Seagate launches a network drive that you can use to get your data, anytime, anywhere

Seagate is launching a novel portable backup device that will let you access your photos, videos, and other data from afar.

The product fits in with the consumer mantra of the digital age: access your data, anytime, anywhere. The company’s FreeAgent DockStar network adapter is a docking system where you can plug in a portable Seagate FreeAgent Go backup drive (sold separately). You can then connect it via Ethernet cable to your home network router. You can then access that backup drive from any network in the home.

And when you’re away from home, you can access the drive via a web site, where you log in with a username and password. Once you do so, you can view the contents of the drive and launch videos, slide shows, or play music. You can even access it from an iPhone. You can share the contents of the drive with anyone you want, and designate which data on the drive is available for others to see. When you update the content, such as adding more photos, your friends can get alerts saying there is new content for them to view.

The dock has three universal serial bus ports in addition to its main connector dock. It thus lets you connect four mass storage devices to it. The network adapter is enabled by the Pogoplug service from Cloud Engines, which has a partnership with Seagate.

Scotts Valley, Calif.-based Seagate will go up against rivals such as Hewlett-Packard, which just built the same kind of remote access function into its HP MediaSmart Server backup system, as well as Western Digital. The FreeAgent DockStar sells for $99.99 and comes with a one year free subscription to the Pogoplug service. After a year, the fee is $29.99 a year.

Seagate also has new portable drives available. The FreeAgent Go drives sell in capacities of 250 gigabytes, 320 GB, 500 GB, 640 GB, 750 GB, 880 GB, and 1,000 GB (one terabyte). Jon Van Bronkhorst, a Seagate vice president, said that the FreeAgent DockStar can double as a convenient emergency offsite backup system. You can install the network adapter with a drive at your parent’s house and then feed data to the backup data remotely.

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