Cool stuff: Seagate contemplates 4G LTE for mobile storage hot spot

Seagate announces at CES 2012 a new product that combines Verizon 4G LTE with a mobile drive to offer all you need in terms of data and connectivity on the go.

The Seagate's prototype of the Personal Server 4G LTE Wi-Fi being demoed at CES 2012.
The Seagate's prototype of the Personal Server 4G LTE Wi-Fi being demoed at CES 2012. Dong Ngo/CNET

LAS VEGAS--When on the go, you want to stay connected at all times and carry as much data as possible without having to physically carry a lot, right?

Soon you'll be able to do just that.

Seagate revealed and demonstrated at CES 2012 the prototype of a product tentatively called the Personal Server 4G LTE Wi-Fi. This is basically a combination of what the company's GoFlex Satellite has to offer and a 4G LTE mobile hot spot in one compact box.

Seagate's Personal Server 4G LTE Wi-Fi devices open up a lot of potential for mobile applications.
Seagate's Personal Server 4G LTE Wi-Fi devices open up a lot of potential for mobile applications. Dong Ngo/CNET

Seagate said this is result of a 1.5-year collaboration with Verizon, which will be the exclusive provider of the 4G LTE connection for the product when it's released. For the first time, your favorite iPad/Tablet wireless storage expander will connect you to the Internet, too, no matter where you are in the States.

The demo unit is the same size as the GoFlex Satellite. The only difference is it no longer belongs to the GoFlex family, but instead has just one fixed USB 2.0 port and a built-in 4G mobile hot spot. I tried it out briefly and was able to experience what the product is intended to offer, which basically includes two main features:

First is the ability to wirelessly expand the storage capacity of your mobile device, such as an iPad, with enough storage space carry hundreds of HD movies on the go. The prototype comes with 500GB but the final product will likely offer more.

And secondly, when a mobile device connects to the Personal Server via a Wi-Fi connection, it gains access to the Internet via a 4G LTE connection. This is similar to what you can do with a mobile hot spot, such as the Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot. You don't need to be in an area with a Wi-Fi network to gain access to the Internet anymore.

Seagate's new mobile storage hot-spot solution will likely be as compact as its current GoFlex Satellite mobile wireless storage expander is.
Seagate's new mobile storage hot-spot solution will likely be as compact as its current GoFlex Satellite mobile wireless storage expander is. Dong Ngo/CNET

On top of that it will also offer the same data-sharing function as a Slingbox or other media-streaming or cloud-based services, such as Polkast, which was used for the demo.

Specs-wise, Seagate said the Personal Server will come with a battery that lasts about 5 hours, about the same as that of the GoFlex Satellite. It will incorporate Wireless-N and will work with all existing Wi-Fi clients. Similar to the Satellite, it will come with mobile apps for iOS- and Android-based mobile devices and will also work with any devices that have a full browser, such as a laptop.

Both Seagate and Verizon are tight-lipped about the availability of the final product, but my guess is that you can expect to buy one this year. Its price will also likely around that of the GoFlex Satellite plus the monthly subscripton fee for the cellular connection. Apart from the 4G LTE, the mobile storage device will also work with 3G and 2G networks.

 

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