Digital camera Wi-Fi memory card coming soon

June 11, 2007

Digital camera Wi-Fi memory card coming soon A soon-to-be released Secure Digital (SD) memory card with built in Wi-Fi networking will allow digital cameras to automatically upload images to home computers and photo sharing web sites.

Californian based company, Eye-Fi, recently secured $5.5 million in Series A funding to bring its Wi-Fi memory card to market. The Wi-Fi memory card is currently in beta, and is expected to be launched later this year.

“Digital cameras have made it very easy to take pictures, but it’s a chore to get photos off the camera to a place where you can print or share them,” said Eye-Fi board member Carl Coneybeer.

“This is a very real problem affecting both consumers who own digital cameras, and companies in the digital photography industry looking to boost profits. We see a huge market opportunity for Eye-Fi because anyone with a Wi-Fi network and a digital camera is a potential customer.”

At this stage it’s expected that the memory card will have a capacity of 2 GB and will sell for $US100, according to a report on NEWS.com. The Wi-FI function will turn itself off when not being used in order to save battery life.

Eye-Fi is said to be negotiating with a number of Web sites to allow direct uploading of images using the new Wi-Fi memory card.

There are currently digital cameras on the market that offer built-in wireless networking, but they haven’t exactly taken the world by storm.  Given that you can buy a 2GB memory card for less than US$30, you’ve got to wonder whether consumers will be willing to cough up US$100 just so that they don’t have to go through the hassle of hooking up a USB cable.

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26 Responses to “Digital camera Wi-Fi memory card coming soon”

  1. Bryan Elliott:

    Hm.

    That thing’s got to have a wifi card, a network stack and an smb server in it at the very least to be useful.

    But it probably doesn’t. Probably has some proprietary serve on it that I’ll need to wait a year to interface properly with.

  2. bob dobs:

    Wouldn’t bluetooth be way more convienient then to have to deal with the networking requirements of wifi? I love how I can send my pics via Bluetooth (works 1st try on every bluetooth capable computer i’ve tried pc/mac) from my phone, why not have that for cameras? Is the bandwidth much different?

  3. Phil:

    Am I the only one whose camera batteries get sucked up plenty fast without having to power a wireless signal.

    I’d almost bet 5.5 million that Duracell is pretty excited about this one.

  4. Flo:

    Re: Bluetooth

    Different story. While BT certainly is a very nifty tool for transmitting data between two clients at close range I have yet to see wide-range BT networking in the wild.

    Almost any notebook nowadays comes with Wifi, public access points are getting more and more widespread. Wifi offers quite a different coverage. Honestly I don’t see myself uploading images directly from the cam to flickr, but being able to pull images from two or three cams allover the location without having to hassle with the inadequacies of usb definitely would make me buy these things. Well, at least if they can be interfaced from Linux.

  5. John:

    Trouble is, Bluetooth is slow. Transferring huge images would probably take a day over bluetooth.

  6. RiCe:

    Is there coming CF version what would send pictures to PC when they have taked on studio? Only PRO DSLR cameras have this option and camera still need wireless adapter to camera to get it working. That would make big help for studios.

    Many DSLR cameras can transsfer picture to PC after shot to show it on big screen with cable but it is one cable more to flash-sync spagetti.

    80€ isn’t so much with Wlan support because 2Gb SD card only is about 10-20€ and those are still bretty slow for Canon S3-S5 what needs faster cards for videorecording, so more expensive cards are needed anyway (30-40€).

  7. David:

    They need to make a Compact Flash version of this for professional photographers. Right now, Canon sells a wireless add-on that costs nearly $1,000. That is outrageous, so I would be more than willing to pay $100 for the wireless option, especially in studio, so users view the proofs immediately.

  8. Dale:

    Let’s see, it may have potential if I am on vacation and I am filling up my SD card with photos but I don’t have a computer with me, then I could walk into an Internet cafe and upload them to my home computer? Or maybe I would just buy another SD card at a local store…

  9. George Gardner:

    Soon, we’ll be able to hack into others’ cameras and steal their photos. :) Is it encrypted?

  10. The Phantom:

    Depends what you’re doing, doesn’t it? A journalist can use this to publish “live” to a website or a blog, just need to be within 100ft of a network attached something-or-other, like maybe a laptop with a satphone, or have a buddy pointing a Pringles can antenna at him if they need more range.

