Seagate's mobile 4G wireless storage is a hefty little metal sandwich made up of a Verizon 4G modem equipped with a Wi-Fi hotspot a 500 gig HD, and a battery. You and your friends can tether your mobile devices to the drive over Wi-Fi and stream media (including HD movies) to your heart's content.
The 4G connection also gives the drive the ability to grab your media from the cloud, while acting as a mobile Internet hotspot at the same time.
While Seagate is actively collaborating with Verizon on this, it's still just a functional concept, and Seagate says there's no set production or availability date. It's a cool idea, for sure, but my only concern here is that next year, Seagate will add a little display to the top. And the year after that, it'll be a pull-out keyboard with a trackpad, and you'll suddenly find yourself with a strange little laptop instead of a fancy hard drive.
Meanwhile, if you've got one of the original Wi-Fi Satellite drives, Seagate has been working on a tasty little firmware update that will allow for you to access Wi-Fi Internet through the Wi-Fi of the drive itself, passing the connection straight through instead of forcing you to chose to be connected to one or the other and incidentally creating a hotspot at the same time. Also coming down the firmware pipe is an update that can buffer entire movies to your mobile device all at once, potentially boosting the battery life of the drive to ten hours.
Lastly, Seagate has updated their GoFlex modular drive connectors with a Thunderbolt option, making it super easy to Thunderboltize your existing HD. If you're not familiar with the GoFlex drives, they've got swappable interfaces, meaning that you can switch one drive around between USB and Firewire and Thunderbolt by simply swapping a connector. The new Thunderbolt connector is so huge because there are all kinds of chips and stuff in there, doing all of the hard work that's required to make a drive Thunderbolt-ready. You're still stuck buying your Thunderbolt cables from Apple, but you can expect real-world transfer rates of 200 Mbps for around $100.
Posted on location at CES 2012 in Las Vegas. All photos by Evan Ackerman for DVICE.