Editorial - State of the Portable Storage Market

Started May 26, 2004 | Discussions
RDKirk
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I think you missed my point
In reply to Mac Marconi, May 27, 2004

My point is that the answer the the photographer's problem may not come as a "photographic" answer--it may show up in "PC Mag" before "DPReview."

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RDKirk

'I know you're smarter than I am. But I think you're making up some of those words.' Rocky Rooster from 'Chicken Run'

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BorisK1
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Re: I think you missed my point
In reply to RDKirk, May 27, 2004

RDKirk wrote:

My point is that the answer the the photographer's problem may not
come as a "photographic" answer--it may show up in "PC Mag" before
"DPReview."

I was thinking that a very nice solution would be a PDA that had a flash slot and either a harddrive or USB-2.0 host functionality that would allow to attach an external HD or CD-writer. So far, no PDA that I know of can host USB 2.0.

Yesterday I googled out something that I thought could be a good base for a PSD solution:

http://www.ibuypower.com/product-pc/pocket-epc.htm

  • it's a pocket-size PC with USB-2.0 connectors, a hard drive, and a built-in CD-ROM (or they put in a CD-RW+DVD-ROM, but that costs extra). Doesn't have a display or a keyboard, but has standard connectors. I'm thinking, in the field a small keypad could work for input, and the LEDs on the keypad and the built-in speaker will suffice for confirmation. Add a USB-2.0 card reader of your choice. Write (very simple) copy software to copy the files to the hard drive. And when you're back to your car or a hotel room, attach an LED screen and a regular keyboard, and you'll be able to do full-scale editing (heck, install Photoshop on that thing!).

Don't know if it runs on batteries though, or how rugged it is.

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RDKirk
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That's what I'm talking about
In reply to BorisK1, May 27, 2004

BorisK1 wrote:

I was thinking that a very nice solution would be a PDA that had a
flash slot and either a harddrive or USB-2.0 host functionality
that would allow to attach an external HD or CD-writer. So far, no
PDA that I know of can host USB 2.0.

Not yet, but I'd expect to see it within the year. My little Toshiba (which is a 2-year old model) is almost there. Right now I can put an SD card into it and download from the card to the IO Magic, then view the images. All I really need is software to automate that a bit, and for both of them to be in the same casing.

My big point is that together they cost me only $300--far cheaper than other solutions with far less capability.

And the PDA is still, after all, a PDA. It can take voice or written notes (and download THEM to the hard drive); it can carry reference documents, calendars and appointment schedules, foreign language translators and dictionaryies, maps, handle budgets, store eBooks, et cetera.

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RDKirk

'I know you're smarter than I am. But I think you're making up some of those words.' Rocky Rooster from 'Chicken Run'

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mrlnavy
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Re: Editorial - State of the Portable Storage Market
In reply to LeeLove, May 27, 2004

LeeLove is correct. I have been watching this forum for some time now to learn about PSDs. For one thing I know of no place that even properly compares the available choices. There is better information on on a thirty dollar card reader than there is on PSDs.

In particular he is correct about multi-function devices-they are always a compromise. This is a badly served market, and I can't figure out if someone can design the industrial design/software/hardware package of an Ipod mini why Nikon or someone does not do a bang up job on a psd.
Right now I'd buy the Sony if it was available just for a back-up.

Went digital a short time ago because I could not any longer deal with airport security frying my cartons of film when I was travelling overseas. So far it is a very mixed bag.

mrlnavy

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pmpkqyx
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Re: Editorial - State of the Portable Storage Market
In reply to LeeLove, May 28, 2004

LeeLove wrote:

wbee's post about the Nikon Coowalker caused me to put down some
thoughts about the current PSD market.
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1023&message=8856442
Is it just me or does $700 for a PSD seem ridiculous ? What is
Nikon thinking ?
$700 is BIG premium just for handheld portability. For $200 or $300
more you can buy a real laptop. Now granted you can't easily throw
this in your bag but give me a break.

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snipped for brevity--

Lee

This conversation has finally broken through my too narrow mindset. I overlooked the obvious in searching for a complete solution in support of my upcoming 3 weeks in Great Britain:

The very compact Averatec laptop was put on sale by several chains this week at $750 for a 10 inch screen, 40gb drive, built-in wireless, and DVD/CD-RW combo drive for $750.

