Hitachi expands portable storage drives to cloud

Hitachi's new portable storage backs up data on local portable drive and cloud for use by smartphones or tablets

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies on Tuesday introduced new Touro storage offerings that package local and online storage so that data can be accessed locally or through the cloud via smartphones and tablets.

The new Touro Pro line includes portable storage devices for local backup, and free online storage of up to 3GB for cloud backup, Hitachi said in a statement. The company provides applications for data to be backed up simultaneously on both accounts, or to be transported between storage accounts.

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Cloud storage is gaining importance as data such as music and movies is increasingly shared among mobile devices and stationary devices such as PCs. Mobile devices are becoming as powerful as PCs with the ability to play 1080p high-definition videos, but typically have limited storage capabilities.

The devices come with free 3GB of cloud backup, but users can upgrade to 250GB of cloud storage for $49 per year, which also includes iPad and iPhone applications to access data. Data files are stored in their natural format, and are easy to access and share with others via Web browsers through Web links, Hitachi GST said.

The Touro Pro Portable Drive comes with storage of 500GB and 750GB, priced at $109.99 and $129.99, respectively. The disk is speedy, operating at 7,200 rpm and is USB 3.0-capable. The larger Touro Pro External Drive, designed to sit on desktops, come with storage capabilities of between 1TB and 3TB of data, priced between $129.99 and $229.99.

The company also announced lower-end Touro Mobile storage devices, which come with between 320GB and 750GB of storage, and are priced between $79.99 and $119.99. These drives are not available with the cloud storage option.

There are many types of online storage services available. File-hosting services such as Rapidshare, Yousendit, Filesonic, Fileserve, and Megaupload offer limited storage capabilities. Canonical offers 2GB of free storage in its Ubuntu One hosting service, and with a paid service, offers extended storage and iPhone and Android apps from which files can be accessed.

Western Digital in March said it would acquire Hitachi GST for $4.3 billion.

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