Pogoplug Mobile (hands-on)

 

The cloud is huge (well, infinite, really), and everybody wants their piece. Pogoplug has been a playersince the beginning, albeit with a somewhat convoluted setup process, so it’s no surprise that the drive-to-web plug appliance company is ready to push out a smartphone-friendly version. Pogoplug Mobile, as it’s to be known, brings much of its big brother’s functionality (you won’t be able to “mount” remote drives) to smartphones, tablets, and dedicated desktop apps. Want to load some photos from your 4 terabyte hard drive in San Fran while you’re on the subway in Tokyo? Simply launch an app, sign in with the username and password you registered during the seconds-long setup process, and you’re on your way. You can even email photos (links to images on your remote drive — you won’t be using data), post them to social networking sites, or transfer new ones that you shot with the phone. The concept is certainly familiar, but we got to take a look at Pogoplug’s interpretation at IFA in Berlin. Jump past the break to see what we thought.

The first thing you’ll probably notice is that this Pogoplug isn’t a plug at all, much like the Pro. Instead, it’s a standalone device (similar in size, though not in shape to the latest-gen Apple TV), with external power adapter and all. There’s an Ethernet port, along with a pair of USB ports (one can be used to connect a WiFi dongle, though you won’t find it in the box). External design obviously isn’t all that critical, since you’ll (hopefully) never see the device again once it’s all set up. Inner beauty is what we’re looking for here, and in our somewhat limited time with the Mobile, the interface looked to be fast, intuitive, and efficient.

While the original Pogoplug is marketed towards power users, the Mobile model has cloud newbies in mind, providing a dead-simple setup process and mobile interface. There are mobile apps for Android and iOS, and Mac and Windows desktop apps as well. You can access all of your files — from MP3s to PDFs to proprietary doc formats — remotely. Compatible media can be viewed with the app, while more obscure files can be downloaded, posted online or emailed. You can read Microsoft Office files, but you’ll need a desktop app to edit them, then save changes to the cloud — sadly there’s no-file-too-obscure magic editor. We accessed a remote Mobile during our IFA demo, and images appeared almost instantly, likely because the Pogoplug automatically creates all the necessary thumbnails whenever you add an image, so original photos aren’t sent — unless you choose to download them, of course.

There’s certainly nothing groundbreaking here, though this is definitely a logical next step for Pogo. But if you already have the storage and really want the cloud (including a way to access files from your mobile devices), the $79 Pogoplug Mobile will be ready to join your interconnected arsenal on October 1st.

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