12
Dec
Sony-2-in-1-USB-open

These aren't the first USB flash drives we've seen that double as detachable storage for Android devices - that honor goes to the Leef Bridge from way back in June. But darn it if Sony's new 2-in-1 flash drives aren't a whole lot slicker, combining MicroUSB and standard USB 2.0 plugs into a tiny package. From the single press image, it looks like the entire device is barely bigger than the two plugs put together.

Sony-2-in-1-USB-open

Sony's new flash drives will be available in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB capacities starting in January. They'll command a premium over standard flash drives, of course: the 8GB version will retail for twenty bucks, the 16GB will be $30, and the 32GB version will be a whopping $62.99. Your Android phone or tablet will need to run 4.0 or higher and have USB On-The-Go capability to use the drive. If you've got all that, you should be able to get your file sharing on with full-sized desktops and laptops, or anything else with USB functionality, in no time.

The drives will come with protective caps for both plugs in a choice of three colors (which Sony hasn't mentioned just yet). These should be popular with users who lament the lack of MicroSD options on many recent high-end phones, or those who just don't want to carry a USB cable around for file transfers. I only wish they came in USB 3.0 flavors.

Source: Sony Blog

PARK RIDGE, N.J., Dec. 11, 2013 — Sony’s newest USB flash drive is a “2-in-1” device, with dual micro USB and USB 2.0 connectors for fast and easy back-up, sharing and storing of personal content. The new drive fits most Android* smartphones and tablets so mobile consumers can transfer and view photos and videos without using cables or Wi-Fi access.

According to industry research, photo-taking is the third most common use for a smartphone, with viewing and sharing not far behind. Tablets are also finding similar use, increasing the need for multi-function devices.

“Consumers want to let a friend see the photo they just took or share a video easily with as few steps as possible,” said Viviano Cantu, director of consumer media marketing, Sony Electronics. “These new drives combine convenience, peace of mind and performance and are perfect for mobile multi-tasking.”

The compact devices are available in capacities of 8, 16 and 32 GB, and in a choice of 3 different cap colors. They join Sony’s existing line of storage and transfer options for home and mobile use, giving consumers more flexibility in how they manage personal data.

The new drives are compatible with Android* devices, version 4.0.3 to 4.3** and offer the USB On-the-Go (OTG) function, which allows portable devices like smartphones to act as a “host” when connected to other USB peripherals.

Consumers can also use the drives as additional or temporary storage for their smartphones and tablets, a storage option that’s ideal for enjoying large data files like feature-length movies or personal music libraries.

A locking cap protects the connectors from damage, dust and debris, and the devices’ metal body is durable enough to withstand everyday mobile use.

For easier operation from a smartphone, users can download the free File Manager app from the Play Store to help them easily search content stored on their different devices as well as copy, delete, playback and sort files.
To learn more, visit: www.sony.net/Products/memorycard/en_us/usbsa/index.html.

The new USB flash drives will be available January 2014 at Sony retail stores (www.store.sony.com) at the following prices:
8 GB (USM-8SA1/B) – $19.99
16 GB (USM-16SA1/B) – $29.99
32 GB (USM-32SA1/B) – $62.99

*Can be used with Android devices with USB flash drive connectivity using Android version 4.0.3-4.3, with planned future compatibility for Android version 4.4.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php rarely online

    This is awesome, I hope it works with any device and not just Sony devices.

    • MrJamesBrown

      The joys of standards ;)

    • Ibrahim Yusuf

      of course it will work with any Android device, Devices with OTG support.
      Did you even read the article?

      • Nick V

        I thought that the Nexus 4 did not have the USB OTG? I could be wrong, but I remember there being a lot of hoopla over that.

  • darkdude1

    This is pretty neat. Certainly helps those with Nexus devices expand storage a little bit.

    • Hans Pedersen

      I guess it'll just mount as a USB storage, so if you have a device with pure Android, you can probably forget about exFAT.

      • Andrew

        Thats probably why storage options stop at 32GB. Just a guess.

        • dude

          Except the users can format a 64gb to FAT32 if they know how, but given the price of these things I think it should stop at 32gb as well.

          • David Hart

            But then you can't store files larger than 4GB

    • dude

      I think it depends on what device you have. Some devices like ASUS will detect and mount it. Nexus devices probably will do nothing, and you'll have to install some USB OTG app to mount it, there are many in the Playstore.

  • Owen Finn

    I think it will be interesting to see how well these things sell, and what sort of message that sends to Google about making the phones with expandable memory/storage...

    • cj

      Why would this send any particular message to Google. You want a phone with expandable memory, you buy a phone with expandable memory. I'm sure Google is already fully aware of the requests by end users for this.

