Cloud-based media access is a huge theme these days, but it remains mostly unclear what this virtual blob will look like.
One version resembles Spotify, a totally virtual collection that can be accessed anywhere – PC, phone, automobile, whatever.
But other models are hybrids; they combine aspects of ‘grounded’ storage with remote access, perhaps a more feasible concept in the short- to medium-terms. And of course, different models can easily coexist and service different demographics.
The hybrid concept is something Apple is rumored to be building, the broader vision behind the acquisition of Lala. Part of the rationale behind this approach is that users are hardly dissatisfied with their current, non-cloud solutions, but still want to synch and access their existing collections across different devices and computers.
The question is whether consumers are yearning to move drastically beyond currently-successful solutions. Once loaded up, the 160GB iPod classic (for example) works fabulously, and more conventional storage methods keep getting easier, cheaper, and more compact. The latest evidence of this comes from Toshiba, whose terrabyte-strong ‘Canvio’ is just $200.
The Canvio is billed as ‘pocket-sized,’ though more precisely, it is smaller than a postcard. Smaller storage options also exist, though the terrabyte solution can handle 263,000 digital music files, according to estimates offered by the company. Instead of a complicated cloud, this is a grounded solution for easily storing massive amounts of data – with total convenience, economy, and portability.