Sony Rolls Out 4 SMB File-Sharing Devices

The solutions could ease BYOD implementation for small companies or individual departments of larger organizations. By Aaron Stern

Last month, Sony debuted four new products that can help SMBs and other organizations share and store digital files. The new products include two small wireless servers, an SD backup hard drive, and a USB port for Android smartphones that lets users transfer files directly from their devices to their computers.

The products will be marketed toward consumers, but are also intended for companies that share photographs, design blueprints, and other like documents between partners, says Tom Di Nome, senior public relations manager for Sony. The small-scale solutions could effectively help SMBs streamline formal or informal BYOD solutions and policies for their employees.

The Portable Wireless Server (PWS) lets users share and playback content from smartphones, tablets, or PCs with up to eight users via Wi-Fi connection. The PWS lets users expand the storage capacity of their mobile device by using a memory card. It also serves as a battery charger, card reader/writer, and additional storage.

Vivienne Gucwa, a New York City-based photographer, said she recently went into a meeting where she had to pass around her iPad with her portfolio on it so that the other meeting participants could look through it, dividing their attention and causing them to rush through the viewing process. The PWS would enable her to push her images to up to eight users at a time for simultaneous viewing. "This would have solved so many of the issues I had at that meeting," she says. "To me, that's a great use case." The PWS is available now for $89.99. A second model that comes with a 16GB SD card is also available now for $99.99.

The Personal Content Station (PCS) is an NFC-enabled media hub with a 1TB storage capacity that lets users automatically share photos and videos from smartphones, tablets, cameras, and camcorders. As the name implies, it is designed for the home, but again, could be used in small offices or for individual departments within larger companies. An intriguing feature for those who shoot video is a built-in video transcoder that automatically converts high-definition AVCHD videos to MP4 format for playback on smartphones or tablets, while the original files remain on the PCS in their original format.

The PCS is compatible with Android and iOS devices, and devices that aren't NFC-enabled can be formatted to transfer files through a downloadable app on both platforms. It is available now for $299.

A new line of SD backup cards are designed to give users a handy backup option. Everyone knows they should back up their files to external drives, but unpacking that drive, plugging it in, and then selecting what to back up can lead to procrastination. Viviano Cantu, Sony's director of consumer media marketing, says these SD cards can live in the SD slots of users and, once programmed to automatically backup user-specified files, can offer hassle-free operation. Of course, that "live-in" option will work better on PCs, since SD cards don't fit flush into Mac laptops, but the point is more or less the same-easy, automated backup. The cards should now be available. They range in size and price as follows: 16GB, $27.99; 32GB, $52.99; 64GB, $99.99.

The new USB device has both a micro USB and a USB 2.0 connector to enable backing up and sharing of files on Android smartphones without having to use cables or Wi-Fi. The drives are compatible with Android versions 4.0.3 to 4.3 and offer the USB On-the-Go (OTG) function, enabling a portable device such as a smartphone to act as a host when connected to other USB peripherals. An app, downloadable from the Google Play Store, helps users search for content stored on their various devices as well as copy, delete, play back, and sort files. Cantu says there are no plans to make an iOS-compatible version. The product is scheduled to be released this month, ranging in size and price: 8GB, $19.99; 16GB, $29.99; 32GB, $62.99.