MBLOK is a wireless flash drive for iOS that fits in your pocket

By , May 20, 2014

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May appears to be the month of Kickstarter campaigns featuring products that eliminate the need to use iTunes for transferring files between a Mac or PC and iPhone or iPad. Last week it was the iStick flash drive with a built-in Lightning connector, and this time around we’re taking a look at the MBLOK wireless storage and flash drive by a team of students and entrepreneurs from Waterloo, Canada. Take a look… 

MBLOK is a wireless storage and USB 2.0 flash drive that is slightly larger than your average Lego block. Instead of transferring files between devices manually, you can plug the MBLOK into your computer and upload files to it as you would with a traditional flash drive. You can then wirelessly pair an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with the drive using Bluetooth to stream movies and music or access files on the go. In fact, most Android or Bluetooth 4.0 devices are supported. BlackBerry and Windows Phone remain stretch goals.

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While users are increasingly turning to the cloud for file storage, an advantage of the MBLOK is that it lets you access documents, music, pictures, videos and more without an internet connection. Up to seven devices can be wirelessly paired with the drive at once, which is useful for group sharing and collaboration. If you still prefer using the cloud, the drive can be synchronized with Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive.

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MBLOK storage is private, secure and protected with AES 128-bit encryption, with theoretical transfer speeds up to 24 megabits per second. The flash drive also boasts an impressive battery life of up to 300 hours on a single charge. MBLOK works with older Bluetooth versions, but expect battery life and transfer speeds to be impacted. A 550 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery is used.

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Another advantage of MBLOK is that it expands the available storage on your device, yet it is small enough to carry with you at all times. The flash drive is ergonomically designed out of anodized aluminum, and engineered with rounded edges that slide into your pocket and a hinged USB plug that pops out only when needed. A proximity sensor will be accessible from your device in case you ever misplace your MBLOK, and it will also feature a battery percentage indicator, storage usage statistics and an update manager.

If you know a thing or two about how strict Apple is when it comes to third-party accessories, you might be curious as to how the MBLOK was accepted into the official MFi program. Simple: it is not a plug-and-play flash drive, since Apple does not allow that. Instead, the drive is sandboxed in the sense that it only works with the official MBLOK application from the App Store. This is definitely a limitation, but jailbreaking remains the only clear-cut way to obtain full read and write access to the iOS filesystem.

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The official MBLOK app that is required for this flash drive has several features, including a built-in app player for playing music and watching videos directly from the app. The player automatically categorizes files for later playback. The MBLOK app can also preview certain files, such as AutoCAD drawings, and has a full backup option for managing files between multiple devices. The app will be a free download on the App Store for iOS and Play Store for Android.

The eight-person team behind MBLOK has turned to the Kickstarter community to fund this product. The campaign has a funding objective of $120,000 Canadian ($110,000 USD), and as of writing it has currently raised over $60,000 CAD ($55,000 USD) towards that goal. Those interested can make a pledge of $189 CAD ($173 USD) for the 128GB model MBLOK or $279 CAD ($273 USD) for the 256GB model in emerald green or sapphire blue. Other incentives and rewards are offered at different pledge tiers. Shipping costs are extra.

It will be interesting to see if the MBLOK will be successfully funded over the next three weeks. The biggest upside to the flash drive is that iTunes is no longer required, but the fact that it is USB 2.0 and only works with one app from the App Store are two limitations that are hard to ignore. If all things go as planned, the official MBLOK app will launch on the App Store in January 2015 ahead of March 2015 shipments of the device. Check out the official Kickstarter campaign for further information.

Would the MBLOK be a worthwhile product for you?

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  • David Gitman

    meh

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      Pretty much!

      It’s only USB 2

      Works with one app only

      Costs $32 for only 8GB of storage space!

      • David Gitman

        Indeed

      • David Gitman

        Why have my comment got deleted? :0

      • Danial Sa

        what was that deleted comment?

      • econfan

        Hello Aidan, this is not MBLOK, it is just a regular flash drive.

        Kind Regards,
        Anton Kabanov

  • onesimpleclickk

    That looks extremely easy to misplace/loose.

    • http://www.idownloadblog.com/ Joe Rossignol

      It comes with a proximity sensor for that reason. Not sure how effective it works.

  • Montgomery Tyler

    very well design…

  • Filipe Martins

    a bit expensive, no?

  • @dongiuj

    And when you open it there’s a ring inside!

  • Farbod

    What app is that in the picture

    • http://www.idownloadblog.com/ Joe Rossignol

      I believe that both screenshots are of the official MBLOK app that will be available when this flash drive is released.

