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Imation ships wirelessly-connected hard drive

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Imation has announced its external hard drive that connects by wireless USB to PCs and Macs is now shipping.

The Pro WX Wireless USB hard drive comes in a 3.5in form-factor and holds up to 1.5TB of data. It is based on Imation's Apollo external hard drive platform fitted with a USB wireless facility that talks on a one-to-one basis to a receiver that plugs into a desktop or notebook PC or Mac's USB port.

The link operates at USB 2.0 level but does so relatively slowly, running at 15MB/s. An Apple wireless-connected Time Capsule transfers data at a comparable speed, although reviewers have found speed drops off with distance.

Time Capsule uses 802.11n Wi-Fi not Wireless USB. It is a router as well and is often used as a networked device to share files between several hosts, whereas the Pro WX is definitely not networked, being used on a one to one basis with its host.

Pro WX comes with Memeo Instant Backup software which, for Windows hosts but not Mac ones - unless it runs in a virtual Windows machine - can automatically backup users' data and synch it. Imation doesn't say the basic product works with Apple's Time Machine backup facility, but there's no reason to suppose it won't.

The Windows need to logically disconnect USB-connected external drives before physically disconnecting them is avoided because the Pro WX receiver is plugged into the host's USB socket and the Pro WX drive itself. When the device comes within the 30ft range of the receiver it is automatically detected and backup starts.

Although the product dispenses with the USB data cable, it still needs its own power cable - Imation's USB wireless not being able, like USB wire, to deliver power to an external device.

The 1.5TB Pro WX price is $499, which looks a little pricey for Mac users as they can get a wirelessly-connected 2TB Time Capsule for $499. ®

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