By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Las Vegas – Seagate will introduce a new portable wireless storage device and a next generation network attached storage unit.
The Seagate Wireless Plus is a 1TB portable storage drive that connects to other mobile devices via Wi-Fi and USB cable enabling them to stream stored video and music. The Wireless Plus, now shipping with a $199 price tag, replaces the company’s Go Flex Satellite wireless drive, which will sell through and then be discontinued.
The second product is the Seagate Central. This is a network attached storage device that will ship in February in 2TB, 3TB and 4TB storage capacities. Pricing will be $149, $179 and $229, respectively. The Central replaces the Go Flex Home, which is being discontinued.
The Wireless Plus incorporates several improvements over its predecessor, said Greg Falgiano, Seagate’s product marketing manager.
The first is a doubling of its battery life to about 10 hours, or enough to match that of a typical tablet, he said. It can now also accept video stream from a wireless device, whereas the older product could only push content downstream to the tablet or smartphone.
The overall design has been altered to include a slimmer chassis, a tougher aluminum case and a sensor that will notice when the drive is dropped and ensure the data’s safety. In addition, at 1TB it has twice the storage capacity.
The device supports Airplay and is DLNA certified so it can work with most CE devices found in a home, Falgiano said.
Despite having a similar product already on the market, Falgiano said Seagate is still focusing on developing this new product category. The target audience is a person with an established digital media library that is stored on a NAS-type device. He admitted the market is still very small, perhaps half a percent of the overall market, but as people gain comfort with this technology it will grow.
Seagate also has several new apps to make it easier for user to access their date from a smartphone, tablet or laptop while outside their home.
The Seagate Central represents the company’s latest attempt to create a NAS device for the masses. Falgiano said the concept was to make “friendly storage” that not only did not intimidate consumers, but provided some enjoyment.
Encouraging people to make the leap from using basic external hard drives, DVDs and even flash drives to back up their data has proven difficult. NAS devices now have a 10 percent home penetration rate, while about 37 percent of consumers own an external hard drive. Falgiano said few external drive owners are moving along to NAS, but instead buy more external drives when more space is needed.
“We found people had multiple external hard drives, but had not gotten into NAS. So we are promoting this as a way to take the content from all your other sources and back it up to one device that can be accessed anywhere,” Falgiano said.
To help people take a chance on this category Seagate is dropping the acronym NAS from the product description to make it sound more user friendly. The company has also decided not to describe it as a “personal cloud” device. Falgiano said people in focus groups became quite agitated at the thought of their data possibly residing someplace unsafe. Even when told their data would be in their home, the world “Cloud” was turned them off to the product.
However, the phrase “remote access” seemed to resonate with people so Seagate decided to emphasize this feature.
The most noticeable change from the old GoFlex Home is it now sits horizontally instead of on its end. Falgiano said this will help it fit into a home’s entertainment center, where many people tend to keep their routers.
On the technical side the Central has dual core processors and 256MB of memory, and it utilizes the same apps as the portable drive so consumers can access their data from outside the home.
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