From the horse’s mouth
Buffalo is raising the bar when it comes to the wireless network-attached storage device. These devices typically have a capacity of up to 128 Gigabytes due to their implementation of a solid-state drive and observed limitations such as working either as direct-attached storage for a regular computer or their own Wi-Fi network for mobile devices that ran an app supplied by their manufacturer.
How are Buffalo raising the bar here? They are offering two variants of this NAS – one with a 500Gb hard disk and another with a 1 Terabyte hard disk. It works to the Wi-Fi 802.11g/n standards including support for dual-stream (theoretical) 300Mbps bandwidth. Like most devices in its class, it can stand between another Wi-Fi segment like your home network or hotel-supplied Wi-Fi Internet service and effectively bridge the other network’s services to the network it provides.
On the other hand, it can be connected to a regular computer as an external hard disk using the USB 3.0 connection which most newer computers have at least one of. When you use it wirelessly, you will need to use Buffalo-supplied apps to shift files between the MiniStation AIr 2 and your mobile devices, and I am not sure whether this implements SMB/CIFS to transfer files between a regular computer running Windows, Mac OS X or Linux and this device via its Wi-Fi network. But, from what I have read, it does use DLNA to stream multimedia files to client devices like Internet radios.
Let’s not forget that it can house half a day’s worth of power on its own battery and Buffalo reckoned that it could charge two smartphones.
Personally, I see this raising the stakes with storage capacity, wireless bandwidth and battery runtime along with the ability to implement DLNA media serving. If Buffalo could take steps to have devices of the MiniStation Air 2 able to work with a “master” network like your home network for “picking up” content and other files without having to be tethered to a regular computer, it could become a useful device to take network-hosted content on the road. The capacity that this unit offers is also a sign of things to come for mobile computing.