Months after taking over external HDD manufacturer Fabrik (SimpleTech), Hitachi has unveiled a new pair of portable USB hard drives and a tiny adaptor that can turn them – or any other USB drive, for that matter – into basic NAS boxes. First up is the SimpleTough, a water and shock resistant drive designed to survive a three meter drop and the pressure of a one ton truck. It comes with a wraparound USB cable and houses a 2.5-inch drive in 250GB ($100), 320GB ($120), and 500GB ($150) sizes.

The SimpleDrive Mini offers the same capacities, minus the tough exterior. These drives come in multiple colors with free backup software and 2 GB of online storage. Prices in that family range from $90 to $140. But perhaps the most interesting release, and the one which really caught our attention, was the SimpleNet network storage adapter for easily sharing content over an Ethernet network.

It has two USB 2.0 host ports and a single 10/100Mbps Ethernet port. Just plug a USB drive and it’ll appear on your network so you can easily share your pictures, movies, songs and documents with everyone. The SimpleNet supports FAT32, NTFS, HFS+ and EXT3 file systems to satisfy Windows, Mac and Linux users, and on-board servers enable iTunes, FTP, and DLNA shares. At just $79, this seems like a pretty decent alternative to more expensive and feature-rich NAS solutions – especially if you already own an external hard drive.