Personal storage is often back-breakingly boring, but Sony's managed to hot-up the solution with one-touch NFC connectivity from its 1TB wireless server.
Okay, so it's not totally hotted-up as the "Personal Content Station LLS-201" - which we'll refer to as PCS - namesake quickly attests. But this white-finish device does look rather cool - it's reminiscent of a miniature London Olympic velodrome, or some strange alien mothership.
Only you won't find alien cyclists spinning around on the inside. Nope, instead it'll be full of your content spinning on its 1TB drive, which can be delivered in several ways: one touch NFC, Bluetooth, DLNA across a local Wi-Fi network, via the USB port or by using the SD/MemoryStick card slot. There's even Sony Entertainment Network (SEN) support. All you need to do is download a free app - called PWS Manager - on your device in order to communicate the transfers.
But this app doesn't have to be installed on a Sony-specific or, indeed, Android phone - which are supported of course - as iOS will be supported too (except, obviously, NFC won't be). However there's no plan at the moment to expand this to Windows Phone, according to a representative on the Sony stand at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
We saw a demo of photo sharing via the Sony Xperia Z's NFC (near field communication) facility. One quick press of phone to PCS and it was possible to transfer shots. The app avoids duplicating files in the PCS's library too, while the application can also control the other forms of input - click "card", for example, and it's possible to select and channel data directly from an SD card inserted into the PCS device.
READ: Sony Xperia Z review
Content can be stored just as on a hard drive, but the PCS does more than that: it's able to transcode video into MP4 for playback so that it's ready to roll out across other devices. Think about it, if you have a Sony DSLR camera that shoots AVCHD (ie, in the MTS format) then it's not really readable at source by almost any program. The PCS can convert this to an MP4 file at 1080p60 as it imports for quick playback on other devices. Cool stuff.
Output is possible too: the rear HDMI port supports Dolby Digital so those high-quality movie files can be pinged direct to a TV or smart device via your network. If you don't want to use the hard wire then files can also be picked up and streamed over the network.
The PCS plugs in directly via an Ethernet cable - it's not visible in our sample shots, however, as this prototype version had one hanging out of the bottom for the time being - which we're assured will be repositioned to a consumer-friendly point in the final device. There's also a WEP button for security control.
We're not entirely sure why the PCS is the size it is, however. We're sure it could be smaller in order to be that bit more discreet, yet the very idea of this device is to have it on display for the NFC appeal. It's not that it looks bad - we rather like the swooping curves - it just ought to be a smidgen more shrunken.
The 1TB Sony Personal Content Station will be available in the UK from the summer, but Sony was unable to deliver comment on the anticipated price point.