PetaPixel

MBLOK: 256GB of Bluetooth-Accessible Storage that Fits in the Palm of Your Hand

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What happens when ‘the cloud’ gets personal? According to Kwelea Inc., you end up with MBLOK. Deemed “one memory for all devices,” MBLOK is a pocket-sized SSD with integrated Bluetooth technology that allows you to store and access data from up to 7 mobile devices, all on the go.

Currently seeking funding through Kickstarter, MBLOK isn’t the first device of this kind, but it’s certainly one of the smallest and most unique options.

The video above fails to mention many specs, so we’ll break it down for you in text. The MBLOK manages to pack in up to 256GB of storage, transfer speeds of up to 24Mbit/s and as many as 300 hours of battery life, all into a device the size of the charging block you use to charge your mobile phone.

The idea behind MBLOK is to get rid of the need for Internet access and keep your photos and files more private (even more so thanks to 128-bit encryption) rather than storing them in the cloud on services like Dropbox or Google Drive. And since it’s capable of connecting up to 7 devices at once, all of your family and/or friends can make use of the device on the go.

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MBLOK runs off its own operating system and is currently compatible with iOS and Android devices through a proprietary app. As stretch goals are reached via Kickstarter, the MBLOK team will work on developing for Blackberry, Microsoft, and even smart watch devices given enough capital.

The MBLOK should particularly appeal to photographers for a plethora of reasons: from being able to transfer the mobile phone photos that are filling up your device, to acting as a portable portfolio of sorts, allowing you to access high-resolution photos and show them off to clients no matter where you are.

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Over on their Kickstarter campaign, the 128GB and 256GB MBLOK are available for $190 CAD (~$175 USD) and $280 CAD (~$260 USD), respectively, to the first 160 funders. Once those are gone, the prices go up to $250 CAD (~$230 USD) and $350 CAD (~$322 USD).

The MBLOK has already raised about $30k of the $120k they need. Given that there are 28 days left in the campaign, successful funding looks promising, but if you’d like to take advantage of the ‘Early Bird’ specials, you’re going to want to hop on over there and secure your pledge soon.


 
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  • Jeremy Madore

    Hopping on this. Perfect way for me to run files from my studio (no internet as it’s a simple shooting area right now) and home. This is great!!

  • analogworm

    Yeah, 3 MB/s great.. Hopefully it’ll keep true to the 300h battery life, else you’ll never be able to fill it..

  • Rob S

    yeah not so much…..you are talking about paying about 3 times the cost of SD memory and bluetooth speeds…..

  • Carbon Based Hooligan

    So this might be a great solution if you could transfer your files wirelessly to this when traveling, so you don’t have to bring a laptop with you. My problem with iPads is they don’t have enough space to backup your photos for an entire trip. I bought a netbook simply for backing up my photos and videos from my DSLR while traveling.

  • Coby Bray

    they have small drives that except sd cards and create there own hot spot to stream from

  • Renato Murakami

    Sounds very interesting… the specs are impressive too. Bluetooth 4.0, transfers using Bluetooth 3.0, 128bit AES encryption. Very small form factor and storage getting close to the biggest available nowadays at that size.
    Some things to note though: USB is 2.0, it has a 550mAh battery (seems like it lasts quite a lot due to using proprietary OS plus Bluetooth 4.0 which was made with low power consumption in mind, but for comparison, a regular smartphone has 2000mAh battery – the campaign site does tell it lasts a week on standby, but I couldn’t find how much it lasts in heavy usage), transfering and streaming are usually seem as resource intensive and very demanding on both power and wireless chips, there’s not much on the OS itself and how apps will look/work, plus there are some complexities to consider about the project.

    Unfortunately, this is exactly the type of Kickstarter campaign I don’t back. Not saying others shouldn’t, but kind of a personal stance.

