What is Portable Digital Storage?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Portable digital storage is a storage solution which is designed to be portable for people who are on the go. It consists of a portable hard drive which is designed to connect quickly and easily with devices such as cameras, laptops, and so forth. Many electronics stores offer portable digital storage devices, including devices which have been designed with specific uses in mind, such as photography or the storage of sound files.

An external hard drive.
An external hard drive.

The amount of room on the device varies. Prices for devices with large amounts of memory are always dropping, while the upper ceiling on available memory is constantly on the rise. Many portable digital storage devices communicate with USB, but some are wireless or use other communication methods to talk with the devices they connect to. The features on the device can vary; some have a limited file browser, for example, allowing people to see what is on the device, while others do not.

A USB drive.
A USB drive.

The simplest example of a portable digital storage device is an external hard drive or flash drive. In this case, the device may be powered by batteries, the devices it plugs into, or wall power, depending on the setting. When designed to be portable, these devices are lightweight and they may have protective cases so that they can survive drops and other accidents. The device usually has an indicator light to show when it is powered up, and the light flashes during data transfers so that people know not to disturb it.

A portable media player, which holds digital files.
A portable media player, which holds digital files.

Digital storage devices for photographers may also add an indicator light to show if the data is corrupted or good, and photography devices often take flash cards from camera memory to transfer images directly from the card. These devices can also include a browser, which on more advanced models allows people to look at the pictures stored on the device. Photo portable digital storage tends to be more costly, but it's still cheaper than buying memory cards with the equivalent memory capacity, and can be a good investment for a professional photographer or someone going on a trip.

Memory cards are used for digital media storage in digital cameras.
Memory cards are used for digital media storage in digital cameras.

It is possible to use a portable digital storage device for mixed media, including audio, video, still photography, and other types of files. Some are also designed to function as media players, combining an audio or video player, or both, with a hard drive which can store data. In this case, the user can select which percentage of the storage is used for media files to be played and which percentage is used to store data, and these percentages can be adjusted to meet varying needs over the life of the device.

Micro SD cards can easily be swapped between smart phones and cameras to store digital files.
Micro SD cards can easily be swapped between smart phones and cameras to store digital files.
Data CDs are a common portable digital storage device.
Data CDs are a common portable digital storage device.
Floppy disks were the original digital storage device for computers.
Floppy disks were the original digital storage device for computers.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: