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Maxell's AirStash: USB card reader turned iPad storage expander

Maxell announces the AirStash, a USB SD card reader that has a built-in Wireless-N app and media-streaming capabilities for iOS devices and other tablets.

For a long time, iPad owners have complained about the device's lack of storage space. Almost overnight, they now have so many options to conveniently carry more data on the go. First came the Seagate Satellite, then the Kingston Wi-Drive. Then Hitachi announced its G-Connect. Finally, today, Maxell unveiled something of a novelty, the AirStash.

The new AirStash from Maxell.
The new AirStash from Maxell (photo of a prototype). Maxell

In a nutshell, this is a USB SD card reader which, like all card readers, allows users to connect an SD card to a computer and use it as an external drive. However, this is the first card reader that incorporates a Wireless-N access point, a built-in media server, and a battery. This means that when it's unplugged from the computer, it becomes a wireless storage expander, just like any of the aforementioned devices.

Maxell says the AirStash can stream data to up to eight wireless clients at a time; the Satellite can stream to three clients at most, and the G-Connect can stream to only five.

The advantage of the AirStash, obviously, is that it offers users the flexibility of using any SD card as its storage, meaning, among other things, that you can immediately stream content from the original source, such as a camera or a camcorder. The device is also really compact and, as it has no moving parts, would likely have good battery life--up to five hours, according to Maxell. On the other hand, SD cards tend to have limited amount of storage space, with popular ones providing somewhere between 2GB and 32GB. Maxell says, however, that the AirStash supports SD cards of up to 128GB of storage space.

Maxell also says the AirStash supports the WebDAV standard for document compatibility and will work with all popular platforms including Mac, PC, iOS, and Android. For iOS-based devices, it comes with a free AirStash+ app that can be downloaded from Apple's App Store to facilitate media sharing/streaming.

Maxell says the AirStash will be available for purchase by the end of September and it's slated to cost $150 with an 8GB SD card included.