In the post-PC revolution, computers are being replaced with smartphones and tablets. Unfortunately, for many consumers making that switch, the transition isn’t all smooth sailing. Though devices like the Google Nexus 4, Apple iPhone 5 and forthcoming iPhone 5S, the iPad 4 and forthcoming iPad 5 tablets, and the HTC One Android smartphones offer plenty of computing power, you’re still working in a world where colleagues and friends are still using PCs. As such, USB flash drives, SD memory cards, and removable hard drives are still the norm. So how does a mobile user cope in a world that’s still full of PCs and Macs? One quick and rather inexpensive solution is the MobileLite by Kingston, a device that’s not much larger than the iPhone 5 that would allow you read your camera’s SD card, share files on a USB thumb drive, or download and stream movies on a USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 portable hard drive. Best of all, it even allows you to add storage to your existing device even if you don’t share with others.
And come to think of it, it’s not so bad living amongst PC users. These forms of storage may seem archaic to those who rely on the cloud to store, share, and exchange information, but they are still superior and are sometimes preferred over the cloud. Consider situations where you don’t have Internet access, either WiFi or mobile broadband off of your carrier’s data network, or if you’re in a meeting with friends or colleagues and both of you are using mobile devices but need to look up a backup on a thumb drive.
Still, a simpler use would be that we are all suffering from information overload and need a way to manage that. iPhone users must choose on the day that they decide to buy their phones how much storage they want–16, 32, or 64 GB are available today–since Apple’s phones do not have a memory card for you to add storage to.
Choose the wrong storage capacity and you’ll live two years full of regrets until your next eligible iPhone upgrade where you won’t be able to download anymore music, purchase anymore movies, or snap anymore photos and post them to Instagram. It’s a tragedy that could either be avoided with a lot of foresight–balancing how much money you want to spend on a phone with how much storage you think you may need–or can be resolved after your device purchase with the MobileLite.
The MobileLite is your personal cloud, a device that allows you to plug in either a SD card or USB storage device and access the device’s content from either an Android smartphone or tablet, or an iPhone or iPad. The MobileLite will create its own WiFi network so it could stream content to your device. You can play videos, stream music, access documents, or view photos using the MobileLite. The best part is that you can connect the MobileLite to a WiFi network through a simple configuration using the free app for your Android or iOS device. This way, you’ll have access to your personal, local cloud, as well as the Internet.
I tested the MobileLite by viewing some saved images I found on Flickr while planning a vacation to Burma on my iPad. Over the holiday weekend, I decided to go to a remote bed and breakfast to relax, and I know I don’t want to be connected to the Internet as it was supposed to be a rest and relaxation getaway. To prepare for the trip, I downloaded some iTunes movies with DRM on my MacBook Pro at home and then I transferred the files to the MobileLite. My connecting to the MobileLite on my iPad mini and going to the browser, rather than the iOS app, and typing in “mobilelite.home,” I was able to stream my Beasts of the Southern Wild iTunes movies with DRM to my iPad mini. The streaming of the 1080p HD video file was flawless and it kept me entertained on my getaway without wasting storage on my tablet.
Though this may seem like a convoluted way of doing things, it does solve several key problems with large movie files. I’ve resolved any storage concerns, won’t have to find a WiFi hotspot or waste data on a mobile network trying to download a 4 GB HD video file, and can stream to multiple devices if I have kids with post-PC devices as well.
The MobileLite retails for about $60 right now and is a great companion to mobile devices as it allows you save on storage on your device and expand your device’s storage capacity endlessly through multiple memory cards or USB drives. Best if all, it has a built-in battery that can give your device a charge if your phone or tablet runs low. All in all, it’s a simple way to augment your storage need in a cost-effective way.