The “Plug” is a device with an Ethernet connection, and a USB port that allows you to connect up to 8 USB drives, and access those in a unified fashion from all your devices. It’s a bit like dropbox, except you are in charge, and the price per GB is much cheaper than cloud services. The Cloud Guys have launched a kickstarter campaign that has already received over $220,000 in pledges after just over two days.
The Plug technical specifications are as follows:
- OpenWRT based Embedded Linux
- x86 compatible processor
- Port for your hard drive – USB 2.0
- Port for Internet – Ethernet port 10/100 Mbps
- Average transfer speed: 30 Mbps
- Supported file systems: NTFS, HFS+, Ext3/Ext4, FAT32
- Number of drives supported (using an external USB hub): 8
- LED Display: Power/ Action
- Dimensions –
270mm (W) x 110mm (D) x 20mm (H) (This must be wrong as it seems way too big compared to the picture shown in the video)70 mm (L) x 35 mm (W) x 25 mm (H).
- Weight – 200gOperation Environment – -17 to 35 °C
- Storage Environment – -17 to 49 °C
- US or EU power adapter 110V/220V (included)
- Ethernet cable (included)
When you watch the promo video above, it does seem like a neat solution, but functionalities do not look that much different from what you could achieve with something like OwnCloud. The developers, however, explain it’s different, as “Plug manages all of your data for you. Not only the contents of a specific folder”.
Nevertheless, it appears to be a good solution for people that are not technically inclined. You just need to install an app on your devices, connect the Plug to your router via an Ethernet cable, connect an hard drive to the USB port of the plug, power the device, and you’re good to go.
Main advantages of this system according to the developers:
- It’s cheaper: Plug is not a service. You pay once, it’s yours.
- It’s larger: Plug is designed to store your entire digital life.
- It’s faster: if you’re at Home, transfer speed is 60x faster.
- It’s safer: you can backup all of your content, not only part of it. Privately for free. Remotely for less than $5/month.
- It’s yours: it’s your own storage. Not a company’s, not a government’s.
The last point may partly explain the success of their campaign as PRISM media coverage may have people thinking about not storing their data on third party services. Communication between devices takes place via a private and encrypted VPN (asymmetric encryption based on RSA-2048/SHA-1 keys).
All your files are storages in the hard drive, unless you want to make them available Offline. You can also share folders with others. One important limitation is that the Plug only supports one user, and multiple users (aka family) support is planned for later, a few months after shipment.
You can pledge $69, plus $10 for shipping to anywhere in the world, to get the Plug (hopefully) delivered to your door in December 2013. Beside the Kickstarter page, there should eventually be more information available on http://meetplug.com.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.