Leyio launched a Personal File-Sharing Device recently–a small gadget designed to simplify the swapping of personal or business-related digital data between people. It’s clever, secure, and the first device to use UWB wireless. But guess what? It’s doomed.
Leyio is basically a super-smart 16GB thumbdrive, with a fingerprint reader and wireless capability. You store data files on it that are protected by fingerprint access, and when you want to share that data with someone you can do it in a number of ways. First, there’s a USB port and interface that lets you manage which data you want to move to or from a conventional USB memory stick. There’s also a built-in stick for secure, personalized file transfer: You push files to it, give it to someone, who later returns it–at that point the drive is automatically wiped so it’s ready to be used again, and those Sports Illustrated jpegs you shared with your workmate don’t show up when you use it to share family photos with your mum.
The gizmo also makes use of Ultra Wide Band radio tech–a short-range, high-bandwidth Wi-Fi technology that’s also used to create Personal Area Networks–to share data between Leyios. The devices are brought close together, they handshake after a few control clicks, and the files are rapidly transmitted and received.
Simple, undeniably useful and, as I noted, horribly doomed. For one, these devices are on sale for £160 ($240)–pretty expensive. And, for the wireless tech to be useful, the Leyio needs significant sales so enough people have one: A problem that dogged Microsoft’s Zune. I suppose if your company bought a batch of them, then that would work: But for personal use? Never going to happen.
And that’s simply because the smartphone will beat Leyio at its own game. Most smartphones can email files directly, and most have Wi-Fi, meaning with the right App, much of the Leyio’s functions can be replicated–there are already a handful that are available for the iPhone.