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Tiny USB server runs on batteries, streams to iOS, Android devices

Jan 23, 2012 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 15 views

HyperShop has begun selling a pocket-size, battery-powered adapter that turns a USB storage device into a wireless file server, sharing files with Wi-Fi-enabled devices including the Apple iPad and iPhone. The $100 CloudFTP runs Linux on a Texas Instruments ARM9-based processor, features a 132 x 32-pixel LCD display and powered USB port, and supports backup and synchronization with online cloud storage services.

Earlier this month, Hypershop announced it had met its funding goal for CloudFTP on KickStarter, which has spawned projects ranging from Romotive's Android-based Romo robot to Upgrade Industries' Arduino-compatible BoardX modular motherboard kit. At the time, the company said it was entering production, and it is now taking orders for the product.


Measuring a wee 2.95 x 2.28 x 0.87 inches (75 x 58 x 22mm), the CloudFTP device connects and powers any USB mass storage device — including USB hard drives, flash drives, card readers, and digital cameras — via its powered USB port. The device can then stream the data to other devices using its WiFi 802.11b/g/n access point. 

By default, CloudFTP — shown at right in production — creates its own ad-hoc Wi-Fi network. Wi-Fi-enabled devices can join this network and access the USB storage device wirelessly via an HTML5 web app, a dedicated iOS or Android app, or an FTP client, says HyperShop.

As an alternative, CloudFTP can be made to join an existing Wi-Fi network to share data with devices on the same network. In this configuration, CloudFTP can automatically connect to the Internet in order to backup and sync the USB data with online cloud storage services such as iCloud, Dropbox, and, says the company.

CloudFTP is specifically said to support up to three simultaneous "iDevices" at the same time, including the Apple iPad and iPhone. It's unclear whether this claim includes other type of devices, such as Android phones.

HyperShop's other products, including the HyperJuice, HyperShield, HyperDrive, and HyperThin, are designed as accessories for iOS-based devices. A Wired report says the device is intended as a cheaper, more portable alternative to similar Time Capsule and Airport Extreme products.

CloudFTP conceptual diagram

(Click to enlarge)

CloudFTP is based on an unnamed Texas Instrument ARM9 processor of unstated clock rate, possibly an OMAP-L138. No memory stats were listed, but the device is said to offer a 132 x 32-dot mono display, a 480Mbps, powered 5V/1A USB 2.0 host port, and a WiFi 802.11b/g/n access point. The 3.8-ounce (109-gram) device can run on a built-in 2600mAh battery for up to five hours, claims HyperShop.

CloudFTP exploded view

(Click to enlarge)

The Linux-based server supports FAT32, NTFS, HFS, HFS+, exFAT, and EXT 2/3/4 file systems, says the company. HyperShop plans to release a software development kit (SDK) for third-party developers to "realize new features, extensions and plug-ins for the CloudFTP," says the company.


CloudFTP is available now for $99.95– or $69 for KickStarter financial backers of CloudFTP — with delivery expected in four to six weeks. More information on CloudFTP may be found at HyperShop's CloudFTP product page, as well as its CloudFTP launch page on KickStarter.

Eric Brown can be reached at [email protected].

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