Sonnet recently started shipping its QIO, which has some interesting prospects for P2 users. The QIO is supposed to be a high-speed card reader, with slots for two P2 cards (along with slots for Sony SxS cards, and CompactFlash cards too). But the QIO is also an eSATA expansion box, providing four eSATA ports that you can use to attach fast hard drives.
So how is this useful to you? Well, you can take the QIO out into the field, and attach it to a laptop — such as a Macbook Pro — by way of the QIO’s ExpressCard/34 connector card. Once the QIO is attached, you can then use it to connect eSATA hard drives to your laptop, which are about 1.5x faster than FireWire 800 drives, and almost 3x as fast as USB2 drives. Now, you can offload your P2 cards at higher speeds than you’d be able to manage using slower card readers (such as Panasonic’s upcoming PCD2 USB 2 single card reader) or with slower hard drives.
By the way, the Sonnet’s SxS card slots double as ExpressCard/34 slots, so if you have an additional ExpressCard/34 card for your laptop (say, a cellular modem), you can piggy-back it off the QIO.
That’s the theory, at least. I just got a loaner unit from Sonnet today, and will be testing its P2 offload speeds in the next few days, among other features. Stay tuned…