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The local hotspot has suddenly become crowded

Last updated on June 17, 2020

In the early days, the three main battery-powered local wireless drives with integrated hotspots were from AirStash, Kingston (WiDrive) and Seagate (the Wireless Plus, nee GoFlex Satellite). And they all nicely fit a market requirement. The AirStash had the flexibility of using SD cards, the WiDrive had integrated flash, and the Seagate product used, unsurprisingly, hard drives for the largest capacity.

Now, however, it seems everyone is jumping in. SanDisk launched a pair of products as did Macally (including one that can accommodate a 2.5″ hard drive or SSD). Kingston introduced a companion to the WiDrive with the pretty obscure name MobileLite. And we recently saw Escort — yes, the radar detector guys — just released its own SD-based model called the MediaFlair complete with a stylized logo that highlights the “air” in the name.

One interesting aspect of these products is that, like their portable cousins, mobile hotspots, they should be able to be handled by a phone app. Of course, phones are often thought of as clients for these kinds of products, but then again some of them (from AirStash, MacAlly and SanDisk) utilize memory cards, and so can phones. The key would be making what’s on those cards more easily shareable, perhaps by making a folder optionally shareable through the personal hotspot feature..