Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kingston Wi-Drive App for Kindle Fire now in Android App Store, 16-32Gig drive at Amazon. UPDATE-7 Jan 24 (Unit originally only for Apple)


See several updates below.  I'll do a report soon from having worked with the Wi-Drive now, which has been working better than I expected. - Jan 24 (Original blog entry was Jan 17, morning)

Now we can add a 16 to 64GB pocket-sized drive to the Kindle Fire.  The drive can be carried in your pocket.

Android Mag's Pallavi had one of the several announcements of the availability of Kingston's WiDrive a few days ago, but the Kindle Fire app was not available in the Amazon AppStore.  It is now. I just downloaded it.

Pallavi writes:
' It utilizes "Flash-based technology to store data from USB-compatible PCs."  The content can be retrieved via Wi-Drive’s built-in wireless signal; and you do not require cables or an internet connection to do so.  What's more, three users can work on different file types simultaneously from a single Wi-Drive. '

That would mean each could be accessing different movies, music or other data at the same time, without wires.

The product description for the Wi-Drive with Kindle Fire Support mentions that you can run other apps while using WiDrive features and that there are "enhanced photo features."
  Also mentioned: "Additional Network Setting - select WiFi channel"

Update - The first, very helpful customer review there, by Steeler Nation "Peter", written from use with iDevices, explains that the unit provides its own WiFi network in which the Kindle Fire connects to the Wi-Drive, and two or three devices can access different or same media files on the drive at the same time, all streaming smoothly, per customer reviews of the use of Wi-Drive with the iPad and other Apple devices using this drive for add-on storage and Non-Internet streaming.

 His caveats are that with two or more people using it at a time, constantly streaming, it runs for only 3 hours and then must be re-charged again and you cannot recharge this with the miniUSB adapter while using it.  He doesn't say how long it lasts with one person using it. [End of Update]

Update 6 - I struck the part in the last paragraph that I found probably not to be true  I'm able to recharge it at home when plugged into a power source (though we cannot recharge it via a computer USB port as explained in the manual) and it should work with a car charger unless there is something added that is necessary for a charger to power it.
  I called up Kingston Tech Support and talked with a Level 2 support rep who said that a car adapter does charge it while you're using the drive but the car adapter has to be up to a certain standard and the best thing to do is look for car adapters that are Apple Product Certified. [End of Update 6]

Mobile Magazine has some very good photos.

The Wi-Drive can be shared by 3 users concurrently, as we've seen, and is already available from Amazon in 16GB, 32GB or 64GB versions.

  Wi-Drives are the shape and approximate size of Apple's iPhone 4s.

The unit comes with a one-year warranty and free technical support.

Amazon customer reviews of the basic unit (which had been only for Apple devices previously) -- 34 reviews at 4.5 stars average.  No '1' or '2' ratings.

There's one customer review at the Amazon product page, for the Kindle Fire version, from someone who already had the drive for his Apple devices.
' By Wayne2626 [January 12, 2012]
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Kingston Wi-Drive 16 GB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive WID/16GBZ (Personal Computers)

I have a Iphone 4 and I was give[n] a gift certificate which I used to get a 16g wi-drive and it worked great with the iPhone.  I also got a kindle fire for christmas.  I found that amazon was going to come out with the wi-drive program which I just downloaded and it was no problem getting it to work with the fire giving me 24g of usable memory with the fire for shows, movies, and pictures.

Also one person can watch a movie stored on the wi-drive and another person can watch the same movie or a different movie stored on the same wi-drive at the same time, sharing media on the same wi-drive at the same time with two different devices... '

UPDATE 2 - An example of the convenience of sharing the drive, from one review (by Vurtis):
'...exactly what I needed.  My family was flying across the country and we didn't have enough memory on our iPhones & my iPad.  After being told from several stores that there was no way to expand with extra hard drives ... I tried the Kingston.  I couldn't be more happy.  The device works great.  My wife watched a chick flick,  I watched an action adventure and my daughter watched a Disney film.  We made it across the country and all were happy.  We had about 15 movies ripped onto it. It is about the same size as the iPhone and was a bit lighter. '
In that case he chose the 32-gig drive, but this spelled out the apparent ease of sharing without problems.  We'll see.  I'll try the smaller one out soon.

