CES 2012 is all about ultrabooks. Last year, CES was all about tablets. Before that, CES was all about smartphones. Notice a theme? No optical drives. We're not done with optical media forever (even if we might want to be), and Samsung has come to the rescue with an external optical drive that can work with anything.
Samsung's Portable Optical Disc Drive (PODD for short) is just like any other external drive, except that you don't have to plug it into your computer. Instead, it acts like a Wi-Fi hotspot, pumping that old and dusty CD or DVD data out into the air and straight to any device that wants it without drive bays or cables or anything. If you've got your own network, the PODD can stream to anything that's connected (phones, tablets, etc.), and if you're out in the woods alone with your collection of scary movies, the PODD will make its own network to let you access your stuff.
But wait! There's more! Out on the road and leave your PODD at home? No problem, you can even access it remotely, if for some reason you're in need of remote access to optical media. You can also plug a disk drive into it (like USB drive or something) and have access to that, too.
The PODD is certainly aiming for a niche, here, but if you're an early adopter who's stuck with a whole bunch of DVDs along with all the latest cellphones and tablets and such, this could be a way for you to get access to all of that media you're probably not missing. Samsung says that its PODD will definitely be availble sometime between soon and less soon, for somewhere between $1 and $1,000. Not helpful, I know, but that's the best that Samsung could do.
Posted on location at CES 2012 in Las Vegas. All photos by Evan Ackerman for DVICE.