DATA STORAGE OUTFIT Seagate has announced a portable hard disk drive that connects to tablet devices, smartphones and even PCs wirelessly.
Called the Goflex, the device claims 25 hours of battery life in standby, and broadcasts WiFi in standby mode too, dropping to five hours when the hard drive is used continuously.
The company is selling it as an upgrade to the extremely limited built-in storage of the Ipad. Of course devices liberated with Android usually have an SD card slot, making a £180 external hard drive a little less necessary.
There's only one capacity option for now, and that's 500GB. To get your data onto the drive quickly, it supports USB 3.0 and, via a series of Seagate cables, can support other standards like eSATA and Firewire. There's even a plan to introduce a Thunderbolt connector in the future. Three devices can be connected at the same time, and Seagate says there is enough bandwidth to stream an HD movie to each of those connected clients at the same time.
The Satellite WiFi is WPA protected, so not just anyone can root through your files. However the drive itself has no protection via encryption, so anyone who steals it will have access to all your stuff. When we asked Seagate why it hadn't included file security, it told us that it would add to the price. It also pointed out that this product is mostly aimed at entertainment use.
If you're a fruit themed tablet user, then there's an app available that makes the process of grabbing files a little easier. The good news is that Android tablets and phones can still connect via a web browser interface. There will also be an Android app launched in a couple of months, but the way Google's OS works makes this less important than on the Ipad and Iphone.
Seagate plans to introduce a mode later that allows the device to relay your wireless internet access through the drive too. This will mean that you'll be able to access the internet while streaming your videos and photos. With this update, Seagate said it will add a DLNA server too, which means that when the drive is in your house various media streamers will be able to pick it up and play files from it. There's also the possibility of Airplay at some point too.
The Goflex portable hard drive will land in the UK in August, and the Android app should be available by then too. European pricing is unclear, but the US street price is about $180. So it probably will be priced at about £180 in rip-off Britain. µ
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