    Here’s what I see as a problem: it’s a full hardware device that needs a full OS development plus a number of possible apps that has several devices as “stretch goals”. So, if your device is among the ones on stretch goals (my case), in case those are not reached you are all out of luck.

    I have over 20 backed projects. From my personal experience, both hardware and software projects have their own set of “unpredictable” and “unforeseeable” problems which, funnily enough, seems to almost always happen. It is the conscious price you pay for cutting the middleman, but I guess kinda understandable.

    Most software projects tends to delay close to a year, and the one hardware project I backed was just delivered with a 10 months delay. To top it off, it’s not a simple software.. it’s a full OS, with apps in different platforms if they reach any of the stretch goals.

    I must say that it’s hard to believe they’ll be able to deliver the whole thing in less than a year. I could be completely wrong, they could already be in advanced stages of development, or extremely confident on what they can do. Still hard to believe though.

    Now, I’m not gonna question the expertise of the team nor it’s experience in the field. I don’t like the fact that they didn’t present any solid project that they have done in the past, but assuming they all have good experience with everything they’ll have to deal with for this particular project, even in cases like these, problems tend to arise.

    I might be sounding a bit too negative here, sorry about that (it pays off, I’ve yet to put my money on a failed project), but projects like these, even in non-Kickstarter full commercial level with lots of funding from investors or owned by big corporations – with huge teams, unlimited funding, and a long history of experience – tend to work well only after several releases, bugfixes and even product versions.

    Just be aware of all that before jumping the gun. The last thing I want to see is yet another Kickstarter controversy and failed project with tons of people complaining about it. For most of them I could see problems arising from a mile away.

  • JustFedUp86

    Yeah…..sounds good at first but it looks like it would mainly appeal as an archive storage for smartphone/tablet users of their photos and video clips. They may love it, the rest of us would be better off with a newer version of one of the old backup drives that connect directly by USB (is anyone even using Firewire today? Oh the arguments how great it was).

    Or just spring for a few extra memory cards.

  • Jim Tomson

    I would prefer the SanDisk Wireless Media Drive. It comes with 64GB and supports SDHC/SDHX cards to increase the total storage. The MBLOK would be great if 300h of battery life is really required for any reason. My tablet and smartphone don’t last that long…

  • Jeremy Madore

    Skipped over the Mbits/s and read it as MB/s. Huge difference.

  • econfan

    Hello Renato, I am the founder of MBLOK and would like to address your comment if I may. We are a university based company and have the help of everyone we can get. We are not using any new technology, simply something others may have missed. All smartphones use a big battery due screen – which consumes a lot of it, in addition, instead of WIFI we are using Bluetooth 3.0 HS for our connection. Which consumes much less power since it operates on a different frequency. In terms of risk, our Kickstarter campaign funding will actually not be used for the manufacturing and development costs because it’s simply will look bad on us if we fail. The goal of our kickstarter campaign is to spread awareness and achieve pre-orders convincing investors to take part in the company. It is in our best interest to mitigate the risk of the backer to the best of our ability. We have set timelines on stretch just to prevent fail cases seen before. Lastly, we are sitting next to teams like Palette, and obtain mentorship from the best.

  • Rob S

    Thanks for coming here to address the issues presented and good luck!

    Personally this is not for me. I have played around with wireless storage and it is just not there yet. I use an Apple TIme Capsule but that is over 802.11n and most of it happens while I sleep (I routinely shut it off during the day when I am using my computer). I have an EyeFi that I use in my Pentax K-01 and while I like not having to pull the card it is a pain when I have a lot of pictures. I have managed to drain a battery before getting the images off a 16GB card.

    Again, good luck!

