New Seagate portable drive backs up smartphones using Wi-Fi

The cloud hasn't won yet

With cloud storage services proliferating and home PCs in decline do backup drives have a future? Seagate thinks it might have one answer: backup for smartphones and tablets at home.

This seems to be a USP for the new Backup Plus Slim portable, which has been designed to allow device users to back up photographs and videos to the drive using a home Wi-Fi connection.

To that end, Seagate supplies a mobile Android or iOS app to control the process, leaving cloud services to take up the slack job while away from base.

"Seven out of every ten pictures captured in 2013 were taken with a smartphone," said Chris Chute of IDC's Worldwide Digital Imaging Practice, quoted by Seagate to back up its use case.

"As a greater portion of our memories are captured by the handheld devices, it becomes increasingly important that these files be backed up either to a cloud service or locally."

This process can already be handled (if enabled) by Google and Apple but Seagate hopes there are still enough consumers who value having a copy of mobile their files while at home.

The drawback of the cloud backup systems offered by mobile platforms such as Google as well as Dropbox is they are tied to one account and access by others has to be enabled one at a time. Using a physical drive inside the router eases security compared to public services.

A supplied software utility can also backup images from Flickr and Facebook.

Beyond that, the Backup Plus Slim remains a USB 3.0 drive available in capacities of 500GB ($99.99), 1TB ($119.99) and 2TB ($179.99, with the latter fitting into a 12.1mm form factor. UK pricing was not available.

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