Evidently — much to my chagrin — this trend of creating technology devices with finite storage capabilities is here to stay. My Kindle Fire has 8 GB of memory and not a smidgen more. Because there is no external card slot, there's virtually no way to expand its memory. Same with the iPad; same with the new Google Nexus 7 I just ordered. Perhaps it's true that "enough is as good as a feast," but it seems to me the short history of digital technologies teaches that there is almost never enough storage. Tomorrow's needs will be surely be greater than today's. I know that no matter how much storage is included in the device I purchased today, if it does not include expandable storage through external card slots I will eventually run out of room. Come to think of it, perhaps that's precisely why the manufacturers who understand this principle have decided to eliminate all possibilities of expandable storage.
But then again, if technology is about anything it is about innovation. The memory company Kingston has a clever little device I just learned about called a Wi Drive — I assume pronounced like WHY DRIVE, but I'm not too sure about it. A Wi Drive is an expandable storage space that communicates with your tablet or phone device via Wi-Fi connection — no cumbersome cable connections, no spotty Bluetooth. I love the concept, and the prices appear to be right, too. Amazon has the 32 GB version for less than $90. The 64 GB version is $180 — which for some reason seams excessive to me, but I'm sure would not be for some. There is also a 16GB version for under $50.
Wi Drives are powered devices, so if there's a limitation it might be that they run for only about four hours on a charge. I suppose that's a limitation if you're trying to watch a number of movies on a long flight, but that wouldn't be my use for it. I'm thinking it might be a way to store lots of documents and images that exceed the capacity of my mobile device. I'd then transfer to the mobile device any documents archived on the Wi Drive, but only as I need them. If the Wi Drive can be strategically used to swap in and out whatever content might be needed at the moment, essentially it gives me a way to take lots of content with me even if it's not instantly accessible on my mobile device. For this kind of use, I suspect the 4-hour battery would not be much of a limitation.
What use would this be? Well, I'd love to take my entire LensWork and LensWork Extended library with me wherever I go — but I don't always need every issue available instantaneously. I'd love to be able to take all kinds of images from my personal work and have them at my disposal to show at the drop of a hat. Someone I run into wants to see a portfolio of mine from 10 years ago? No problem, I'd simply transfer it to my tablet and voilá.
As I discussed in this post, I generally only need 10 to 20 GB available instantaneously at any given time — but the ability to carry with me another 32 GB that might be needed only sporadically could be quite handy. I also like the fact that it would be accessible to any of my portable devices, Android or iPad. It's at least worth thinking about and if I take the plunge, I'll keep you posted.
Do any of you have any experience with one? Care to share any hands-on experience?