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Transfer speed of Eye-Fi card to double with upcoming firmware update  
Monday, September 22, 2008 | by Rob Galbraith
eye-fi.jpg
Airborne: The Eye-Fi wireless SD card (Photo courtesy Eye-Fi)
Eye-Fi today has announced that their namesake product, the Eye-Fi wireless 2GB SD memory card for digital cameras, is poised to get a significant Wi-Fi speed boost.

On October 5, 2008, the company will release a free firmware update for all Eye-Fi cards sold to date that will double the rate at which it can transmit photos over a local Wi-Fi network, from roughly 350KB/second now to roughly 700KB/second once the free, user-installable update is loaded (note: KB=kilobytes).

If true - and we've previously found Eye-Fi's throughput estimates to be a pretty accurate reflection of the performance you can expect over a strong link to a nearby Wi-Fi router - this should noticeably increase the device's usability in a pro photography workflow (as long as sending JPEGs is of use to you; Eye-Fi won't transmit other formats, including RAW).

This firmware update will also be available to Lexar Shoot-n-Sync SD card owners (the Shoot-n-Sync is a rebranded version of Eye-Fi), though the October 2008 release of the Lexar product is such that some or all of early Shoot-n-Sync units may contain the new firmware right from the factory.

Also on October 5, the company will introduce the ability to upload photos to an Apple MobileMe account, without first making a pit stop in an iPhoto or Aperture library. This, says Eye-Fi's Yuval Koren, will make the Eye-Fi card one of the first products to take advantage of a new feature of MobileMe open to developers: direct upload of pictures to the gallery of a MobileMe member. It will be possible to make the destination gallery password protected, if desired. Adorama's AdoramaPix service also joins the list of online destinations supported by Eye-Fi.

Rounding out the October 5 changes in the Eye-Fi system will be the opening of service options to those with older Eye-Fi cards or who purchased a version of Eye-Fi that doesn't contain one or more of these services already. The three service options are:
Eye-Fi also plans to expand distribution of Eye-Fi cards outside the U.S. for the first time, beginning with Canada and Japan by the end of 2008.

More information is in the press release below.

Press Release

EYE-FI MAKES PHOTO UPLOADS TWICE AS FAST;
LAUNCHES CUSTOMIZED SERVICE UPGRADES

Also Adds New Photo Destinations; Cards Now Available at Best Buy Stores Nationwide


PHOTOKINA, COLOGNE, Germany, Sept. 23, 2008 – Eye-Fi Inc. (www.eye.fi), makers of the world’s first wireless memory card for digital cameras, today announced enhancements to its family of Eye-Fi cards that will make the upload of digital photos from camera to computer twice as fast. The faster wireless speeds will also be made available to existing Eye-Fi users at no extra cost. In addition, users will be able to upgrade their Eye-Fi cards to add the individual services they want, including Web sharing, hotspot access and geotagging.

“Faster wireless uploads and the ability to add new services to your Eye-Fi card are significant advancements in making it more convenient and rewarding to save and share digital memories,” said Jef Holove, CEO of Eye-Fi. “Even better, we’re able to offer this new convenience and flexibility to current users as well as new customers.”
Beginning October 5, new and existing Eye-Fi card owners can easily add features that are not already included on their cards and renew annual services.  By using the updated Eye-Fi Manager Web application, users can add the following services to their cards:

  • Web Sharing – Users who have an Eye-Fi Home Card can add Eye-Fi’s popular Web sharing service to send photos directly from their camera to one of more than 20 online photo sharing, printing, social networking or blogging sites using a wireless network, saving the time and hassle of manually uploading from the computer. Annual service fee: $9.99.

  • Geotagging – Users who have an Eye-Fi Home or Share card can add geotagging to their card.  Geotagging invisibly adds geographic information indicating where the photo was taken, allowing users to map where their memories were captured. Annual service fee: $14.99.

  • Hotspot Access – Users who have an Eye-Fi Share card can upgrade their card to automatically upload photos away from home at more than 10,000 Wayport hotspots and through open hotspots.  Annual service fee: $14.99.

Also announced today, Eye-Fi users will be able to upload photos directly to one of two new online photo destinations: Apple’s MobileMe and AdoramaPix. MobileMe members can wirelessly send photos from their camera directly to their MobileMe Gallery which can then be viewed by friends and family on the Web, iPhone, iPod touch and Apple TV. Available now, users will be able to upload photos directly from their camera to their AdoramaPix account, where they can edit, share and make prints. As a significant nationwide expansion, Eye-Fi cards will be available for purchase at more than 900 Best Buy stores throughout the United States, as well as at Circuit City, Ritz Camera Centers and major online retail sites.

By October 5, users will be able to enjoy Eye-Fi's faster upload speeds and service upgrades, automatically upload to MobileMe and purchase cards from Best Buy stores nationwide.

At the Photokina trade show in Cologne, Germany, Sept. 23-28, Eye-Fi will demonstrate its family of products in booth # B19b in the USA/Canada Pavilion, Hall 4.1.
Eye-Fi’s family of products include the Eye-Fi Home, Eye-Fi Share and Eye-Fi Explore cards with MSRPs ranging from $79-$129 USD. Eye-Fi cards have garnered numerous awards, including PC World’s “The 100 Best Products of 2008” and Yahoo! Tech’s “Last Gadget Standing 2008.” For more information, please visit www.eye.fi.

About Eye-Fi
Founded in 2005, the company is dedicated to building products and services that help consumers navigate, nurture and share their visual memories. Eye-Fi’s patent-pending technology works with Wi-Fi networks to automatically send photos from a digital camera 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.


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