CES 2011: Iomega Does iPhone Backup, Boxee, and the "Personal Cloud"

By  |  Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 8:59 am

Venerable storage company Iomega has made its CES announcements. They include a unique new iPhone/iPod Touch dock, two TV boxes that are the first ones to run the Boxee software since D-Link’s original Boxee Box, and Web-enabled updates to its network storage products.

Waitaminnit–what is a storage company like Iomega doing making an iPhone dock? Well, its new SuperHero is a storage device: The $69.99 gizmo packs a 4GB SD card. And when you use it with Iomega’s iPhone app, it’ll back up your contacts and photos as you charge your phone. (If you’ve got more than 4GB of stuff, you can swap out the included SD card and insert one of your own.) If you lose your data–or lose your phone, period, and get a new one–you can use the Iomega app to restore the data.

The SuperHero only protects contacts and photos because those are the only file types it can get to in the sandboxed world of iOS–it’s still up to you to make sure that apps, calendar data, and other information is backed up. That means that you can’t give up using the (surprisingly unintuitive) backup feature built into iTunes. But if you don’t back up as often as you should, SuperHero adds an additional safety net.

A SuperHero that could do a full iPhone backup would be a killer product and a good buy at $69.99; the existing version strikes me as clever, but a trifle pricey. Any thoughts?

Meanwhile, Iomega is getting into the streaming Internet TV box business with Iomega TV, a line of devices that run the same Boxee software as D-Link’s Boxee Box. The $229.99 version provides essentially the same features as D-Link’s product, but in a more sedate, lower-profile case that will probably fit into entertainment centers more easily; the $299.99 version adds 1TB of on-board storage, and the $349.99 one has 2TB.

Iomega TV ships in February, and the fact that Iomega wasn’t the first company out of the gate with a Boxee device for TVs might actually be an advantage: D-Link’s version has suffered from delays in support for Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Vudu, the services which will give Boxee much of its appeal for folks who aren’t primarily interested in streaming their own locally-stored content around the network.

Lastly, Iomega has announced a new Home Media Network Hard Drive Cloud Edition, a network-attached drive available in $159.99 (1TB) and $199.99 (2TB) versions. It includes a free new service called Personal Cloud–a phrase everyone seems to love these days–which provides access to all the data stored on the drive over the Web, allowing you to view your stuff in any browser, share it with other folks, or sync it among multiple Personal Cloud-enabled products. It sounds a bit like PogoPlug, or like a version of SugarSync that stores everything on your drive rather than in the great big non-personal cloud.

Personal Cloud is also built into the Iomega TV products, and the company says it’ll be rolling the feature into upcoming versions of other storage products such as its StorCenter systems in the first quarter of this year.

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