Sandisk has just revealed a couple of brand new products: the Sandisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive (16GB-32GB), and Sandisk Connect Wireless Media Drive. Both are WiFi-based storage units and the main idea behind them is to serve mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. As smart devices become more powerful, people consume and create more and more data with them. Additionally, mobile displays and imaging capabilities have reached a level of detail that is many times higher than previous generations, and the storage requirement has grown dramatically.
With downloadable HD movies weighing around 5GB each, it’s not hard to see why a 16GB (or 8GB!) smartphone or tablet could feel cramped from a “storage capacity” point of view. For those equipped with a microSD slot, an upgrade is relatively easy and inexpensive but for many others, like the iPhone, a 16GB upgrade can cost as much as $100, which is very expensive per GB.
With its line of Connect Flash devices, Sandisk hopes to address the storage needs that seems inevitable, but also the convenience of moving data between computers and mobiles. Since both are based on WiFi, there is no need to use a typical USB cable and it’s easy to share data with friends (try emailing a 1GB video file…). However, an app is necessary to connect the phone to the Sandisk Connect device (iOS and Android are supported, and Android gives extra flexibility in terms of quick connectivity).
The Sandisk Wireless Flash Drive is a 32GB USB stick (pre-loaded with a microSD card). I really like this one because it is so small and just about everybody is comfortable using a USB stick, so if users are OK with installing the Sandisk app on their mobiles, this should be very easy.
The Wireless Media Drive is a more traditional 64GB WiFi storage unit, and others have launched similar designs, although not that small and often not extensible: it has an empty (full-size) SDXC card slot, which can be used for 1/ extending the capacity by 128GB 2/ copy files from a camera to the Sandisk storage unit. Since it is bulkier, it also has a larger battery and can stream video for 8 hours.
Both Sandisk Connect units are very well designed, and since they support iOS and Android, Sandisk can cover a gigantic market. Keep in mind that each device will create an access point (they are like a little router/web server), so you won’t be able to stream from them and use WiFi for internet connectivity at the same time. That shouldn’t be a problem if you have a wireless 3G/4G access as well, but it’s good to keep in mind.
Wireless Flash Drive
4hrs of video streaming per charge
3 simultaneous video streams
8 simultaneous connections
$49.99 16GB / $59.99 32GB
Launches in US/UK/Germany today
Wireless Media Drive
8hrs of video streaming per charge
5 simultaneous video streams
8 simultaneous connections
SDXC extension port (empty)
32GB / 64GB
U.S first, U.K and Germany later