Now here's an interesting gadget: an external hard drive with a rechargeable battery and 802.11 b/g/n connectivity. Users could take this device on road trips, to the park, and even to the grocery store, packed with loads of HD video and music that could be streamed to most Wi-Fi enabled devices (and possibly pacify some whiny kids). Seagate has developed such a device, tagged it as the GoFlex Satellite Mobile Wireless Storage, and plans to offer it for $199.99 this July.
“With the growth of the tablet and iPad markets and the larger volumes of high-quality media now being consumed, there is a clear need for access to content that is not plagued with the challenges of streamed video over the Internet,” said Patrick Connolly, vice president and general manager of Seagate’s retail group. “The unfortunate fact is that these popular new mobile devices are hampered by their limited storage capacity while one of their primary functions is that of media consumption."
Seagate believes that a local device like the GoFlex Satellite is better on the quality front, as media isn't held hostage to Wi-fi hot spots and 3G/4G connections, nor is it served up in a buffered stream beamed out from a distant host provider. Instead, the Seagate drive disguises itself as a local attached storage and even allows up to three simultaneous connections.
That said, how does the rechargeable battery handle three streams at the same time? Seagate didn't really specify, only reporting that the battery has a standby time of up to 25 hours and a continuous video streaming time of up to 5 hours. An iOS app will also supposedly help with battery life by temporarily loading the video on to the iOS device it is being streamed to, allowing the drive to go into stand-by mode.
In addition to the iOS app, Seagate will also release an Android app in the near future. For now (or at least, when the drive is initially released), Android users connect to the wireless drive by using a web browser (stock or 3rd-party). Media Sync for Windows and Mac will also be provided for free and will include a USB 3.0 cable for both USB 3.0 and 2.0 consumers.
The GoFlex Satellite is available immediately for pre-order from Seagate.com, Amazon and BestBuy.com for $199.99. Best Buy stores are expected to receive the drive this July here in the States. A global release is slated for "later this summer."