From the horse’s mouth
SanDisk have jumped on board the bus as far as mobile network-attached storage devices are concerned.
Here. they have released two devices but both of these devices are similar in functionality to the typical “mobile NAS” is concerned. They require that you connect your laptop, smartphone or tablet to their own wireless network but the SanDisk devices have a similar Internet-access “bridge” mode to what the previously reviewed Kingston mobile NAS has so you can benefit from another Wi-Fi network for Internet access. They also require you to install a manufacturer-designed app on your mobile device so you can get at or put files on these mobile NAS devices from your device’s control surface. There is also a Web front for gaining access to the files hosted on these devices from a regular computer.
Of course they have their limitations such as not supporting SMB/CIFS data transfer used by every regular-computer operating system or not supporting DLNA media-server functionality so you can “pull up” media stored on these devices on a smart TV or similar device. They don’t even allow you to link them to a regular small network so they can become a NAS for that network, which could come in handy if you use a “Mi-Fi” device on the road or simply annex it to your home network just to transfer data to and from the device.
There is a USB connection that is used for charging these devices from any USB AC charger, car charger or external battery pack as outlined in the “Gadget List – Essential Smartphone And Tablet Accessories” article. But this also is used for transferring data between a regular computer and these wireless NAS devices as if they are a USB memory key. You may end up with issues when it comes to connecting these devices to “non-computer” equipment like printers or Blu-Ray players because they may present themselves as multiple USB devices which is something that these “non-computer” devices don’t really tolerate as I have raised before.
The SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive also uses an SDXC slot so you can use it as a place to “dump” your digital-camera images if you start to “run out of film” on your digital camera. Then you can either use it as a backup system for your holiday’s worth of photos during that trip or take some of the pictures further by uploading them to Flickr or Facebook using your laptop, smartphone or tablet. It also has higher storage capacity options in the form of a 64Gb variant as well as the 32Gb variant.
Personally, I would like to see someone take these devices further and do things like support DLNA or SMB/CIFS or provide network “annexing” as an option so they can do more than just being on the road. If not, we could start to see a very stale class of product come of these devices.