Wireless-enabled USB sticks come to the rescue of storage-challenged phones and tablets
Bangalore, September 21 2015: A 'housefull' sign is great for cinema theatres, but bad news for owners of smartphones whose makers didn't bother to provide a slot to add more storage.
Sadly, many of the biggest brands suffer from this infirmity or arrogance -- all of Apple's iPhones, Samsung's Galaxy S series, Google's Nexus, Xiaomi's flagship Mi phones. These makers want to push you towards cloud storage services, which pretty soon, move from free to fee.
What if you don't want to be pushed? What if you want to own one of these fancy phones but stiil avoid that sinking feeling when you want to shoot that great video or photo -- and your own-board storage is full? Some of these no-memory-expansion phones have built in storage of just 16 GB!
That is why I think the new SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick is an idea whose time has come. It takes its own range of USB flash memory sticks and 'unwires' it -- allowing users to share its content with other platforms -- phones, tablets, PCs without a direct connection, using the WiFi 'N' channel. And unlike the first generation of wireless external hard drives and flash drives, it doesn't send you looking for a WiFi hotspot: it creates its own!
The Connect stick works with a free SanDisk app of the same name. Install the Android or iOS app on your phone or tablet -- and you can directly play videos, look at photos or read documents or presentations stored on the stick. In fact, you can stream content to three devices at the same time. One useful element in the app is the tool that lets you back up all the photos in your digital camera.
It works the other way too: Download a movie or an office file on you phone -- but save it wirelessly on the Connect stick rather than using up the scarce real estate on your device.
Of course, being an USB stick, you can always stick it into your device directly -- or use an OnTheGo micro USB cable -- to transfer files to and fro. I thought SanDisk would go for the latest USB 3.0 standard which is just making its appearance on laptops and tablets and transfers data at 10 times the speed of USB 2. But they have stuck to USB 2 -- just as the built-in wireless is up to 802.11 "N" rather than the newer and faster 'AC" standard. But you will find hardly any USB 3 and WiFi AC devices on the ground today which is why, I'm guessing SanDisk has decided to keep down the cost for now. The stick is hardly bigger than a standard USB flash drive and comes in four capacities 16 GB (Rs 2790), 32 GB(Rs 3790), 64 GB ( Rs 5470) and 128 GB ( Rs 9490).
In the week that I have been trying it out, the Connect stick has proved to be a dinky little tool and one that compulsive down loaders on phone or tablet will rate a 'must have' accessory. - Anand Parthasarathy