup without relying on mobile data or Wi-Fi hotspots, and giving copies of photos or videos you’ve just taken to someone else without having to upload them. If you want to take movies on a trip to watch on the plane or in your hotel, for example, it’s much easier to save large media files on a flash drive, and this also avoids cluttering up the device’s limited internal storage.
Mobile OSes are beginning to incorporate USB storage support, but that support tends to be inflexible. This feature only came to Android in version 6 (Marshmallow), and that implementation only supports FAT32. That’s a problem for developers who want to produce apps that run on the majority of Android phones and tablets, and an even bigger one for those planning to create cross-platform apps. Furthermore, FAT32 imposes file-size limitations that can be inconveniently restrictive when dealing with large files such as HD and 4K videos.
Paragon Software’s new UFSD SDKs help fill this gap. Available for iOS (iPhone 5 and later, iPad 2 and later) and Android (version 3.0 and later), they abstract and implement support for multiple partitioning schemes (MBR, GPT and APM) and file systems (NTFS, HFS+, FAT32, ExFAT and ExtFS).
The UFSD SDKs will be of particular interest to storage vendors, as they can bundle Paragon’s UMS service and other Paragon FS drivers with portable USB storage products to ensure compatibility and interoperability with any OSes including iOS, Android, Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. Similarly, ISVs can use the SDKs to simplify the development of Android and iOS apps supporting multiple brands of mobile USB storage.
Since iOS provides a very limited support for external storage and only allows access to images stored on digital cameras via custom Lightning to USB adaptor, storage vendors entering the iOS market need a companion app that would support their storage media’s file system. Naturally, each vendor’s app only supports its own storage brand.
To provide a real-life example of how the UFSD SDK can be used, Paragon Software has developed a plug-in https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.paragon.tcplugins_ntfs_ro that adds USB storage support to the well-regarded, 4.5 star average rated, Total Commander file management app for Android. The plug-in has already been downloaded more than 400,000 times, which clearly demonstrates end-user interest in this capability.
A demonstration of a sample iOS app using the iOS UFSD SDK can be seen via YouTube: