Imation ships wirelessly-connected hard drive
USB 2.0 wireless
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. ®
So. Who will buy it?
Corporate users: well, not many would want to have that much data floating about that's isolated from the backup strategy. No dice.
Home users: Great! I can turn off that wireless thing on my laptop and backup my machine to this! Providing I don't mind connecting it to the mains first of course. Oh - and staying within 30 feet of it (assuming the odd wall and so on: 15 feet - or roughly the same distance a decent USB2 / Firewire cable can manage).
Until they can squirt the power to it the same way as they do the data, this device remains rather pointless. When they do get the power to it wirelessly and they start selling like hot cakes, I'll be in line for my very own metal-lined hat.
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.
Windows only needs you to logically disconnect mass storage USB devices to make sure it's cover up of real transfer times does not result in data-loss.
You copy some G of data to your USB 2.0 external drive (the usual crapware you attach to your Winedows PeeCee)
Windows reports it needs n seconds/minutes/hours(/days/weeks/months since Vista) to copy a bunch of files. You wait patiently till the process indicator shows completed, the copy window vanishes and you "assume" the copy has been completed ... well, not so ... data is still shipped to the external hard drive. You will get a message in Windows when you try to disconnect the drive logically - the device is in use.
Now, how is that gonna work with this babe? If windows says backup complete, I take the babe out of the 30ft range and re-ghost I can certainly get dataloss when I restore later from backup ...
PS: Who wants this shit? At that price? Come on, even Apple is cheaper and offers <miracle>more features</miracle>!!!!!
The separate PSU...
...would be required anyway, even if it were a traditional connection. It's a 3.5" 1.5Tb drive, which means it's a *desktop* model. No 3.5" external HDD I've ever seen will run without an external PSU, wireless or otherwise.
At that data rate it will only take 100 hours to fill it up (or back it up).
Very useful, I think not!
I totally misread the title and though of wirelessly connected ship-in-a-bottle-styled external HDDs. Thanks goodness nobody has thought of such an abomination. Other than myself now. Arg!