Dozens of companies have built entire businesses supplying accessories to the iPod and iPhone. With the iPad, storage vendors are trying to get a piece of the pie by addressing the inherent storage limitations of the platform. Without an SD card slot, your iPad is stuck with however much storage you buy it with. Upgrading isn't possible and higher capacity models are sold at a pretty steep premium. Seagate and now Kingston are offering 802.11 enabled, battery powered external storage devices to use with the iPad or any device with a web browser (iOS or not).


While Seagate went the mass storage route with a 500GB hard drive, today Kingston is announcing its Wi-Drive an external 16GB or 32GB wireless addition deisgned for mobile devices. The Wi-Drive can support up to three simultaneous users either through a free iOS app or by connecting to the Wi-Drive via a web browser. 

You get your content onto the Wi-Drive via USB and then can access it wirelessly via your mobile device. Kingston is promising up to 4 hours of battery life.

The 16GB version will retail for $129.99 while the 32GB version will set you back $174.99.

Personally I see the need for expandable tablet storage, but I'm not entirely sure what the sweet spot is. For users who use the iPad as their only computing device, these devices are going to make a lot of sense.  I plan on looking at both the Seagate solution and the Kingston Wi-Drive after I get back from Computex.

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  • micksh - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    Nook Color with microSD slot for $250 is the sweet spot.
    This 16GB thing costs more than difference between 16GB and 32GB iPads. 32GB version costs almost as much as difference between 16GB and 64GB iPads.

    It just does not make any sense.
    Well, it makes only educational sense. To confirm idiom that "fool and his money are soon parted". If you made a mistake buying device with non-expandable storage and you actually need more storage you will pay dearly for your mistake.
  • speculatrix - Thursday, June 2, 2011 - link

    the irony of the iPad being a sleek minimalist device and yet without memory card slot nor regular USB port means messy work-rounds and proprietary cables and adaptors.

    what's wrong with USB on the go - mini A - it works just fine? what's wrong with a microSD car slot?

    the reason, I suspect, is that it means whilst apple can keep the base price of a device cheap by offering less storage, a lot of people will buy the more expensive device knowing there's no possibility of upgrading.
  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, June 2, 2011 - link

    Let's see if I can come up with an analogy to capture the absurdity of this product. Ok so you have a bunch of trendy yuppies who bought into a bunch of hype and now they have a cool looking car that just happens to have no doors. But it has a large sunroof. This product is like a folding ladder you would use to climb to the top of your car so you can get in through the roof. Hey, what do you do with the ladder once you're in the car? I bet there is a solution to that that costs no less than $60.

    Wouldnt it be better just to buy something with a freakin sd card slot? my god...
  • Pessimism - Thursday, June 2, 2011 - link

    You forgot the part where halfway up the ladder it collapses and disintegrates as flame jets shoot out the side of the car and "brick" the ladder due to it being an unauthorized accessory.
  • catesplace - Friday, June 3, 2011 - link

    I'm willing to bet that there are a lot of people out there who would like tablets to have more storage capability - either inbuilt, card slots, or wireless/USB to an external hard drive. I know that we do. My husband had an Archos 5 (250 gb) but we couldn't get it serviced - the battery needed to be replaced and Archos won't let anyone else do serving.

    Now he is looking for a replacement that will hold all his music and photos (a HUGE amount), but we are having trouble finding a tablet that can accommodate a large storage device (i.e. a 1 T hard drive). We are finding that most tablets aren't expandable and the ones that are, expand to a card of some type. The Kingston and Seagate solutions sound promising for the short term, but to be truly useful tablets need to have more than 32 or 64 gb of on-board storage capability - that is just enough for an operating system and a few apps - or allow expansion to an external hard drive of a size choosable by the consumer.

    If the manufacturers of tablets want them to become more than entertainment devices and morph into something truly useful, they will need to look at this major issue.
  • Chilli71 - Thursday, June 9, 2011 - link

    Xoom and other upcoming Honeycomb tablets do have USB host ability.
    Until now I only saw tests with flash drive. The USB host cable I got does not work, so I can not investigate myself, if you can attach a ordinary USB HD to the Xoom.

    I preordered two 32GB microSD yesterday (21.4€ each) and I'm already currious, what comes first: The SD cards or official support from Motorola ;-).

    I personally do not have a need for a mass storage attached to the Xoom. I've filled up my 32GB iPhone4 with (lossless) music and have the videos on the Xoom. But how much video & music do I need for a day or a week?...


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