Here's the downloadable Wi-Drive app for KindleFire, which you can order this way and it'll be ready for your Kindle Fire.  Or, after checking this app page, you can just get on the Kindle Fire, go to "Apps" and then click on "Store" at upper-right and search for it and download it there.
  But it's simpler to just click on the product page's download box and get the app ready for your Kindle Fire to install (and the record of $0.00 'purchase' is on your server records already that way).

Kingston offers a downloadable Wi-Drive for Kindle Fire User Manual in PDF format

Kingston's press release of Jan. 10 recommends their (high definition) YouTube VIDEO about the Wi-Drive.

Any video you play on the Kindle Fire, whether from a DVD or from your personal videos, must be converted to MP4 first.
  Conversion's no longer needed, as there is an app you can get from Amazon which plays almost ANY kind of formatted personal videos from your cameras or videos from Youtube.

  That app is "BSPlayer" and, as mentioned, it's in the Amazon appstore.

  I describe it in a blog article Nov. 15, 2012.

People outside of the U.S. can get this app from 1mobile.com and other secondary appstores.

 I've had great luck with the extremely flexible and ultra-effective Tools4Movies' DVD Catalyst 4, which is easily the best one of the several I tried and worth much more than the $9.95 price.  Another one, which is not as flexible but which has the easiest 'joining' of mp4 files I've encountered, is Emicsoft, but it's $35 and the author won't give you a full file result with the Trial copy.  Tools4Movies' DVD Catalyst has the most responsive, quality tech support I've experienced while Emicsoft comes with virtually no support.

  UPDATE [1] -- Video Converter tools
  I've asked the knowledgeable Amazon Kindle Forum members what good, free or low-cost utilities they know of for converting videos to mp4 and have already received very good information from L. Leverton, Pineapple, Tink-erbell. Q, cicsos2, and kwajkat in that forum thread.

  So far, DVD Catalyst 4's full $9.95 version (vs free versio)n, stands out.  L. says:
' It now has new Fire upgrades that do some amazing things.  It can eliminate the gray bar and make it a full screen video among other things.  I tried it again yesterday on the Liam Neeson Unknown movie.  I stuck the dvd in the drive and selected kindle fire as the device and selected go.  It was done in a matter of minutes and was great. '
  L. also mentions seeing a new Movie Gallery app that was $2.00 ... so there's another possibility.

  Visit that thread for any additional very useful input from the members there.  

  (Later) I've seen more recommendations and the fact that DVD Analyst has a rep for very good customer service.  Apparently, their Movie Gallery 2.0 feature allows you to keep videos there for later streaming by you, which would be a good feature for non-Amazon videos you have.  Amazon will store, free, up to 5 gigs of any of your non_Amazon video files but not stream them, and of course 5 gigs of videos don't go that far.  

  UPDATE 4: Highrider, in another forum thread, writes, about DVD Catalyst:
' It has a drop down menu to select the device you want the video formatted for.  You can select the Kindle Fire from the list and then choose one of several quality formats.  I've had the best luck with what they call Kindle Fire (fast).  Haven't had one fail to play after using this setting and it's formatted to 1024x600 already to fit the Fire screen '
[End of Update 4]

UPDATE 5 - kwajkat described Maxell's AirStash, a flash thumb-drive that comes with 8 or 16 gigs of memory and data is stored on SD cards. &bnsp;This is $149 to $179 depending on how much internal memory you want to use for running it, but you'd have access to several 16 or 32 gig SD cards this way.

  HOWEVER, I read that you must switch to this drive's network and turn off the Kindle Fire's Internet access, and the AirStash's access when the AirStash is itself connected to your WiFi router, is limited, though there are utilities that can improve that.

  The customer reviews are less positive for this but it's still a strong competitor, except that you cannot do the Net while it's attached unless it is itself connected to a WiFi network.

