Digital content storage - what's new and coming soon?
Ask any geek what’s going to happen to computer storage over the next few years, and you’ll get a unanimous verdict – storage is going to expand, and get smaller and faster. Improvements to digital content storage methods are arriving all the time and it's now easy to access your content on multiple devices from almost anywhere there's an internet connection. Old style hard disk drives were almost as big as a car tyre and held very little information – Megabytes at most. Now you can hold Gigabytes in a card as small as your fingernail, and consumer grade hard drives can even hold Terabytes of your photos, movies and personal files.
But that’s predictable and boring! So we’re going to take you through some innovations using existing technology that we were witness to at the Gadget Show, starting with Seagate and the GoFlex Satellite.
What is the Seagate GoFlex Satellite?
It’s a normal 500GB hard drive, except it has wireless internet built in, and is compatible with nearly any Wi-Fi enabled device via your web browser or specialised apps for iOS and Android. This means you can load in your media or documents from your computer, charge the drive up for wireless use and enjoy up to 7 hours wire-free access to your content before plugging GoFlex back in.
You can connect and stream information from up to three internet-enabled devices at once via GoFlex, so the kids can each enjoy a different film or listen to their favourite music on long trips. You can keep GoFlex in your bag for whenever you need instant, wireless access to your information without having to muddle with cables or USB sticks.
We spoke to the Seagate guys at the Gadget Show, and they also said they were looking at putting in a 4G modem into the next release – imagine a 500GB, internet enabled, portable device with a good battery life! That and a tablet, and you’d have all the devices you need for internet access at high speed, plus enough content storage for the whole family – powerful stuff.
SanDisk Eye Fi wireless SD card
Moving to the SanDisk stand, we saw the Eye Fi wireless SD card. Compatible with any digital camera that accepts SD cards, the card itself has Wi-Fi built in, so whenever you take a picture it can be automatically sent to your pc, tablet or smartphone. We saw this in action, with someone taking a photo of us (flashing the Geek Squad badges, with a stormtrooper in the background – don’t ask!) and loading up the tablet app. Within moments the card had realised a photo was being saved to it, activated its Wi-Fi (which the tablet automatically connected to on demand, to save battery life) and the photos were downloaded wirelessly before our eyes.
Even if you take your photos away from your computer (not that we suggest being away from technology for too long – withdrawal symptoms may occur) the card will automatically send them on once you get in range. The SD card currently comes in 4GB and 8GB varieties, and if this is a success I can see it being spread to other card types with higher storage capacities.
SanDisk Memory Vault
While we were at Gadget Show we also spied the SanDisk Memory Vault, which amazed us with a promised 100 years of storage time. CDs erode, DVDs warp, and hard drives fail, but this device (available in 8GB and 16GB varieties) promises to keep your digital photos, videos, documents etc safe for an entire century. They employ a proprietary technology (I had a few guesses, but they wouldn’t say how close I was…) to keep the data safe, intact, and free from corruption.
Of course, it’ll be difficult to tell if it lives up to this reputation until 2112, and by then you may have issues claiming on any warranties – and who knows if any machines in future years will even come with USB ports? Many questions but still, a 100 year promise is nothing to be sniffed at in any field!
So there we have it, 3 brilliant innovations from major manufacturers, with room to expand in the future with more features – bring it on, we say!