      • Farbod

        Thanks :)

  • rockdude094

    We don’t live in the 1970s ! There is no reason for a usb to be expensive… Unless apple makes it, then I’m all over that.

    • http://www.idownloadblog.com/ Joe Rossignol

      I agree, but in general I think a lot of Kickstarter products have inflated prices because you are not only purchasing the product, but also pledging money towards the company as a whole to support the manufacturing process and entire business.

      • econfan

        “our Kickstarter campaign funding will actually not be used for the manufacturing and development costs because it’s simply will look bad on us if we fail. The goal of our kickstarter campaign is to spread awareness…”

      • pdrake007

        But most campaigns I have seen / been part of have a reduced KS price for the campaign to try and get more people interested, I really like the sound of this device but the price is rediculous

      • econfan

        Hello Pdrake007, yes, that is true. However, in the case of Kickstarter, we are obliged to provide with MBLOK in the end – besides just telling you about it. If we could just have a signup list that permits you to pre-order for $10 deposit that would have been our choice. Unfortunately, Kickstarter did not allow us that option due to ban of “coupons”

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        You like the sound of that device? Check this (http://bit ly/1jzz70u) guy out, 10x the storage, yet cheaper…

  • Tony

    Wow talk about a massive ripoff. Why would anyone buy this? The price is outrageous.

  • Sachin

    So many kickstarts projects lately.

  • econfan

    Hello Ladies and Gentlemen, I am the founder of MBLOK and would like to address a couple of things if I may. MBLOK is a little costly due to memory- it is expensive ( 128 GB) costs $300 for any Apple product. In addition, that is for one device. We offer a central server for all devices. It is not a flash drive, it acts like whole entire device on its own with its own central processor. In addition, you can use that memory everywhere, with any device.

    Kind Regards,
    Anton Kabanov

    • Chun-Li aka ThunderThighs

      That’s a rip off. Difference from a apple device and this is I can use it daily while this is only for storing. 128gb is cheap and shouldn’t be this expensive for a “flash drive”.

      • econfan

        Hello Chun Li, the whole breakthrough with MBLOK is that you can use it on daily basis due to its small size and small battery consumption+ easy file transfer

        Kind Regards,
        Anton K.

    • http://www.eraser.org B. Braun

      64GB Micro SD is about 20$ so why is the memory in your drive so expensive?

    • Dan

      You are not Apple, why would you justify your price by comparing yourself to them? I don’t find Apple’s prices justifiable, so yours certainly are not.

      A 128 gb class 10 micro sd card can be bought for 45$, most likely you get it cheaper in bulk, where is the other 250$ going?

      Thanks, but no thanks.

      • econfan

        Hello Dan, as seen on Amazon, the price of a 128GB is $115. That is the cheapest I have found.

      • Dan

        Sorry if my comment came out harsh, but the reality of it is, imo the product you are selling is too expensive for what it is.

        As for the micro sd cards, a quick search on ebay will show that 128 micro sd are being sold as low as 35$. I bought mine a while back and it works perfectly. They are not brand names, but in my experience they have proved to be very reliable.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Calling it too expensive was just too kind of you, check this out (http://bit ly/1jzz70u).

      • Dan

        dead link

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Nope. Copy it to your address bar, then insert a . in the space. I posted it like that to avoid it being held for iDB moderation…

      • Dan

        Haha good point.

  • Anthony Gilera

    It looks like it came out of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. lol

  • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

    Wow, such iAccessories, much blatant rip-off, pass. Could get a 1TB USB drive for that price but I guess that’s the cost of being compatible with iDevices…

    • econfan

      It is not about just Apple. If you have android, you will need a cable, countless applications to manage your content. If you own a tablet (most likely it will be iPad) you will suffer greatly from different platforms and standards. However, if you feel that carrying a hard drive with you all of the time is fine, than that is your best bet. We understand that our product will not suit all.

      Kind Regards

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Sir, your stuff is a more compact, lower storage and higher price tag of this (http://bit ly/1jzz70u)…don’t know how to refer to it besides a ripoff…or you want to call it an iRipoff?

  • czbird

    Is there any such external drive that I can use for watching movies via nPlayer? I don’t need any another proprietary players when I already have one I’m happy with… Or a tweak that would mount such filesystem, so that it could be browsed with iFile… thanks.

  • Pedro Cambron

    what is the wallpaper on the iPhone?

  • Rares

    Anyone here knows a product similar to this but with a decent price? I actually need something like this.