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Toshiba to ship FlashAir wireless SDHC card this quarter  
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 | by Rob Galbraith
toshiba_flashair.jpg
Announced last September, Toshiba's FlashAir memory/wireless SDHC combo card is nearing release. It offers a capacity of 8GB, 802.11b/g/n wireless (and actual Wi-Fi throughput that's promised to be up to about 1.2MB/s), a Class 6 speed rating (suggesting that, as a memory card, it will not be especially fast) and wireless features derived from the recently-announced Wireless LAN SD standard.

These include the ability to act as either an access point, with basic web server functionality for browser-based access to the card's contents, or as a client device. It will also be capable of establishing a peer-to-peer link between two FlashAir cards and transferring files (including JPEGs, RAW files and movies) between them.

Note that the cards won't initiate this operation themselves, and it will be mainly up to host device makers, such as Canon, Nikon and others, to create an in-camera interface that brings this feature - and various others like it that are defined in the new Wireless LAN SD standard - to life. The same goes for upload to photo sharing services: Toshiba is expecting interested third parties, like the camera companies, to implement this if they see a benefit to doing so.

Similarly, for the FlashAir card to automatically transmit photos to an app like ShutterSnitch running on an iPad, ShutterSnitch will need to be updated to incorporate specific support for Wireless LAN SD commands.

The FlashAir card will include a Windows-only configuration tool that is used to adjust its access point settings, among other things. A Mac version is not being developed, though a Toshiba representative told us they will consider doing a version for Apple's computers if customers demand it.

At first glance, the FlashAir card appears to lag severely behind Eye-Fi's competing X2-series cards in several areas, including breadth of features, configuration software (especially if you're on the Mac) and mobile device-related capabilities. On the flip side, FlashAir is the first such card that can claim full compliance with the SD spec, plus Toshiba is touting lower power consumption for FlashAir, while actively transmitting, relative to Eye-Fi's products.

The Toshiba FlashAir 8GB SDHC card is to ship globally in February or March of this year, with an expected street price in the U.S. of about US$60-65. Toshiba in the U.S. is still working out where the FlashAir card will be sold, though Amazon is likely to be on the list of retailers. Unlike its other memory card products, which are sold in North America mostly under other brand names such as Delkin and Kingston, the FlashAir card will at launch be Toshiba-branded in all regions of the world.
Related articles  
Related coverage of this topic includes:
  • Eye-Fi CEO says patented technology violated by Wireless LAN SD standard (January 20, 2012)
  • Eye-Fi to SD Association: our intellectual property is not available (January 12, 2012)
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