  The Wi-Drive has a 2nd wireless built in that allows your connected Kindle Fire to work with it while the KFire is connected to the Internet

  Also, the AirStash uses WEP security only, not WPA, so is considered less-secure in public places.  The SD card switching is a great feature though.
I'd like to hear any comments pro and con that you have, on either device. Thanks.  [End of Update 5]

  HandBrake - This is a free converter very useful for resizing segments when you run up against contraints such as the 4-gig file-size maximum on the FAT system (which is used by the KindleFire device), but users get only 5.5 gigs for user data on that anyway.  It's a very good adjunct to your video converter toolbox but is not known as the easiest program to use otherwise.

This Kingston Wi-Drive info should be good news for many :-)
  If you have any first-hand experiences with this, now that it's available for the Kindle Fire (or even with Apple devices in the past), let us know in the Comments area. Thanks.

Apple users who don't already know about this unit might benefit from it also.

Updated 10/17/12

Current Kindle Models for reference, plus free-ebook search links.
NOTES on newer Kindles.

Updated Kindle Fire Basic  7" tablet - $159
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB - $199/$249
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 16/32GB - $299/$369
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G 32/64GB - $499/$599
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $69/$89
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - $119/$139
Kindle Paperwhite, 3G - $179/$199
Kindle Keybd 3G - $139/$159, Free but slow web
Kindle DX - $379 $299, Free, slow web
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £69
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - £109
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi
Kindle Paperwhite 3G, UK
Kindle Fire 2, UK
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB, UK
OTHER International
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $89
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB

Boutique Kindle
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Italia - Kindle Store
Spain - Tienda Kindle

* Kindle Fire HD to be released October 25, 2012 in listed European areas above;
    Paperwhite to be released November 22, 2012 there.

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  1. Thanks for this information. I think the AirStash would be of more interest to me (potential to use digital camera SD card to view/edit photos/video without an intermediate device) but it does have the downside of not having 'Bridge' mode. Maybe they will update to add that feature. Or maybe there will be a Wi-Drive model with an SD slot at some point, as I'm sure Kingston has SD cards they'd be happy to sell.

    I can wait and see, as I don't have any immediate requirement for either device. Still it is nice to see that there are such storage expansion options for Fire (and indeed for any iOS/Android device). It's hard to anticipate future storage requirements, and the addition of simultaneous access gives it a dimension that just having an SD slot on the device doesn't provide.

    Have you used Wi-Drive in 'Bridge Mode'? I wonder how it handles proxied connections (where wifi is not secured, but you need to launch a browser to login and get a functional IP).

  2. Yes, I can be at a restaurant with no wifi, and showing friends some new videoclips or images or whatever, and they can view it on their own devices (with the Wi-Drive app that is free) as it provides the WiFi for those others. I was able to do that last night.

    And it's pocketable. To update the AirStash they'd need to build in a 2nd wireless element, as Kingston did.

    Yes, it's easy to put into bridge mode. You just connect the WiFi (using your KFire or Android device) to the WiFi network you have. Then it reboots and after that you have access to the Wi-Drive and to the Net both. I was impressed. It's very capable in being able to stream 1280 Apple TV HD mode well to the two Samsungs I have and to my Kindle Fire. The original HD FlipMino HD files don't play correctly though on the Kindle Fire (nor with the Miro conversion). Since the Kindle doesn't have HD capability that might be a reason why but it plays the linked original files, once merged with Apple TV HD 1280x720 option, very smoothly, on its 1024x600 screen.

    The Wi-Drive itself can be secured with WPA/WPA2 but it has to be the same (WEP or WPA) as your WiFi network is using. Mine is using WEP. No mixing. I logged in to do this witih the streamed-to device, whether Kindle Fire or my Samsung devices. I don't do banking though in public WiFi places...

    If the WiFi that it and my attached device(s) will logs into is not secured, we just have to be careful.

    I think it doesn't, at this point, recognize non-advertised SSIDs.


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