Load that little laptop up with Photoshop Elements and the highly underrated Photo Album 2.0. Carry enough card memory to handle a day's shooting. Back at the hotel room, dump the day's work to the laptop hard drive, burn backup CDs to mail home, or create zip files for transmission back home from the nearest internet cafe.

I can also think of one or two other uses for that little laptop when not using it as a deluxe PSD, too. Cant see the point in a Coolwalker when I can get a full fledged WinXP computer that still fits in a Nova 5 bag.

Terry

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Thy2
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Re: Editorial - State of the Portable Storage Market
In reply to LeeLove, May 28, 2004

Amen to everything you said!!!

What about that 12GB Pretec CF card for $15,000? What on earth are they thinking? I could buy many good cameras for that kind of money.

LeeLove wrote:

Also there is just not that much engineering that goes into one of
these things. A device like this at a minimum only has to do 3
things really well:

1. Copy Files
2. Track Disk Space
3. Preview Images

How hard could this be ?

Lee

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Thy

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Jason Nakrani
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Re: Hear, hear, Full support
In reply to Ambers, May 28, 2004

I agree with all of you, these PSD are missing the target. What I want to know is: Can I go out and buy one of those Western Digital External 250gb Hard Drives with USB and Firewire connections and transfer the photo's to the 250gb drive from the camera to free up the CF card?

My setup would work like this, there is a 1.0gb CF Card in the camera, when the card is full, take the camera's USB cable, plug it into the external USB 250gb hard drive, transfer the photo's over to the 250, the CF card in the camera is now empty and I can keep shooting?

and the 250gb drive will hold how many 6mp RAW photo's? that 12gb 80x flash card that they just announced is something like $14,000 USD? the External Hard drive is only like $300-$400

Ambers wrote:
Full and total support - I am currently working in KL and spent
the last 12 months in Korea (the home of the chip). I can buy all
the bits cheaply - all I want is them in one box at a reasonable
price. Portable hardrives are everywhere and very reasonably
priced as are phone, calulator, minie PC of every description and
size in these markets - just no wires running between them.

Monica wrote:
I couldn't agree more, except with contention #3, which in its full
glory wants these devices just for photos.

Video recording is a huge bonus of digital cameras, for me at any
rate. As long as a PSD can recognize, store, and playback the
multiple formats common among most digital cameras (.JPG, RAW,
.AVI, .MPEG, .WAV), then count me in.

A strongly-held conviction on connectivity issues: there's no
reason these things shouldn't have a decent on-board display as
well as being NTSC/PAL compatible for TV viewing.

I was on the tippy-toe verge of splurging on a FlashTrax not to
long ago, but the price vs. features seemed to me to be the
prohibitive factor, and I chickened out on the purchase. I just
want what LeeLove wants, too, and I think manufacturers are missing
out on a huge market of digital camera enthusiasts by trying to
offer PSDs that are the equivalent of a four-corkscrew Swiss Army
knife.

Monica

LeeLove wrote:

Is it just me or does $700 for a PSD seem ridiculous ? What is
Nikon thinking ?

So now that I have got that off my chest here are some constructive
comments on what a PSD should have in order to be truly successful.

In order of importance.

1. Reliability, Reliability, Reliability
2. Rugged
3. Made for Digital Photography
4. Value per Dollar

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Snow

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mrlnavy
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Re: Editorial - State of the Portable Storage Market
In reply to pmpkqyx, May 28, 2004

See http://www.oqo.com for a neat looking device. I'm sure it is expensive as can be, and perhaps 20 gig is too small. It sure looks interesting.

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jari k
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Big pockets you have!
In reply to BorisK1, May 28, 2004

BorisK1 wrote:
http://www.ibuypower.com/product-pc/pocket-epc.htm

  • it's a pocket-size PC with USB-2.0 connectors, a hard drive, and

a built-in CD-ROM (or they put in a CD-RW+DVD-ROM, but that costs
extra). Doesn't have a display or a keyboard, but has standard
connectors. I'm thinking, in the field a small keypad could work
for input, and the LEDs on the keypad and the built-in speaker will
suffice for confirmation. Add a USB-2.0 card reader of your
choice. Write (very simple) copy software to copy the files to the
hard drive. And when you're back to your car or a hotel room,
attach an LED screen and a regular keyboard, and you'll be able to
do full-scale editing (heck, install Photoshop on that thing!).

