Back to the Backers: Neobase networked hard drive and personal cloud base station

After failing to reach their Kickstarter goal of raising $100,000 last year, the makers of Neobase are now selling the networked hard drive/personal cloud base station direct to consumers via their own website.

patent-claimedNeobase is a private hub that enables users to securely share photos, videos, chatting, written documents and other content with only their family and friends. All the information is secured locally on the device in the user’s home. It ships Dec. 24 and carries a price of $249, although it’s being offered now at the introductory price of $199.

The patent-pending Neobase may be a good solution for some consumers who are overly cautious about privacy and security concerns related to social networks and cloud storage services. It’s hard to tell for certain, however, just how secure Neobase is based on the website’s claims alone. Neobase’s makers, on the other hand, have made one welcome change from their original plans: there is no longer a limit of five accounts for each unit. Users can now create as many additional accounts for family and friends as they want, according to the Web site. But the experience of shared users may be impacted by their upstream bandwidth, the device’s makers warn. Each additional user also requires part of the drive to be set aside for those extra people, eating up some of the available space on the drive. That, however, shouldn’t be much of an issue because Neobase ships with 1 TB of space.



KUFF is tough, lets you wear your files where you flex

With mounting concerns about privacy in the cloud, many people are going back to hard, physical storage to make sure their information is safe. While traditional USB sticks are portable, most of the time they’re flimsy. While hard drives can store tons of data, they usually aren’t portable and are prone to breaking down sooner or later. The creator behind KUFF is looking to perfect a product that features the best of both worlds.

Kuff is a wearable solid state storage that is worn around the wrist and features capacities from 16GB all the way to a whopping 1TB. An LED is planned for presenting custom information with the help of a developer SDK,. Although the Kickstarter campaign isn’t addressing the product’s clunkiness, it aims to fund the display along with wireless charging. Other features on the docket include connectivity with Bluetooth 4.0, iOS and Android companion apps, USB 3.0, and waterproofing using a nanocoating.

If the creator can put KUFF on a diet, get wireless connectivity and charging down, and continue marketing to media professionals and the DJ circuit, he may have a winner — he’ll just need to hit his goal of $21,000 to find out. One of these wearable storage devices will set backers back $110 with estimated delivery in December 2014.


Pixxio home network drive lets you store, share all your digital stuff

The Premise. Media professionals in all sorts of industries are routinely inundated with tons of files from their many projects. This overwhelms either their desk with a mountain of unorganized hard drives, or their wallets with crazy expensive computers or storage solutions that are more complicated than they’re worth.

The Product. The team at is presenting their product, the aptly named box, as the solution to these woes. The relatively pint-sized box packs a serious punch, housing a quad core Intel Celeron J1900 processing running two mirrored 1TB HDDs at 2.42GHz. What exactly is that power for? It’s so that you won’t ever have to worry about processing large batches of media files at once using their proprietary media management software, which directly converts high resolution files into small JPG copies for you to work on. Optimized for images and graphic files, you can quickly share those files with others, adding watermarks, adjusting resolution, or setting restrictions or expiration dates before you do. It’s also possible to integrate galleries onto a website and even collect files via e-mail or Web upload — all need to do is connect it to your network and it’s able to be used with any device.

The Pitch. The campaign’s two videos are slickly made and cover the product’s general use and more specific capabilities, respectively. The campaign’s textual information clearly informs you of each of the features the box has, is accompanied by a massive FAQ section that leaves you with no doubts, and even comes translated in German.

The Perks. The early bird special for €449 EUR for a single unit saves backers some moola, while the opportunity to nab a box for the slightly higher premium of €569 EUR. If that too passes you by, drink away the regret with a trip to Germany to celebrate Oktoberfest with the team and save all the pictures to your brand new box for a cool €2,999 EUR.

The Potential. The box is a very full featured product with a user-friendly bent that will attract all manner of interested parties. A standard user’s vacation photos, family events, and everyday happenings will all find their way onto the product easily, while professionals will applaud the ease in which the automates many common necessities. Although devices like the MBLOK offer a level of portability along with the capabilities of wireless transfer offered by the box, the product’s biggest differentiator is the way in which it handles its files — even some of the best prosumer NAS units don’t offer this level of specification towards files. If potential backers can look past the box’s lack of customization options, true memory expansion, or more enterprise-level features, then this might be their cup of tea.

Tech Accessories

Hitchhiker sticks an external hard drive somewhere where it won’t be seen

Having enough storage for all the necessary programs, files, and downloads that a project may entail can be difficult with a laptop. External hard drives fix the problem, but are bulky and take up space. Now, Hitchhiker is putting a stop to both of these problems. At its core, Hitchhiker is a 1TB USB external hard drive that can be connected to any computer or even an Xbox One console. In order to keep it handy and save space, the Hitchhiker has a housing that can be attached to the device itself, and then it snaps into place with a locking plate.

