Somebody needs to invent this storage device

Mon, Jul 5, 2010

I've got this problem. It's a problem which is probably affecting a lot of people out there. It goes something like this:

I have a storage device that I use to watch movies through on my TV. I have a dropbox account. I have my mp3 collection. I have a lot of stuff on my computer which I need to backup. Some of these things I would like to have access to wherever I am. I would like my girlfriend to have access to all or some of those files as well. I would like all of this to work really simply.

The solutions out there

Storage. It's an even lasting problem which a lot of companies out there are trying to solve. There are so many requirements and so many limitations. There are a few solutions out there which are pretty good but they are all tackling a separate problem.
  • Dropbox - great for a few small files on a computer or a mobile device. You can share those files online and you can share some files/folders accross multiple dropbox accounts.
  • TonidoPlug - A small computer which you plug your hard drive to using USB. This actually goes a long way to solving all problems, but it only has a USB plug for one hard drive (which you can probably extend with a USB hub, it can't play back anything, no remote, etc.
  • External hard drives with a network connector / USB port - some of these have media playback features etc. The ones I'm most familiar with are inoi, Play ON, argosy, etc but there are probably other solutions more common in the states, etc.

The storage device of my dreams

These are all great, but they don't solve all my needs. Somebody needs to invent a computer/storage device with the following features:
  1. It has to be a stand alone device - always on - where I don't need to have my computer turned on to use it.
  2. You use it to store all your movies, your mp3 files, your photos, you can use it to back up stuff from your computer.
  3. It has to have a high speed wireless adapter + a LAN connector
  4. Has to be able to play back video and output to TV. It would also be nice if it could play back photo slideshows, play back music to a separate audio output.
  5. Since it's a playback device it has to have a remote. duh.
  6. You'd have access to it anywhere in the world through a web interface.
  7. You could share any file, folder using a URL like you can using dropbox. You could declare it private, public, etc.
  8. It would of course be awesome if you could record your TV broadcast onto the device *and* stream your tv's broadcast to your mobile device through this thing.
  9. It would either have a raid controller with a couple of hard drives, a single hard drive with a slave backup drive or simply a device with multiple USB/eSATA connectors which you could configure to back up automatically from one drive to the other in case of a single drive failure.
It's very possible that these things can all be mixed together using a media playback device, the Tonido Plug and a few external hard drives, but it would be so nice if this thing was available in a single unit. Please god, let this become the future.

The future of storage devices

I'm guessing this is the future and one day this will be in a lot of homes, probably with *all* the features I listed - even though some specifics might change like the way you connect it - it doesn't matter. This is what the future will hold.

It's even very possible that Apple and Google are working on something like that. Apple is setting up a giant cloud facility, so who knows. There's just such an obvious need for this.