Why you should care
Because it’s impossible to take a large collection of high-definition movies, music and television shows with you on a single mobile device. Now you can, and charge a device, if needed.
There’s no doubt that we’re living in a golden era of media consumption. Videos can be delivered in all kinds of file types, and we can happily stream most types if there’s a strong enough Internet connection. Music has become even easier to access with technology growth. It won’t be long before the term “buffering” will be nothing but a word old people use when talking about the old days of the Internet.
But what the Spotifys and Hulus of the Web world can’t deliver is the personal experience of having media files always within reach. There are the times where a Wi-Fi connection isn’t available and your favorite cellular signal is down to a bar and a half, making watching a video or listening to a playlist nothing short of frustrating.
We know — first-world problems.
Thankfully, Kingston Technologies has a device that allows you to carry way more electronic media than most mobile phones and tablets can hold. The MobileLite Wireless is a $50 gadget that combines an SD card reader with a charger and a media streamer — all packed into a device about as big as an iPhone.
Imagine loading every season of Breaking Bad onto an external flash drive and then streaming it from your bag to your tablet. At the same time, two more buddies can connect to the same MobileLite and catch up on a few movies they missed in theaters, or binge-watch the hottest new anime title.
Most portable streaming devices are large hard drives with a built-in wireless transmitter and a set amount of disk space. What the MobileLite brings to the game is the ability to swap out the same types of memory cards that go into the average digital camera. (That is, except for Sony-branded cameras, as they aren’t compatible with any devices outside of the Sony family.)
Since most people don’t save their music and videos to SD cards, Kingston added a USB slot where you can connect an external hard drive or flash drive and stream to three mobile devices. The MobileLite broadcasts its own Wi-Fi signal that a phone or tablet connects to, and it’s off to the races. Most hard drives with this ability have a starting price of about $120, so the $50 price tag of the MobileLite is a steal.
To play media, a free app must be downloaded from the iTunes or Google Play store to a mobile phone or tablet. The user then goes to the mobile phone’s Wi-Fi settings, connects to the MobileLite like they would to any Internet hotspot, and then opens the MobileLite app. The screen will show every piece of media that’s on the SD memory card or plugged-in USB drive.
For the average person, a 32GB or 64GB SD memory card will be more than enough to binge-watch a few seasons of a show. (How those shows are obtained, of course, is none of our business.) If you’ve got an iPad 2 or above, an iPhone 4 or above, or an Android 2.3 or above, you’re ready to rock. A full list of compatible devices is available on the Kingston website.