We were able to check out HYPER's (opens in new tab) new iUSBport family at this year's Pepcom, part of CES 2013. These devices turn any external hard drive or USB flash drive into a Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing for wireless media streaming to both smartphones and tablets. It doesn't require a computer, router or Internet; just turn and and go.
There are three new additions to the iUSBport line, which builds upon the iUSBport/CloudFTP product released last year. The first is the iUSBport2, which is just slightly larger than an Altoids tin and felt about the same weight. This device has two USB ports that can connect to two separate USB drives at the same time, as well as a microSDXC slot and an 8-hour rechargeable battery. The backlit LCD screen was easy to read, and the entire product was super portable.
There's also the iUSBport mini, which is shaped similarly to a USB drive and functions just like the iUSBport2 but without the internal battery. This smaller version is even more portable than the iUSBport2, but the required tethering to the wall may be a burden. iUSBport HD includes a built-in hard drive, between 500GB to 2TB and has a battery that lasts up to 6 hours.
These products are all approved for airplane use, so we could easily see ourselves throwing a ton of movies or TV shows onto an external drive and having an almost limitless library of shows to watch on a flight. Or we could bring our entire music library with us, along with a smartphone, and remove the restrictions imposed by the device's internal storage. This seemed ideal for smartphones or tablets without expandable memory, like the iPhone 5 or the Nexus 4.
The iUSBport line should be available before the end of March. The iUSBport mini costs $69.95, the iUSBport 2 is $149 and the iUSBport HD starts at $159 and goes up in price depending on the internal storage capacity. All the devices are compatible with Android and iOS, and have an HTML5 Web app which can be accessed from any notebook.