    Still, wifi is somewhat limited. Wake me up when ths thing is WiMax capable.

  11. Joe Merchant:

    On price – I paid about $100 for every memory card I ever bought, including my 2GB, 512M and 64M card I bought years ago. $100 usually seems to be the “sweet spot” for most bits/$.

    On format – I have always used CF, seems like this trick would be easier to pull off in (the larger) CF format, and potentially have better performance in the end product?

    On convenience – Implemented properly, this couldn’t be better – just turn the camera on in the vicinity of any open (or configured) wifi access point and your personal server archives all new photos (uploads them to your Gallery to await editing / captioning?) and clears out space on the card for more pictures. In terms of labor saved, that alone would be worth the $100 price, assuming they get the software right. It also effectively boosts the capacity of the memory card by making it convenient to keep it empty.

    In reality, I expect the hardware will work more or less at launch time, and it will be 5 years or more before the clowns get anything resembling decent software to take advantage of the potential. Please prove me wrong.

  12. Jomomma:

    I am a professional photographer, and I have used the Canon ad-on for doing this for a couple of years. I love it because:

    1) in studio, I can check lighting, exposure, etc on the computer immediately w/o pulling the card, copying the image, etc. And my assistant can constantly check things as I work to make sure nothing get fubared while I am working (i.e giant dust spec gets on sensor changing lenses).

    2) I don’t have to use a runner whenshooting sports to carry the chip up to the pressbox for transmission to the bureau. And my assistant can constantly check things as I work to make sure nothing get fubared while I am working (i.e giant dust spec gets on sensor changing lenses) and with the 2-way radio, he gives me feedback on shots from the pressbox.

    3) Shooting anyplace I think I might get hassled, the laptop goes in the trunk with a car battery and inverter, and a wi-fi router with external antenna is turned on. So if some rent-a-cap busts my chops or some moron (like WTC cops) tries to delete images, no problem.

  13. Ryan:

    For me, this isn’t about ‘cameras’ and ‘photos’. Many devices that I have purchased or used recently are capable of supporting wi-fi, but do not come with CF slots, only SD. I’m sure the software support is not there yet, but if SD cards can be bundled with wi-fi, it will come, and I’d pay the $100 to be able to use these devices on any wireless network.

  14. JC:

    I would love this for my pocketpc/phone. It only has the one slot, and I don’t like loosing access to my files just so I can access the internet at home… This would let me have access to the wireless and still store my local files, and I like that option.

  15. Jonathan:

    I’d cough up the cash for that kind of functionality, no doubt. I’ll bet I’d also probably take more pictures, and do more webby/sharing/blah blah with them, too, if there was no wire.

    …now if someone can come up with GPS-enabled photo-tagging, too…

  16. Jeff:

    @The Phantom

    Mobile WiMax is giving speeds of about 2Mb in practice. That’s as slow as bluetooth (although with more range). Why would anybody care about WiMax (unless they live deep in the middle of the countryside)?

  17. EddyKilowatt:

    I stumbled in here on a Google for ["digital camera" bluetooth].

    It’s amazing to me that digital cameras are as capable as they’ve become, and yet users still have to futz with USB cables and card readers to offload them. Why do we have this little technical backwater in the otherwise-breathtaking world of digital camera tech?

    Look at the ubiquity of Bluetooth on cell phones. Who wouldn’t choose to just sit their camera next to the computer and have them pair up and download, if they could? Can it be THAT difficult to get a few hundred megabits/sec over a strictly-limited few feet? Wasn’t Bluetooth built to scale to this speed/distance level gracefully?

    Eddy

  18. Gary:

    Can’t wait for it to come out. I know they’ve started to create wi-fi digital picture frames (http://www.pixideal.ca/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=2751&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=76), so you can upload pictures on them from your laptop. Amazing.

  19. Chuck:

    Yeah, that’s true Gary. PixiDeal is really the best place to get your cameras and Digital Frames. Their website is nice also.

  20. asd:

    Would it be able to SMB with a remote PC so that any digital camera would view the SD card as if it had like 750GB of disk space?

  21. Jo:

    If you are looking to purchase any digital camera, camcorder, or accessories and need reviews and ratings go to this helpful site:

    ReviewView
    is a link .

  22. Gary:

    Nice review…….!

  23. Kari Lamos:

    I am pleased with this camera so much that I would recommend this camera to my friends, family and anyone else looking to buy. It’s a real beauty!

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