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Wi-Fi router functionality coming to Eye-Fi X2 cards (updated)  
Tuesday, January 4, 2011 | by Rob Galbraith
eye_fi_connect_x2.jpg

Eye-Fi has announced that later this year it will be possible to send photos from one of its SD memory/Wi-Fi combo cards direct to a supported smartphone, tablet or computer without the need for a separate wireless router or other device to kickstart the wireless link.

The feature, called Direct Mode, is part of an upcoming firmware update that will bring Wi-Fi router functionality to Eye-Fi's X2 cards.

Here is some additional information about Direct Mode, gleaned from an interview with Eye-Fi's Ziv Gillat today:

  • The upcoming firmware update enables an Eye-Fi X2 card to act as an infrastructure-type Wi-Fi hotspot, complete with secure access (WPA2 and perhaps other protocols will be supported) and DHCP server functionality.

  • The wireless link to the Eye-Fi hotspot will be established from your computer or mobile device the same as you would with any other Wi-Fi hotspot. For instance, on an iOS device you'll head to the Settings app, choose Wi-Fi, locate and select the Eye-Fi hotspot (the hotspot name will be configurable), enter the password (which will also be configurable) and you'll be connected.

  • Eye-Fi plans to release apps for both Android and iOS devices, and will be demonstrating the Android version at CES this week. These apps can receive pictures from the card and send them on to Eye-Fi's long list of sharing destinations.

  • The destination doesn't have to be Eye-Fi's app. It can be to a computer via the Eye-Fi Helper software for Mac and Windows, or it can be to another mobile app such as ShutterSnitch for iOS devices.

  • The Eye-Fi hotspot's impact on camera battery life is expected to be negligible.

  • All X2-series Eye-Fi cards, from the Connect to the Pro, will get the upcoming Wi-Fi hotspot functionality. This is likely to reduce or eliminate the need to use the ad hoc Wi-Fi feature of the Pro X2, though this capability will remain a part of the Pro's feature set.
No firm release date has been set for the new firmware, revised Eye-Fi Helper and the mobile device apps. A press release says only that Direct Mode will emerge "later in 2011." All will be made available at no charge to Eye-Fi X2 card owners.

More information is in the press release below.

Press Release

Great Images and Instant Gratification with Eye-Fi’s Direct Mode – THE Mobile Solution

New Card Technology and Eye-Fi App Enable Consumers to Get the Best of their Digital Cameras and Mobile Devices; Further Expands Eye-Fi’s Connected Ecosystem

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., January 4, 2011 — Eye-Fi Inc. (www.eye.fi), makers of the world’s first wireless memory card, today announced Direct Mode at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Leveraging a combination of new technology in Eye-Fi cards and new Eye-Fi mobile apps, Direct Mode enables consumers to bring together the imaging quality of a digital camera and the connectivity of a smartphone or tablet in an unprecedented way. This innovative solution wirelessly connects the camera to the mobile device to provide a seamless experience between the moment a memory is captured and when consumers want to browse, edit, save and share their memories.

“For anyone who has ever had to choose between taking great images with their digital camera and the instant gratification of sharing with a smartphone, Direct Mode is the answer,” said Jef Holove, CEO of Eye-Fi. “New technology in the card combined with a free Eye-Fi app on a mobile device means consumers no longer have to compromise between rich, lifelike memories and saving or sharing those memories from anywhere.”

With Direct Mode, photos taken with your digital camera can immediately be sent to your smartphone or tablet. They can be viewed, used with myriad apps on the device, or uploaded and shared.

In addition, photos and videos can automatically and wirelessly be backed up and organized in the consumer’s private Eye-Fi View account. From there, they are accessible for viewing and sharing from any Internet connected device – regardless of which camera they were taken with.

“We have a diversity of devices we use for different purposes,” continued Holove. “Digital cameras are just plain better at taking photos and videos, especially when lighting, action, or zoom distance affect the shot. But, there’s no doubt that the apps, touch interface and always-connected nature of mobile devices are compelling. With this new technology, we are bridging the gap between the camera and mobile, bringing the best of all the devices that we own to the capture and sharing of memories.”

Eye-Fi also extends the browsing and sharing experience by providing a seamless connected imaging experience through its own ecosystem of partners – from leading digital camera makers like Canon, Nikon and Sony to 45 popular photo sharing sites like Facebook, Flickr and Picasa. The result is millions of photos and videos being effortlessly shared from cameras each month.

Direct Mode will be available as a free upgrade to all Eye-Fi X2 cards later in 2011.

To see more, Eye-Fi will be demonstrating this new capability at CES at booth #3615 in the “Living in Digital Times” section of the North Hall.

For more information, visit www.eye.fi.

About Eye-Fi
Founded in 2005, Eye-Fi is dedicated to building products and services that help consumers manage, nurture and share their visual memories. Eye-Fi’s patented and patent-pending technology wirelessly and automatically uploads photos and videos from digital imaging devices, including digital cameras and the iPhone, to online, in-home and retail destinations. Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., the company’s investors include LMS Capital, Opus Capital, Shasta Ventures and TransLink Capital. More information is available at www.eye.fi.

Eye-Fi memory cards work like a regular SDHC memory card and are compatible with most compact and DSLR cameras. Users can also select which photos and videos are uploaded, and where they’re shared – choosing from 45 partner sites, including Flickr, Facebook, Picasa and more. Never run out of space with Endless Memory.

Eye-Fi products and services are now available at Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Office Depot and Apple stores nationwide and online. For more information about Eye-Fi, please visit www.eye.fi.


Revision History
January 4, 2011: Added more detail about Direct Mode from an interview with Eye-Fi's Ziv Gillat.

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