Accessories and peripherals for Apple mobile devices can be easily singled out as a standalone market segment. A great many companies, small and large, are doing their best to satisfy Apple iOS users. Kingston, Seagate, and PQI, for example, make external storage devices for iOS devices. Why would an owner of an Apple mobile device need an external storage drive? There are many cloud services providing multimedia content (e.g., the iTunes Store) and data storage space (e.g., Dropbox). Well, what if there's no Wi-Fi coverage? While you're on vacation, for example. This would make expanding otherwise unexpandable memory a real challenge. And the only solution would be an external storage device.
Today we are going to review Kingston Wi-Drive, Seagate GoFlex Satellite Mobile Wireless Storage, and PQI Air Drive. But first let's take a look at the concept behind those.
The concept behind all three storage devices is the same.
First, you copy iOS-supported files to the external storage device. At that, for documents, you needn't have office apps installed. Readable will be the same document types as can be natively opened from email attachments. For example, if you don't have Pages, you will still be able to read DOC files. At the same time, even if you have Pages installed, you won't be able to change files. To do that, you would need to export the file into Pages, change it, and export it back to external storage which you can't. What you can do to files on external storage is sort them, create folders, and copy files to those folders. Anyway, after copying the files, you can unplug the storage device.
Second, you install the corresponding application from the App Store on your iOS device. After that, you wouldn't need either computer or Internet connection.
Third, you turn on the storage device and connect to its hotspot via Wi-Fi.
Finally, you launch the external storage device application on the phone. It will show you the files you've copied from the computer. The application works as a file manager for the remote storage device, allowing you to open stored files.
External storage devices support several simultaneous connections: in our case, PQI Air Drive supports up to 5, while Kingston Wi-Drive and Seagate GoFlex Satellite Mobile Wireless Storage support up to 3. By the way, Seagate's drive is promised to support up to 8 iOS devices at the same time with the next firmware.
Speaking of usability, this feature might help during conferences: you load the documents to the external drive and let everyone connect to it.
However, external storage devices have two major disadvantages. The first is a substantially heavier load on phone's battery because, essentially, you're streaming the content to the phone, not playing it from the internal media library. Another drawback is that you'll have to disconnect from the device to connect to the Internet over Wi-Fi. Or use 3G, which might be much more expensive. If these things are not critical for you, let's have a closer look at the three external storage devices
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