Kingston's Wi-Drive led the innovations at Digital Summer, writes Hugh John
Kingston has enough digital goodies to hook any gizmologist. But the undoubted star of company’s stand at the recent Digital Summer PR event (see "Digital Summer hot for latest gizmos") was a small, black obelisk-like object barely 9 centimetres thick and slightly smaller than an iPod touch – the Wi-Drive.
The Wi-Drive is a portable, battery-driven unit that creates its own Wi-Fi network to transmit and receive data to and from mobile devices. Initially intended for Apple iOS users who are unable, for example, to swap memory cards in and out of their phones, iPads or iPods, the Wi-Drive can now be used with virtually any device that can receive Wi-Fi (16, 32 and 64Gb models are available).
Operation couldn’t be simpler. Set the Wi-Drive to transmit and set your device to accept Wi-Fi. Select Wi-Drive on your device and you’re up and running. The battery life is estimated at eight hours and, a neat touch this, Wi-Drive can beam to two different outputs so you could be streaming two different video files to two different recipients.
There are obvious clever uses here for education. These devices are very useful for groups using mobile devices like iPads or Galaxy Tabs. They can be used to disseminate all sorts of resources to teachers and students, and to collect and save materials they have created.
They can also provide a bridge to other wireless networks so, theoretically, a group of students could access materials on a Wi-Drive via their own school network or the network in any other learning centre they might be using.
Kingston was also showing its comprehensive range of memory cards, USB sticks and SSD drives. As one of the pioneers of SSD technology it has demonstrated these superfast, supremely reliable drives for a number of years but the general consensus in the tech community seemed to be that prices were still prohibitive and cost outweighed the obvious attractions.
No longer. The ‘budget’ range of Kingston SSD drives introduced this year may well be the tipping point in the migration from spinning disk to solid state, and the fact that Kingston’s tag line for its entry level range SSD Now is “achieve the perfect balance between performance and affordability” suggests that the company is aware of the consumer’s predicament.The cheapest price I could find for the 480gb version was on Amazon at £320. Still more expensive than the ‘normal’ hard disk drive but significantly cheaper than a year ago.
USB sticks were also on display from the level entry Datatraveler range (compact, capless, aluminium sticks, reasonably priced) to the leading-edge, ruggedised Hyper X drives in their eye-catching blue and dark grey livery and with huge storage capacities - 64, 128 and 256 GB - and wallet draining prices to match (from £60 upwards). Mind you, it’s doubtful there’s anything on the market that utilises the new USB 3 standard quite so effectively. If blisteringly fast transfer of large video or image files is an important part of your working life then HyperX might be what you’re looking for.