With modern smartphones, just about every type of data is backed up automatically, from photos to contacts to notes. But they are backed up to cloud services, such as Google or iCloud, which creates a privacy concern for those who are not comfortable giving a company access to their personal data. So how does one balance privacy and functionality? A new device from Toshiba may be the answer.
The device, which does not yet have a name, is a small flat circle that will connect to your smartphone via USB. It will have the capability to charge your smartphone and backup data, with a maximum capacity of 500 GB. Nothing takes place over the internet, all data is transferred via the USB cable, in a similar manner to a backup drive that would connect to a PC. This may not be quite as practical as cloud-based backups, which occur continuously and automatically, but it will backup data in a secure manner with minimal interaction for those who are not fond of using cloud services. It would be an ideal solution for those with privacy concerns, particularly in light of recent security breaches of cloud services, such as an exploit that affected 68 million Dropbox users. The device will also be capable of transferring data to a new smartphone, which could simplify the process of upgrading to a new model. It will work in conjunction with its companion mobile app, which will presumably automate the backup process once the device has been physically connected. Upon release, the device will be compatible only with Android devices, but may gain iPhone support later down the road.
There is no release date for the product just yet, as it is still a work in progress. While Toshiba's storage device is still in development and some details are unknown at this point, Toshiba's product manager for hard disks, Eun-Kyung Hong has provided some idea of what to expect in terms of pricing, stating that the new device will cost slightly more than a 500 GB portable hard drive. Based on the pricing of other Toshiba products, this may be around $60-$70. Many consumers will likely consider this a small price to pay for the peace of mind to know that their data is backed up without having to worry about threats the potential to privacy that come along with cloud storage.