  • Kiltedbear

    Thanks for the heads up on the SanDisk device. I was looking for something to archive photos on trips and to transfer them and view them on my Android Tablets without transferring them directly to the device. The MBLOK sounded interesting, but after seeing the SanDisk solution, it doesn’t have Bluetooth, but honestly I think standard wireless is more reliable and the expandability with SD cards and lower cost than the cost I think beats the MBLOK and I can take the SD card straight out of the camera and slot it into the SanDisk. I think that alone is a winning feature. I can’t deny the MBLOK is cool, but for the price I think SanDisk wins. MBLOK seems more geared toward people that want specifically to stream media but where size form factor matters.

  • econfan

    Dear Rob, I dont expect everyone to be a fan. I just want to make sure they understand the concept before. I believe in sharing the idea and helping those that are struggling with the solutions offered.
    Thank you for explaining your use case, it will help us understand our customer’s pain better so we can address them in the future. I hope we will be able to make something for you as well.
    Thank You again, maybe you would like to be our tester?

  • Joey Duncan

    Ya it’s Bluetooth so it’s not going to be fast, especially when used for pictures.

    Something doesn’t smell right with this, first there is NO WAY that little device will last 300 hours. NO.WAY.PERIOD. The only way that’s possible is if you didn’t use the device in the 12 day period and the system never connected to bluetooth and was in standby mode the entire time.

    do yourself a favor and look into and make sure you feel comfortable that this is a real device.

  • Joey Duncan

    It’s funny how these guys act like local storage is a new concept and the cloud is old. This can be good in some situations but keep in mind it’s VERY SLOW and may not be fast enough to ever stream data (do probably no editing over bluetooth) and if you lose the device or break it you’ll lose what’s on it, use it where you need to but it’s not a substitution for a real back up like cloud.

    As a side note I think the are bending the time a little for the battery life. Even if the battery takes up a little over 1/2 the size of the box I don’t think you could keep it connected to a device and use it a few times and have it last more than about 2-3 days.

  • econfan

    Hello Joey, we think cloud storage is awesome and in no way does MBLOK fully replace google drive. I use it for project management everyday and it is great. However, accessing files that are a little heavier on size can be problematic to download and upload not considering the memory size limit on your devices. In addition, being internet dependent all of the time is exhausting and can be very frustrating and expensive. In combined use it will most likely last 2-3 days, however, compared to all other devices that is stunning. Also, when you need to transfer files to device , it charges simultaneously eliminating the need for that extra action.

    Kind Regards,
    Anton Kabanov

  • Michel Plungjan

    You mean “Small drive bays exist which accept SD cards and have their own hotspot to stream from”, right?

  • Rob S

    I sent you a kickstarter message.

  • Rob S

    iPod shuffle lasts a long time an it is not much bigger than this. What eats power in modern devices are screens. take away the screen and you would be surprised.

  • Rob S

    As cheap as SD cards are just get more memory and a Pelican case. For important stuff I go card a day. Shooting RAW I can get about 1000 images on a 16 GB card. You can get quality cards for $10 a pop.

  • Kim R Leonard

    My Uncle John got
    an almost new blue Dodge Avenger Sedan just by some part-time working online
    with a cheap laptop… you can try this out Works77­.­C­O­­M

  • Peng Tuck Kwok

    Bluetooth LE (probably). Same as iBeacon.

  • Joey Duncan

    BTW, now that I read the first line this morning I realize it might sound like I was trying to be a jerk. Haha I wasn’t, I meant it to be a funny haha

    This line: “It’s funny how these guys act like local storage is a new concept and the cloud is old”

  • vonrock

    I’ve been using one for a few months now, apps on pad an pod. My girlfriend has the app on the same, couple friends too. You can trade an view.
    Very easy to use both ways ( in/out )
    The only thing that surprised me was on certain stored movies, it leaves it’s own network and goes to your house internet. Haven’t tried to figure it yet,

  • RonT

    That’s why I bought the Samsung, not the iPad. External memory slot and you retain all the other benefits of a tablet :-)

  • Daniel Hine

    Well I really like the idea. I’m not a fan of the cloud

  • whoopn

    Would be great if they’d include the Wireless USB spec or maybe wifi…