Like many mobile workers, my notebook, tablet and smartphone share backpack space with portable storage. Accessing stored files over a physical connection, however, can be something of a challenge. Even if you're luckier than I and manage to find a free USB port when you need one, connecting multiple devices to your storage can quickly turn into a messy cable fight. SanDisk has launched a new Connect range of storage vaults that can bypass that nightmarish tangle soup altogether. The Wireless Flash Drive and Wireless Media Drive are each able to wirelessly connect with up to eight mobile devices simultaneously without so much as an external router in sight.
The Connect Wireless Flash Drive can be used to store, share and stream music, video, image and document files across multiple devices. The pocket-friendly 3.07 x 1.04 x 0.54 in (78 x 27 x 14 mm), 0.95 oz (27 g) unit offers up to four hours of continuous video streaming from the thumbdrive on a single charge of its integrated Li-Pol battery, and can share a movie with up to three different devices at the same time. The device has a USB 2.0 connector for physical connectivity and charging, and is available in two storage capacities. The 16 GB flavor is priced at US$49.99, while the 32 GB unit will set you back $59.99.
If your mobile storage needs run to collections of HD videos, multi-megapixel photos and lossless audio files, the Connect Wireless Media Drive will likely be your vault of choice. This 2.6 x 2.6 x 0.52 in (65 x 65 x 13.5 mm), 2.5 oz (71 g) digital file safe comes in a 32 GB flavor for $79.99, or a 64 GB version for a penny short of a cool hundred bucks. Each packs an SDHX/SDXC media card slot for potentially unlimited expansion possibilities, and comes with a 1500 mAh battery with twice the life per charge as the flash drive. It's capable of streaming up to five different HD movies at once, and also includes USB 2.0 connectivity for charging and cabled file transfer.
Both formats offer drag and drop functionality across multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows and Mac. More functionality and control is available via a free-to-download SanDisk Connect app. Security-conscious users can WPA2 password protect the 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connection between Connect storage drive and mobile device (which has a range of up to 150 ft/50 m).
The Connect storage line is available for pre-order now via online retailers like Amazon, Newegg and Micro Center. Best Buy will start to stock the line from August.