LAS VEGAS -- Imagine carrying all your photos, videos and important business documents on a WiFi-enabled hard drive that could stream them all wirelessly to any device within range. That's the Seagate GoFlex Wireless Satellite, which has been available since last year. Now picture that same device with Verizon 4G LTE connectivity and the ability to not only serve as hotspot but also to share your files with someone half a world away. That's the unique drive/server, which the company is showing off here at CES.
Though it is only a prototype and not officially scheduled for release, Seagate representatives told us they feel confident about the device's chances of coming to market in the very near future, perhaps even this year. The model we saw did not suffer from any pre-production problems and looked more than polished enough to use today.
Check out our in-depth hands-on with the GoFlex 4G device below.
In an extensive demo today, Seagate's William Clark showed us how the Satellite could be used as both a mobile storage device and a connectivity solution. He started by demonstrating the device's ability to act as a simple hotspot for any Wi-Fi enabled device, pulling up the laptopmag.com home page in just a few seconds on an iPad and then starting a YouTube clip that streamed perfectly.
This level of performance comes as no surprise since Verizon's 4G LTE network remains the fastest in the U.S. and we've gotten great coverage here in Las Vegas. Clark said the drive gets about 4 hours of battery life using LTE and 5 hours plus using Wi-Fi alone.
Clark then showed how the device could give you access to a Verizon storefront where you could buy music or rent movies. Bought music would download directly to the hard drive to save you space, but movies would simply stream wirelessly but with an enhanced buffer on the drive itself. He also showed a clip streaming from the storage on the drive where motion was incredibly smooth.
As intriguing as its media viewing functions are, this device has a ton of potential for business use. On business trips, coworkers could share both a connection and a common group of files with each other. Even better, using a service called Polkcast, the drive can make its files available to coworkers anywhere in the world over the Internet.
So imagine having a coworker back at the office while you're on location and need to get that coworker some video, photos or other materials. That person can download the files directly from your Seagate drive by logging into the drive via Polkcast. The files do not live in the cloud, but only on the Satellite, so there's no need to worry about Polkcast or another third party holding confidential data. In consumer use cases, family members can download photos this way.
Of course, the Seagate drive can also be hooked up to your notebook via microUSB so you can dump a lot of files more quickly or use it when the battery is out of juice.
We think both the consumer and business uses of this product are incredibly compelling and hope to see it come to market in the near future.