Earlier this year, Erica Sadun and I tested a new idea for creating a personal cloud -- the Transporter from Connected Data. At the time, we weren't all that impressed with the device or its user interface. Our big complaint was that the software was quite confusing, requiring access to both a local app and a web interface to accomplish certain tasks. When compared to the ease of use of Dropbox, Transporter seemed like a total hassle to use. Well, Connected Data went back to the drawing board and today announced both a new device -- Transporter Sync (US$99) -- and a much more Dropbox-oriented solution to a personal cloud.
The idea of Transporter is that you can create your own "cloud" by taking network-attached storage and syncing it with similar units at the office, at a relative's home, or basically anywhere else offsite. The files are available from any connected device, whether it's an iPhone, a Mac or a PC, and the syncing capability provides offsite storage. The original Transporter unit included a built-in 1 TB or 2 TB drive, while the new Transporter Sync unit lets you use any external drive. Considering that new 4 TB bare drives are available for as little as $150, this means that for $249 you can have a good amount of cloud storage with no monthly or annual fee. By comparison, if you want just 500 GB of Dropbox storage, you're going to be billed $499 annually.
The Transporter Sync is a tiny little device, but with the availability of inexpensive external disk drives, it can provide a mountain of storage in the cloud. The device is a small, truncated cone with a power connection, a USB 2.0 connector and an Ethernet connector. Plug it into power, connect it to your USB 3.0 or 2.0 external disk drive, and then connect it to your router, and you're ready to share your data securely while you're on the road and sync with another Transporter Sync remotely for cloud backup. I'm wondering why Connected Data chose to go with the slower USB 2.0 port, but it could be that the network connection is the real bottleneck to throughput, not the connection to the drive.
Connected Data, which recently merged with big storage provider Drobo, sees a big future for this small device. The company notes that the average household now has about 2.2 TB of content -- music, videos, apps, documents, etc. -- and surveys show that most would be happy to spend about $200 per year to protect that data.
For Dropbox users, you'll be happy to know that you can use Dropbox and the Transporter Sync simultaneously and that the user interface on the Mac is almost identical to what you see with Dropbox:
On an iPad or Android tablet, you'll see a simple representation of the files that are being shared in the cloud:
All in all, it appears that Connected Data really listened to the feedback that they received from both the tech press and from early adopters who backed the company's Kickstarter funding project. We look forward to testing the Transporter Sync soon, and will provide readers with our assessment of how the new device and software work.
Transporter Delivers First Unlimited, Private Cloud Storage Device for All of Your Photos, Music, Movies and Documents
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Oct. 29, 2013 – When it comes to digital data, nothing is more important to consumers than their photos, videos and personal documents. Keeping them safe, easily accessible from every device, or sharing them with family and friends has always been an expensive and complicated proposition. Until now.
Just in time for the holidays comes Transporter Sync, a new and simple way to sync, access, protect and share everything important. The latest addition to the award-winning Transporter family of private cloud storage products, Transporter Sync automatically synchronizes data across your phones, tablets and computers. Now photos, videos, documents, music and more can live in your own protected, completely private cloud for a one time cost of $99 USD – with none of the recurring fees associated with expensive, subscriber-based services. Free iPhone, iPad and Android apps make on-the-go access easier than ever.
"Families and businesses are finding it more and more difficult to synchronize data across all of their computers and mobile devices," said Geoff Barrall, CEO and Founder of Connected Data. "With Transporter Sync, we provide an affordable and simple way for them to protect, share and access what matters most, with total privacy, a low one-time price and no hidden monthly fees."
Transporter Sync allows users to access their data from all their devices without moving it to the public cloud. This ensures that everything on Transporter Sync is protected and private giving them full control over who has access to family photos and personal videos. It can be used as a stand-alone device, or together with other Transporters to form a powerful private network.
"Millions of consumers enjoy the conveniences of the cloud, but stop short of using it for everything, because of factors such as cost and privacy," said Tom Coughlin, President of Analyst and Consulting firm, Coughlin Associates. "Transporter Sync creates a new model to deliver the promise of 'everything, everywhere' cloud storage without monthly fees, while providing this universal access in a private and secure environment."
Retailing for $99 USD and without monthly fees, Transporter Sync works with any standard USB external hard drive. Available from Connected Data, Amazon, B&H Photo and Newegg in time for the upcoming holiday season, Sync is the perfect gift for everyone on your list.
About Connected Data
Connected Data is focused on providing elegantly designed solutions for consumers, professionals, and small businesses to privately share, access, and protect their data. The Connected Data team consists of the same professionals responsible for the popular Drobo storage array and the creation of the high performance BlueArc Silicon Server. Connected Data is privately funded and based in San Jose, California. For more information, visit www.connecteddata.com.