Toshiba hopes cloudless smartphone backup will have a bright future

Toshiba is showing a prototype smartphone backup station and a new SSD at IFA

What will back up all the data on your smartphone, but doesn't physically exist? No, it's not another cloud backup service, it's the centerpiece of Toshiba Storage Peripherals' booth at IFA.

The as-yet-unnamed (and unfinished) product will be about the size of a small plate, to judge by the prototype in a glass case on the booth. It will have a USB connection to charge your smartphone and back up its contents to an included 500 GB hard disk. There will be no cloud servers involved, and no internet connection needed: Everything will stay inside the device, said Toshiba's product manager for hard disks, Eun-Kyung Hong.

"This is for home backup where you know all your data is in your home, not in the cloud where you don't know whether it's secure or not," she said.

Toshiba's focus on local storage without cloud features reflects a growing unease about the safety and reliability of internet storage services. In the past, hackers have obtained intimate celebrity selfies stored in Apple's iCloud, and more recently Dropbox has encouraged 68 million users to change their passwords because of a breach dating back to 2012.

The backup device will also be able to transfer data to a new phone, Hong said.

Backup and transfer will each require the use of an app on the smartphone. Initially, the product will be available for Android only, reaching the biggest share of European smartphone users, but there's no reason the company couldn't develop a version for iPhone, too, she said.

When the device goes on sale, probably early next year, it will cost a little more than a 500 GB portable hard drive, she said. Toshiba's 500 GB Canvio drives retail for €50 (US$56) to €60 in Germany. That would put the forthcoming Toshiba device at around the same price as Sony's now discontinued Personal Content Station, which backed up phones and cameras over USB or Wi-Fi, but also had cloud functions.

Toshiba had another new product on the stand that's much closer to shipping.

The A100 SSD will go on sale next month at a price yet to be determined, said Paul Lin, product manager for flash memory.

The 240 GB flash drive is aimed at home users wanting to upgrade existing PCs or laptops. It's a mid-range product, not intended for power users, but nevertheless, it appears, on paper, to outperform many comparable devices in one important respect. Sequential read and write speeds are up to around 550 MB/s and 480MB/s, respectively, while random read speed can reach 87,000 IOPS.

The stand-out statistic for a mid-range product like this is the random write performance -- up to 82,000 IOPS, according to Toshiba. Models released over the last year have stalled at a third to half that speed.

The biggest bottleneck for products like this, going forward, is the SATA interface, not the flash memory, Lin said. To get further performance improvements, future generations will need to use the PCIe interface, today found mostly in gaming machines or high-end laptops and desktops.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags IFAtoshiba

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?