  • Andrew

    This would have made an awesome stocking stuffer for me... and easier decision to move to a Nexus Device. Right now, I love having 64GB of movies with me on the plane since my laptop is too big for the trays. They have come in quite handy on our trips this year since my wife can never decide what she wants to watch.

    • blahmoomoo

      Just keep in mind that the Nexus 4 doesn't support USB OTG (don't remember if intentional or hardware bug). Don't know about other Nexus devices.

      • Cory_S

        I don't think it was really intentional, as every nexus device after supports it fine.

  • Mystery Man

    $63 for 32gb 0_o

    • atlouiedog

      There must be a Vita memory card inside.

  • dude

    I remember a kickstarter with something like this with just the microUSB connector, but it let you insert your own microSD.

  • ralphwiggum1

    I think the best design would be a slim MicroUSB flash drive, with a MicroUSB to Full USB adapter. you need the device small when using in a MicroUSB in, and can stand a little bigger size when pluggin in a full size USB anyway. Good effort though.

  • ralphwiggum1

    Or another useful form factor could be a micro USB flash drive with the middle part having the flexibility of a stick of gum. This way you can fold it back and not have a bulbous things sticking out from your phone. It would allow it to be more universal and allow bending around cases or in opposite directions (for Nexus 5 upside down USB).

  • David Hart

    This is very cool, and I totally see this kicking off. But for me, it's about 2 years to late.

    • Brad

      Yeah, the lack of product pushed me to the cloud... if only it'd been a little earlier...

  • Frekko

    Excellent design and size, though price will take some time to become resonable

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  • https://twitter.com/brianedwardgoss Brian Edward Goss

    A very similar device, the Leef Bridge has been out for a few months now, though the Sony looks more compact (2leef[dot]com). The Nexus 4 does not support USB OTG, Google removed USB OTG support from the kernel because the Nexus 4 can not supply the necessary 5 volts. There are workarounds involving root and wiring up battery backs, or using USB "Y" cables tethered to a powered USB port or hub as a power source. The Nexus 5 is said to support USB OTG "out of the box", but I have not tried it myself. I have also read reports stating that it does not work on the Nexus 5, in the straight forward fashion anyway. I imagine if this is the case similar workarounds to those developed for the Nexus 4 will probably work.

    • David Hart

      You just need to use stickmount with the N5.

      • Phill_S

        Or Total Commander with the USB-Stick Plugin, which doesnt require root or anything else.

        For some reason the N5 can read USB sticks but wont mount them when plugged in via a USB OTG. Rather annoying but with a simple workaround if you know what it is.

    • Matthew Fry

      That leaf bridge is ginormous.

    • Hans Dirk Kwazneski

      The leaf bridge is not big at all and you can put your own SD card in it. Have a 64gb card and the adapter only costs 12 bucks lol this is dumb as hell

  • tehone

    Somewhat related, these micro USB/micro SD adapters have been around "forever", worked pretty well and are pretty reasonably priced:

    http://dx.com/p/c310-otg-tf-card-reader-w-usb-to-micro-usb-adapter-for-samsung-i9100-i9300-i9220-n7100-174106

  • Harold Goldner

    Decent idea. If it can be read by those devices supporting OTG USB (or, for example, the Nexus 7's with Nexus Media Viewer), it will render obsolete new devices such as http://www.meenova.com/.

    • Matthew Fry

      Why do you say so? The mini micro usb reader is $12 and microsd cards on sale are ~$1/GB. Seems a lot more flexible than this usb drive.

      • Harold Goldner

        I completely agree with you at current price points. I happen to have the Meenova reader and a 64 card. Both together are less than the list price of >$60 for only 32g. Eventually, however, when the price stabilizes where it ought to be it may make more sense to some than a card + reader. Frankly, I like having the reader --- let's me use more cards.

  • Paul

    The article says Android v4+. Now, i've had USB OTG on my Xperia Ray (2.3.4) like.. forever, with the help of a storage.ko module and the USB OTG Helper app.
    Would i be able to use this then, no matter what the 'required' Android version is?

  • Robert Alex Kibler

    Dangit USB 2.0. :(

  • Matthew Fry

    Leaf Bridge link goes to the sony blog post which I don't think is intended.

  • Влатко Стојанов

    ORLY Sony? USB 2.0?

    • ssj4Gogeta

      AFAIK Galaxy Note 3 is the only phone with USB 3.0. Besides, you don't even know if this thing can saturate USB 2.0 (which has a theoretical maximum speed of 60MBps).

  • rap

    Wish it was available now. Would have made a good present for the hubby.

  • rap

    Could Titanium Backup use one of these to backup/restore on an n5 or n7?

    • gh0st

      it could work .. once you mount the otg device, go to titanium backup's settings and change the default backup location

  • tsferg

    Finally someone is doing this! Good job sony!