Cloud storage and backup company iDrive today launched its first hardware product sold directly to consumers and businesses, with the debut of the new iDrive Wi-Fi. The encrypted external drive offers either 1 TB or 2 TB in storage space and, as the name implies, includes wireless connectivity. This allows customers to back up their computers and mobile devices more quickly over their secure, local connection.
The benefit to backing up locally is that the process can complete much faster, because of proximity, while cloud backups are dependent on your internet connect speeds.
“This is a great device for mobile users who constantly run out of storage space – they can easily clear out space on their phones with backing it up locally and do it fast,” the company tells us.
One of the potentially better use cases for the product could be the ability to back up a smartphone’s photos and other data from the accompanying iDrive mobile application with just a tap. Users can also choose to back up their data to iDrive’s cloud from this app as well, if they prefer. While there are clearly a number of competing cloud storage services on the market today, including big names like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and Dropbox, iDrive’s differentiating feature across its product line is its ability to also restore the data you’ve backed up previously in the case of accidental deletion or when moving to a new device. That has made the service something of a handy utility when switching phones, for example.
Many apps, including Amazon Cloud Drive Photos, Dropbox, Google+ and Flickr offer automatic photo and/or video uploads today, but iDrive also backs up your contacts and calendar, making it a more complete solution.
In the past, I’ve personally found the iDrive mobile application lacking the polish of other apps, but it has improved over the years. The newest release is a bit better looking at least, though subjects users to ads for upgraded services right on the app’s main screen.
The new iDrive Wi-Fi hard drives include 256-AES encryption with an optional private key, a USB 3.0 interface and cable, wall charger, cross-platform compatibility allowing them to work with PC, Mac, Android and iOS devices, and support backing up an unlimited number of devices from a single drive.
The drives also come with a one-year subscription to iDrive’s cloud backup solution, which means these are not really just hardware devices – it’s subscription-based software sold via hardware devices, which is an interesting angle. Of course, continuing to subscribe when the year concludes is up to the customer. The advantage of putting the data in the cloud means that your data is backed up in more than one place, however, and you could continue to use the drives indefinitely by clearing space on them when they reached capacity, as your data would already be in the cloud.
The 1 TB iDrive Wifi is $99.99 and the 2 TB iDrive Wifi is $149.99, with both prices including the subscription service.