Don't know if it runs on batteries though, or how rugged it is.

7,79 x 6,34 x 2,44 inches
19,8 x 16,1 x 6,2 cm

Takes little more space as my laptop, my laptop needs more table space but is 2,5 times thinner.

Then add keyboard and some kind of display...

And it seems to have Pentium 4 processor, not any mobile version laptops have. So I am pretty sure it doesn't work on batteries.

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jari k

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RDKirk
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Looks like what I want, or more
In reply to mrlnavy, May 28, 2004

All I really want, though, is a simple PDA with a large hard drive and a CF reader.

I'm not one of those "all in one" people--I have more trust in devices that only do one or two things, as long as they are robust. If someone would just put my Toshiba e330 PDA (2002 technology) in the same casing as my Radio Shack IO Magic digital library (2001 technology), I'd be happy.

Michael Levy wrote:

See http://www.oqo.com for a neat looking device. I'm sure it is expensive
as can be, and perhaps 20 gig is too small. It sure looks
interesting.

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RDKirk

'I know you're smarter than I am. But I think you're making up some of those words.' Rocky Rooster from 'Chicken Run'

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Jerre
Contributing MemberPosts: 971
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Re: Editorial - State of the Portable Storage Market
In reply to mrlnavy, May 28, 2004

Last I heard the estimated price for the ogo was over $2000. One of the founder for Microsoft is also bringing out a unit at the same time, same size, same high price. The smaller it is the more it costs.

Michael Levy wrote:

See http://www.oqo.com for a neat looking device. I'm sure it is expensive
as can be, and perhaps 20 gig is too small. It sure looks
interesting.

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LeeLove
Contributing MemberPosts: 665
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Re: Hear, hear, Full support
In reply to Jason Nakrani, May 28, 2004

Jason Nakrani wrote:

I agree with all of you, these PSD are missing the target. What I
want to know is: Can I go out and buy one of those Western Digital
External 250gb Hard Drives with USB and Firewire connections and
transfer the photo's to the 250gb drive from the camera to free up
the CF card?

One of the problems is external drives like this still require Power and run on 115v so that is why have to have a device that uses a 2.5" laptop drive.

Lee

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LeeLove
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Re: Editorial - State of the Portable ... WOW
In reply to mrlnavy, May 28, 2004

Michael Levy wrote:

See http://www.oqo.com for a neat looking device. I'm sure it is expensive
as can be, and perhaps 20 gig is too small. It sure looks
interesting.

Michael, very interesting and thanks for the link. I do know how many of you took the time to read the entire site but it is right right on target and educational.

Take a minute and read this page on the site it is a very good read on the industry and the pocket pc market.
http://www.oqo.com/enterprise/reports/

I was particularly impressed with the modular approach which is exactly what we need. I also liked the snap in base concept that would hold additional batteries and other features.

Also this page mentions that the device should hit the market at $1000. Now I am skeptical about their ability to make this target price but if they hit the market at this price that means they will only go down from there. Yea !!

Lee

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LeeLove
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Re: Editorial - State of the Portable Storage Market -Additions
In reply to LeeLove, Jun 1, 2004

After hearing some of the other comments and thinking about the reviews of the current units, I realized I forgot a very important addition.

5. Battery Life

It is amazing to me that most of the units on the market are only good for 4 or 5 CF transfers before they die. Even the newly announced Sony is rumored to only have a 60 minute battery life.

If a unit can not support a days worth of on-location shooting then it has to at least have interchangable batteries. Can you imagine how people would react if you had a dslr that only lasted an hour ? Ideally a psd should last as long as my camera battery but given the current technology that is not likely to happen.

So I would like to add battery life to my list of must haves for any usuable piece of photo gear and that includes a psd. Because if your psd battery dies you might as well just put the camera in the bag and go home.

Manufacturers must start thinking about portable storage as part of a SYSTEM. This is not an add on accessory like a flash. A psd must operate seemlessly with my other gear and last just as long, both physcially as well as electrically.

I would think that 3 hours is the bare mininum and preferably 6-10 would no be unreasonable considering the rest of your photo gear. Now as always the trade off is weight so that is a balancing act that every engineer wrestles with in designing such a product.

Just out of curiosity which unit on the market today has the best battery life ?

Lee

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