Just the housing is also available for those that don’t need to replace their existing external hard drive, making it easier to take their files with them wherever they go. The inventors at Deenosaur are out to raise $78,000 to make Hitchhiker a viable commercial product. Getting the Hitchhiker with the hard drive will cost backers $79, and will be out in April 2015. Most devices come with enough storage now to circumvent the need for external drives, and if drives are needed, they’re often so small as to stay out of the way. But if buyers are particularly anal about their desk space, Hitchhiker could be one way to fix that problem for good.

Connected Objects Maker/Development Video

Slice looks to stay a cut above other living room media players

The Premise. Internet streaming devices such as Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV offer convenient streaming of movies and music on demand to your living room. Some streaming devices can play back media on a hard drive, but they’re not optimized for large personal libraries of video files and other media.

The Product. Slice is a hard drive-based media player designed to be snappy and easy to use. It’s a minimally designed black box outfitted with an array of usual ports along with a customizable LED ring that changes color depending on its current action. This adds a unique aesthetic twist to an otherwise unassuming design. It also ships with a custom-made RF remote, giving you the flexibility to be anywhere in your home and still command Slice.

The Pitch. The team behind Slice, Five Ninjas, does a great job concisely explaining such a versatile product. The campaign features a general overview video and a video walkthrough of Slice’s interface. Easy-to-digest lists and diagrams explain the nuances of the product, and there’s a pretty robust FAQ section that actually answers many common questions. Stretch goals have included Wi-Fi, an app to control the LEDs, a bigger hard drive, a thinner design with an extra USB port, and color options.

The Perks. Slice comes in two flavors. A diskless version is expected to ship in November 2014 with a contribution of £129 . A fully loaded version requires a contribution of £169 and should ship in December.

The Potential. The market has voted in favor of less expensive media streamers that deliver movies from services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Indeed Five Ninjas’ Web site laments the loss of the original Apple TV, which stored movies on a hard drive. Western Digital has probably had the most success with its hard drive-focused living room media player since then — including one that had a built-in hard drive —  but that hasn’t seen an update for a while. One of the the product’s biggest draws besides its simplicity is its openness. Since it’s built atop a Raspberry Pi and uses the XMBC software, Slice is open and hackable, allowing more creative technical individuals to do pretty much whatever they’d like that’s within the device’s capabilities. Slice will have the most appeal to those who have large collections of movies that lack copy protection or who like a bit of a light show with their home video entertainment.

Cell Phone Accessories Tech Accessories

MBLOK is a tiny cube of connected storage for mobile devices

The Premise. File storage is something one can never have enough of. Whether it’s for music on the go, apps, or taking extensive photos and videos, it’s important to know that running out of room is never a concern for any device.

The Product.  Fitting in the palm of a hand and offering up to 256GB of storage, the MBLOK is a portable storage device that can sync to any device using a traditional fold-out USB connection or via Bluetooth. The USB port is also used to charge the device’s 300-hour battery, while still allowing it to transfer files. Files can be moved at speeds up to 24 Mbit/s and can store any kind of files to be moved from phone to PC, or tablet to tablet, all wirelessly.

The Pitch. The MBLOK’s campaign mirrors the device itself: urban, fast-moving, stylish. The man-on-the-street interviews with people about the device paint a common picture of a device that is portable, useful, and attractive. MBLOK creators Kwelea Inc. are looking for $120,000 CAD to produce components and give the storage an interface for iOS and Android devices. Numerous stretch goals are offered to provide native audio and video output at $300,000, and official support for many more devices after that: $500,000 for Blackberry, $700,000 for Windows, $900,000 for the Pebble watch, $1,100,000 for Kindle Fire HD, and $1,300,000 for the Neptune watch. At $1,500,000, a final stretch goal is unlocked to create a smart shuffle algorithm for playing music through the MBLOK.

The Perks. A 128GB MBLOK is available in either emerald green or sapphire blue for $189 CAD.  The 256GB model will cost backers a pledge of $279 CAD. A stylish wood-faced model is only for those who kick in $499 CAD to the campaign. All rewards will ship out in January 2015.

The Potential. This is the natural evolution of the thumb drive — something pocket-sized that can easily share files between any USB or Bluetooth device without the need for complex bridges or file sharing setups. MBLOK isn’t the first to attempt this, with storage big shots like Kingston and Seagate offering the Wi-Drive and Wireless Plus devices in the market already, but MBLOK looks like the first to do so via Bluetooth, offering a week of battery life as opposed to the mere hours offered by the competition. Add to that the even smaller body and the MBLOK looks like a great way to move files around painlessly and easily across any compatible devices.

Organization Tech Accessories

Datainer modular storage organizes archived flash cards, hard drives

datainerEven with solid state drives and cloud-based services storing files without taking up space, organizing and preserving old hard drives can be precarious and awkward. The translucent tome-like Datainer line of products is designed to give these drives a safe, neatly organized home for a company’s or professional’s long-term storage and access. Using a modular design, Datainer organizes both 3.5” and 2.5” drives, as well as SD cards, flash drives, and other handheld storage. While supports can make a mix-and-match Datainer system, a $20 pledge is enough for two DataMates (3.5” HDD), a Twin25 Module (2 2.5” HDD), a DataBase Anti-Slip Mat, and a FlashBox Module that can store 35 flash cards, all to be shipped in June 2014.