When teaching design, I would tell students to solve a problem with a personal solution. My advice was, “If you can’t be sexy, then be elegant”. You can’t miss with an elegant design solution. Leef Technology has brought elegance to mobile usability with their Bridge 3.0 USB drive. The purpose of the Leef Bridge is simple. It allows the ability for transferring files from a mobile device without a computer or any Bluetooth voodoo. In fact, you don’t need any adapters or special cables to perform this task.
The Leef Bridge is a mini USB 3.0 16 GB drive with a built-in Micro-B male USB port. It’s about 1½ inches long and can be tethered to a key-ring or simply kept in a USB pouch. While it can be used with any USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 computer, it is designed to work with Android 4.1 or higher and an enabled USB OTG (On-The-Go) mobile phone and tablet. This is probably because, Android and Windows 8 operating systems have file systems that are user accessible. So you will also need an app like ES File Explorer or ASTRO File Manger to move around in your device’s file structure. Windows 8.1 has a built-in file manager.
Transferring files from a mobile device to Leef Bridge is pretty straight forward. You simply open your file explorer or manager app and go to the folder and files you want to transfer. Than choose whether to move or copy the files. Next, select the Bridge as the destination location and that’s it. Keep in mind the speed of the transfer is based on the power of your mobile CPU and what other processes are going in the background. It's a good idea to restart your device to have more RAM available for processing. In my test, I wanted to push the Bridge. I took a 7 GB folder of images and copied it to the Bridge. This took about 15 minutes on my HTC EVO 4G LTE. While this may seem a bit slow, I don’t think I would normally be moving 17 folders with 5000 image files in the field. Yet, I was still able to use the phone while the transfer was taking place. Once files were on the Bridge’s 3.0 USB drive, transferring the file to my desktop computer was a snap, taking less than three minutes.
The engineers at Leef Technology say they will work on an iOS solution if those users ask for it. But, the folks over at Apple will need to work with Leef to really make that happen, so we’ll see. So, while the Leef Bridge 3.0 may not the sexiest piece of mobile gadgetry, Bridge offers an elegant and highly useful solution to an essential requirement for pro and advanced users alike.