Imagine carrying the essence of a laptop in your pocket. That is the experience that's being promised by a small device called the Migo. Introduced by Forward Solutions, Inc.—a wholly owned subsidiary of PowerHouse Technologies Group, Inc.—the Migo is a key-sized, USB-based Flash-memory device. It plugs into a user's PC USB port, thereby capturing a user's entire PC environment (See Photo). It vows to replicate that personal desktop environment on any other compatible, Windows-based computer.
Unlike other Flash-memory devices, which store only limited files, Migo transfers a user's customized desktop. In other words, it includes the desktop background image with personal settings, Internet favorites, e-mail accounts, video clips, presentations, MP3 files, documents, and recently used files. That information and the data files are compressed and copied onto a USB memory stick.
The Migo can be inserted into any computer, making that machine a clone-away-from-home of the user's PC. If any changes are made to the files, they're written directly to the USB stick. When the user returns home, the Migo will synchronize the changes with the originating computer.
Migo supports operating systems from Windows XP through Windows 98SE. It has a storage capacity of 128 to 256 MB. Data-transfer rates of up to 1 MBps guarantee fast access to even the largest e-mail transfers. The only required interface is USB 1.1, which is common in all of today's desktop and mobile computers.
Corporations may be the biggest market for this virtual PC. Telecommuting corporate users can use the Migo to inexpensively do their office work at home. At around $150, it's much cheaper than a laptop or desktop computer.
Thanks to the Migo, corporate users can borrow a generic laptop from their Information Technology departments. After they insert the Migo, that laptop becomes personalized to them. Once the Migo is removed, the loaned laptop can be returned to the IT department and readied for the next user.
The Migo also boasts encrypted memory. Even if it's stolen, the data on it can't be recovered. To provide even more security, Forward Solutions is working on a USB stick with a built-in fingerprint scanner.
Perhaps the one drawback to the Migo is that it cannot duplicate network-access information. Take the case of an Outlook user who relies on corporate LAN or VPN access to an Exchange server. He or she won't be able to get or transmit new e-mail if the temporary computer doesn't have the same access. However, e-mail messages that are written offline are queued for sending once the Migo docks again at its primary machine. Forward Solutions sells Migo through a network of resellers called Forward Solutions Providers. To locate a provider near you, check the web site.
FWD Solutions, Inc.
2694 Bishop Dr., Suite 270, San Ramon, CA 94583; (925) 328-1100, FAX: (925) 328-1199, www.4migo.com.