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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 16, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Smartphones, iPad getting external hard drive

Putting a new spin on mobile devices, Seagate today announced an external hard drive for iPads and smartphones.

The palm-sized gadget has 500 gigabytes of storage capacity, a wireless radio to sync with mobile devices and a claimed five-hour battery life.

“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,” Seagate Vice President Patrick Connolly said in a release. “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.”

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Seagate will begin selling the GoFlex Satellite drives in July for $200. That’s more than double the price of a standard 500 gig external drive, which lacks the wireless capability and battery.

Maybe it pencils out for iPad users racking up data overage fees or paying for big cloud storage lockers.

Seagate’s device might be perfect for the family that travels with a car full of iPads. It streams to three devices at once, so the family could take a huge collection of movies and music along and not have to worry about preloading a selection to each device. If you’ve already dropped $1,500 to $2,500 on three iPads, the $200 price probably isn’t a big deal.

But for individual smartphone and iPad users, the device seems like a step backward, mobility-wise. I guess they’re already toting around chargers so they may as well stuff a hard drive in their pocket as well.

Prepare for a return of the fanny pack.

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Comments | Topics: Gadgets & products, iPad, Phones

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