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Pogoplug Mobile adds backup, storage, streaming to Android, iOS devices

This $79 gizmo plugs into your home router and turns any USB drive or SD card into remote-accessible storage for your phone or tablet.

The Pogoplug Mobile.
The Pogoplug Mobile. Cloud Engines

Cloud Engines' new Pogoplug Mobile is a small box that plugs into your home router and streams your media libraries to your Android or iOS device.

That may sound familiar to anyone already familiar with the Pogoplug line of products, but the Mobile adds one key feature to the mix: it automatically backs up photos and videos captured with your phone or tablet.

Its name and diminutive size notwithstanding, the Mobile is not a portable device. Instead, it resides alongside your router and relies on one of three sources for storage: your PC(s), a USB hard drive or flash drive plugged directly into the unit, or an SD card.

This is the first Pogoplug product to offer an SD slot. (It's also the first with only one USB port; other models have four.) I'm not sure I see any major benefit to that, though it's always nice to have the option of another storage medium.

A Pogoplug is like a NAS without the storage. Plug in any external hard drive (or, in this case, SD card) and you've got easy access to its contents via any PC or device. You can share files (publicly or privately), back up data, and stream your music, photos, and videos.

With the Mobile and Pogoplug's newly updated apps for Android and iOS, you have the option of backing up photos and videos from your phone or tablet to whatever connected storage area you want. That gives you not only some peace of mind, but also the option of deleting photos and videos to free up space.

If that backup option doesn't excite you, it's worth noting that you can get the same streaming and remote data access with Cloud Engines' Pogoplug Premium software ($29), though it does require your computer(s) to remain on. Alternately, the $99 Pogoplug supports up to four USB drives and works even when your PCs are off.

The Pogoplug Mobile sells for $79. I'll reserve final judgment until I've had a chance to review it, but on the surface it seems like a stripped-down Pogoplug that offers only one real benefit: on-the-fly photo/video backup. And don't we have iCloud for that?