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Kingston Wi-Drive Wireless Storage

We think of wireless for music, as in Bluetooth, and wireless for networking, as in Wi-Fi. And Wi-Fi is about Internet access -- Our home router turns the hard-wired Internet connection into a wireless hotspot so we can go online with our laptops. And now our smartphone also can be a hotspot, turning the cellular data service into a local cloud for our tablets.

But Wi-Fi is not just a pipe to the Internet. You also can embed Wi-Fi into a device to allow it to be accessed remotely, as with wireless printers.

Another great use of wireless in these days of small portable devices is in hard drives for portable storage. After all, your smartphones and tablets have limited built-in storage, and you don't necessarily want to download a mass of large files to them.

These handheld portable devices also are not particularly good at sharing with others, for example to allow friends to sample your music or copy your photos or documents.

The solution, then, is to use a Wi-Fi enabled disk drive that creates its own wireless hotspot, so that you and others can browse and share its contents.

For example, the Seagate Satellite Mobile Wireless Storage (formerly GoFlex -- see earlier post) provides a hefty 500 GB of hard disk storage for around $174 (street).

Or for an even more portable solution, the Kingston Wi-Drive Wireless Storage is ridiculously thin and light at only 4.8 x 2.4 x 0.4 inches, yet can pack from 16 GB to 64 GB of flash storage, for $69 to $185.

That's enough storage to double the capacity of the largest iPad or iPhone. This means you can bring along large collections of your favorite photos, videos, and music that you can stream and play anywhere -- and simultaneously share with up to three users.

You set up the Wi-Drive from your computer like any removable drive through the USB connection. Just drag and drop to copy your large collections and files, without worrying about syncing big files to smartphone or tablet (especially painful though cloud services) or spending time managing their storage to avoid running out of room.

Then access the drive wirelessly though your device's Web browser to view and play files, or use the free Wi-Drive Apps for iOS and Android.

As a bonus, the Wi-Drive also works as a removable storage device with your smartphone or tablet (or laptop). You can browse the folders and files, copy (upload and download), and delete files. As a result, you can use it as a convenient way to transfer files between portable devices (that don't have slots for removable storage), or even between laptops (instead popping a thumb drive in and out each time).

And as a double bonus, you don't even have to give up your normal Internet connection while connected to the Wi-Drive -- It supports a bridged network connection option that lets you both access the drive and connect through to the Internet.

The Wi-Drive has a rechargeable battery that runs up to four hours, so it's a really convenient way to enhance your portable devices by wirelessly expanding their storage and sharing files.

See my update on holiday gadgets -- Portable Accessories - Fall 2012 -- for more on portable devices and accessories.

Find the Kingston Wi-Drive Wireless Storage on Amazon.com


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