When you’re out in the great outdoors, the last thing you want is to run out of videos to watch and music to listen to. OK, sarcasm aside, Seagate is launching a very cool gadget that will let you take your entire media collection out into the wilderness with you.
Unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Seagate Wireless Plus is like a portable hard drive that you can carry with you. It is not connected to the Internet, but it can stream media stored on it to as many as eight smartphones or tablets at a time. If you’re driving in a car, it can stream a video to you and a song to your sibling sitting next to you.
The device has a 1 terabyte hard drive, with enough space to store up to 500 high-definition movies. With a 10-hour battery, it lets you extend the limits of today’s mobile lifestyle, said Greg Falgiano, senior product marketing manager at Seagate, in an interview with VentureBeat. That makes it a good match for the battery life of most smartphones and tablets, he said.
“You can access your content when you are off the grid — in the middle of the desert or on an island in the Pacific Ocean,” he said.
Now you can access your media when you’re on a long road trip or a flight, without an Internet connection. The device actually creates its own Wi-Fi network in a local area and uses that to stream the media to your devices.
You can access the device using the mobile Seagate Media app for Apple iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire HD devices. It works with any device that can connect to a Wi-Fi network. You can access your Seagate Wireless Plus media using Apple Airplay, which projects it onto a big screen TV. You can also access it via DLNA connections or Samsung Smart TVs and Blu-ray players.
Seagate debuted its first device in this category in 2011.
“Smartphones and tablets offer amazing new opportunities for Seagate to provide new consumer storage solutions in an increasingly mobile world,” said Scott Horn, vice president of Marketing at Seagate. “Seagate developed the concept of wireless storage to free consumers to enjoy their documents, movies, photos, and music anywhere in the world, especially when they can’t connect to the Internet. Seagate Wireless Plus builds on the success of our first generation product and takes it even further.”
The drive comes with a removable SuperSpeed USB 3.0 adapter for quick loading of media. The Wireless Plus has its own Wi-Fi network so that you don’t need to stream or download your content from the Internet or spend money on a data plan.
Brett Sappington, director of research at Parks Associates, said that less than half of U.S. mobile phone users are highly satisfied with the storage of their mobile phone, and 20 percent are dissatisfied with their mobile storage capacity. The Seagate Wireless Plus device is available from Amazon and BestBuy.com for $200. The device replaces Seagate’s GoFlex Satellite and competes with the Kingston Wi-Drive, Transcend StoreJet Cloud, Maxell AirStash A02, and the Buffalo MiniStation Air. Seagate says its advantage is more storage for the buck and ease of use.
In another announcement at CES, Seagate said it is launching Seagate Central, an external backup drive that lets you gather all of your home data in one location. It lets you set up automatic backups for a bunch of computing devices, and it works across both Windows and Mac computers. Once you gather your content, you can access it from all of your devices, including computers, smartphones, and tablets.
Robert Rodriguez, senior product marketing manager at Seagate, said the Seagate Central device replaces the GoFlex Home. You can upload or download data to the device via Wi-Fi, 3G, or 4G connections.
The device is shipping in March. It comes in several sizes: two terabytes for $189, three terabytes for $219, and four terabytes for $259. You can make it secure by setting up a username and password. It works with USB 3.0 cables.