We had a chance to sit down with Seagate earlier this week, and we liked what we saw.
We were glad to see an update to the GoFlex Satellite we had reviewed some months ago, we saw a product that is not yet shipping (but we WANT NOW), and we took some time to see the speed boost that Seagate’s Momentus XT Hybrid Hard drive offers as compared to a traditional spinning platter. Here’s a look.
Seagate Go-Flex Satellite rev 2:
The Seagate Gp-Flex Satellite is an interesting product. It is a 500GB hard drive that can connect to a local WiFi network to expand your available storage as a result. For example, I could have the Satellite here in the suite in Vegas, connect it to the WiFi system and, as a result, all of us could have an extra 500GB of shared storage available. There were some issues with the unit I had previously reviewed. It only got about 4 hours of battery life, and you could only have three people attached to it at a time. In addition, once you connected to the Satellite’s WiFi you could not also be connected to the local WiFi network. Finally, the available iOS app that lets you access the drive was slooooooowwwwwww.
We were glad to see that an update is on the way, and that it will bring some needed improvements. Among them …
– The update will double the battery life. That is a big deal since this is a mobile device.
– It will allow you to have up to eight people connected at a time instead of three. Of course the more people connected to it the slower the performance may be but the point remains that up to eight people can now connect.
– In addition, the update solves the WiFi connection issue by alloying the device to connect to the internet and you to connect other devices to the network THROUGH the Satellite. This also means that, theoretically, if you were paying for a connection you could pay once for the Satellite to connect and then the others could connect through it and by-pass the need for additional charges.
The best news of all? ALL devices will get the update. Original devices will get a firmware update in early March and all new products will ship with the updated firmware. We really love it when companies don’t leave first generation hardware behind!
4G Wireless Storage
Seagate’s 4G Wireless Storage unit was a CES innovations award winner and with good reason. Imagine the Seagate Go-Flex Satellite merged with a MiFi hotspot router and you get a good idea of what this upcoming product is all about. The 4G Wireless Storage unit creates a wireless network when you are away from a WiFi connection and it offers 500GB of storage. It is the result of a partnership with Verizon who will provide the connectivity and Seagate who will provide the wireless storage. Unfortunately, while the device we saw was now being announced it will “translate into an actual product in the near-ish future”.
So why is this product not yet available? It is the result of an issue that will only grow more and more problematic in the coming years. The technology increasingly lets us live “in the cloud” and pull down the data we need on demand, but at the same time the carriers are capping data usage. The two are bound to come into conflict, and this is a good example where that comes into play in a huge way. It is, as they admitted, one of the issues they are struggling with, and one they will need to resolve before the device can be released.
GoFlex Thunderbolt Adapter
The 11″ MacBook Air I am typing this report on has a Thunderbolt port. It has never been used. Yes, the promise of Thunderbolt is lightning-fast speed, but the accessories that can take advantage of it have not seen the light of day… until now. Seagate is coming out with the first single drive to use thunderbolt. The new adapters will run you $99 for the 2.5″ adapter while the larger $189 adapter for the 3.5″ drive.
We saw a demo of a USB 2 vs the Thunderbolt with the Thunderbolt connection doubling or even tripling the speeds. It was rather impressive.
I am dying to get my hands on one of these. The only downside?? They do not come with the special Thunderbolt cable … that will cost you an additional $50.
Seagate Momentus XT
The final thing we saw was the Seagate Momentum XT hybrid drive. It is a traditional drive, but it also has SSD storage right on the board.
The neat thing about it is that the drive “learns your habits over time” and, as it does, begins to move the data you use most over to the solid state drive. The first time you boot a computer with one you will see typical spinning platter drive speeds, but as it learns what you use most the computer gets faster and faster. Here’s a video demonstration.
Seagate has had something worthwhile to show each year here at CES and this year was no different. We are looking forward to the Satellite update and would love to get our hands on the Thunderbolt adapters. After all. faster is always better.