Personal Clouds On The Rise
The news in NASes focused on making them friendlier, taking business away from cloud storage companies and providing tablet and smartphone-toting youngsters with enough movies and music to keep them quiet on long trips.
It will be interesting to see if Seagate's Central Shared Storage gets some traction with consumers. Seagate has done a nice job with prettying up its interface and simplifying installation and remote (cloud) connectivity. It looks like a set top box, is quiet enough to be welcome on your TV stand or media center shelf and even has an app that adds an easy-to-navigate interface to Samsung Smart TVs.
Seagate Central Shared Storage
2013 should see NAS makers, who already haven't, get their act together on making their "personal cloud" features your-Mom-could-do-it simple to set up and use. No reliance on port forwarding (automatic UPnP or manual), no messing with setting up dynamic DNS and no CD-based installation.
With upstream bandwidth provided by ISPs lagging far behind the growth in family storage needs, NAS makers have figured out that most folks won't be uploading much to their or anyone else's cloud. Most data will stay on the home NAS and be accessed when needed by apps or via web portals.
Wi-Fi Storage Sharers
We should also be seeing more options in compact, battery-powered Wi-Fi connected storage. Seagate had enough success with its Satellite mobile drive that it introduced its second generation Wireless Plus with longer battery life, twice the capacity and improved apps. And even HP decided to see if it can get some action with its Pocket Playlist that starts shipping next month.
HP Pocket Playlist
These compact beasties are being pitched primarily for media storage and streaming to mobile devices. But they can also be used for on-the-go Wi-Fi enabled camera backup or plain old data storage duties. Some will even let you use their internal batteries to charge other devices via USB, as D-Link's new DIR-508L SharePort Go II does.
Not all of these devices will be hard-drive based. Kingston was handing out to journalists "beta" copies of a device that wirelessly shares SD cards and USB flash drives. I also came across Hyper's booth in the even-larger iLounge area in the North Hall. They were showing three new wireless storage sharers, only one of which can hold a hard drive.
Hyper iUSBport mini, HD and port2
And to confirm that even more wireless sharers will be coming, I stumbled across an OEM/ODM's booth in the International Gateway area. I saw just about every combination of Wi-Fi enabled sharer you can come up with and I'm sure they could make more combinations if you came up with a big enough order.