For those short on memory, SanDisk has an answer

Ed Lee
Aug 15, 2013

One of the big dilemmas for today’s smartphones and tablets is limited memory. With more vendors including only internal memory and no built-in microSD card slot for extended memory options, mobile device users are left with nowhere to go if they run out of internal memory for their collection of music, photos, and videos.

SanDisk recently announced a fix for that dilemma with the Connect Wireless Media Drive, which is a nice take-it-with-you solution. The drive  is pocket-sized (2.6” x 2.6” x 0.5”) and allows consumers to download and store their media onto the drive and play it back via a built-in Wi-Fi connection to their phone or tablet using SanDisk’s Wireless Media Drive app. Wireless connectivity is the key to the user experience; without it the drive would be just another memory card dangling off the mobile device.

Some of the more noteworthy features of the Media Drive include the ability to back up photos, videos, and files from a mobile device, a pass through Wi-Fi connection to retain wireless Internet access when connected to the drive, and a battery rated for 8 hours of wireless streaming per charge (with a battery life meter in the app). In addition, the drive has the ability to connect up to 8 devices and up to 5 people can stream different HD movies simultaneously, and it features an SD card slot for quick viewing of photos from a digital camera’s memory card. The drive comes in 32 GB and 64 GB capacities and sells for $79 and $99, respectively.

SanDisk also sells a less expensive Connect Wireless Flash USB drive which offers many of the same features as the Media Drive, except it only supports simultaneous video streaming for up to 3 people. The Flash USB model does not come with an SD memory card slot and it has a shorter battery life, at 4 hours compared to 8 hours for the Media Drive. The flash drive comes in 16 GB ($49) or 32 GB ($59) configurations.

InfoTrends Opinion

I had the opportunity to test the Media Drive on a recent train trip back from New York City, and was able to watch several hours of video podcasts on my iPad without a glitch in the playback. The only small caveat is that users have to plan ahead to make sure that the video they want to watch is transferred to the drive ahead of time. In most cases, users only need to drag and drop files from the computer to the drive, which is not a very complicated process.

Some may think that the need to carry around another device is a drawback. While I agree it is another “thing” to bring along, if someone were to examine my briefcase on any given day, they would likely find 3-4 cameras, a laptop, an iPad, extra batteries and chargers for each device, and more. Moreover, if the briefcase is weighed, it would tip the scales at around 25 lbs. For me, the benefit of having ALL my media collection with me outweighs the drawback of packing another device and another 2.5 ounces is not going to matter.

With less than 500 MB of free space on my 32 GB iPhone, I can see myself using this drive regularly, especially for long cross-county flights. For people who have run out of memory on their phones or tablets, the SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive is an elegant solution that allows you to take your content with you and no data plan or cloud service is required. SanDisk may be able to reach customers on a broader scale if they get these drives placed with the smartphones and tablets in retail stores, rather than in the memory card aisle.

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If you are interested in more information about connected devices, check out  InfoTrends’ latest study, The Changing Digital Imaging Landscape: A Review of InfoTrends’ 2013 U.S. Connected Devices Survey. The study examines consumers’ use of smartphones, tablets, and Internet-connected TV. It is available to clients of our Connected Imaging Trends service or from the InfoTrends report store. For more information, please contact Matt O’Keefe at matthew.okeefe@infotrends.com or +1.781.616.2115. 

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