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Updated: March 17, 2013 13:59 IST

After phones and the Net, now hard drives go wireless

RUBAL WALIA
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In today’s world, we are increasingly creating electronic devices that are sleek, mobile and most importantly, wireless. Hard drives are the latest in a series of devices to go wireless, after telephones and the Internet.

We then created Wi-Fi hotspots to wirelessly access Internet in a limited radius. Airports, railway stations and many cafes now have Wi-Fi hotspots. Laptops, tablets, smartphones are all a series of our desire to have an ecosystem of wireless devices. And, why not!

Wires are binding; they tie you to a spot and are restrictive. It was but obvious for hard drives to go wireless sooner or later. But is it really a big deal? Does it actually make our lives convenient? Let’s find out.

Hard drives, for one, have gone wireless along with exciting features. The traditional function of an external hard drive was to store data and access it whenever there was a need.

You may ask, “If I were to transfer data from a hard drive into a device, does it really make that big a difference if I do it over a wire or without one?” Maybe not. However, what if you didn’t really have to copy the data and can still access it. And, what if you could do that using multiple devices simultaneously? Well, that might just be the successful formula. Here’s what the next-generation hard drives offer. They create a Wi-Fi network of their own (yes, you don’t need Internet or a data plan), so you can access them using your computer, tablet or smartphone. They typically have a Wi-Fi radius of 150 to 300 metres, so the hard drive can be conveniently placed anywhere in the house or in a backpack, if you are travelling. And, 9 to 10 hours battery life gives you power comparable to other mobile devices. There’s more: a single hard drive can be accessed by 5 to 9 devices (depending on the model of your hard drive).

Sounds exciting enough? Let’s see a practical application. Imagine you are travelling with your family, and all members are carrying their own individual devices. You could store stacks of music, movies or any files on the hard drive and all the members can access the files wirelessly to watch different/same movies on their personal devices. This is especially useful with devices such as smartphones and tablets that have limited storage capacity.

The market is gradually filling up with various brands of wireless hard drives and most of them support smartphones and tablets running the modern operating systems such as iOS, Android and Windows.

Seagate GoFlex Satellite, Kingston Wi-Drive and HP Power Playlist are some of the options available in the market. These are being predicted as a good alternative before cloud is secure and nimble enough to serve as storage for mobile devices.

(The author is Senior Marketing Communications Specialist, Hewlett-Packard. The views in the article are the author’s and not that of his employer. He can be contacted at rubal@hp.com)

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