June 10, 2007 9:00 PM PDT

Wi-Fi memory cards coming to cameras

Wi-Fi memory cards coming to cameras
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Think of it as point, shoot and post.

In the fall, start-up Eye-Fi plans to release Secure Digital memory cards with integrated Wi-Fi chips. With the card, digital cameras will be able to automatically send photos to home PCs or to photo-sharing Web sites.

The company is negotiating with about a dozen Web sites to allow direct uploads from cameras containing the cards, Eye-Fi founder and CEO Yuval Koren said.

The card is set to cost about $100. Although he did not clarify their memory capacity, he strongly indicated that they would hold about 2 gigabytes. Many current cameras won't easily accommodate larger cards, which have a slightly different format, he said. After 2GB, people should be downloading anyway, he added.

The company also recently landed $5.5 million in venture funding from Opus Capital and Shasta Ventures.

The idea for the company came from a wedding in 2004, Koren said. All of the guests were taking pictures.

"Everyone promised to share them, but a year later, I still hadn't seen the photos," he said.

Eye-Fi's cards are designed to conform to the standard SD card size; the cards contain enough spare real estate to incorporate a Wi-Fi chip. The networking functions on the card shut down when photos aren't being sent in order to save battery life.

Because the wireless functionality resides on the card, the networking functions won't interfere with the camera, the company said. Thus, people can keep snapping away without worrying about the Wi-Fi chip hogging the camera's processor. Users will be able to set the profile of the card to direct it to send photos either to a PC or a Web site, as well as whether to send the photos as they get taken or at the end of a photo session.

So far, cameras with integrated Wi-Fi have not been a monster hit with consumers. At $100, the Eye-Fi card will be far more expensive than generic SD cards. Currently, 2GB cards can be found for $29 or less, and flash prices continue to descend. A 4GB card can be bought for $70.

Density is going up too. However, Koren asserted that some consumers will go for the added functionality of Wi-Fi rather than for more storage.

Finding public Wi-Fi spots for downloading often isn't easy, either. "The focus will initially be on the home network," Koren said. Now people simply use the free USB cord that comes with the camera to connect their camera in the home.

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7 comments

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Or bring a laptop to the wedding...
You could just bring a laptop with a card reader to the wedding and have people transfer pictures at the wedding.
Posted by jeolmeun (49 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Better yet...
...don't even buy a camera! When you see something you want to remember, just put your finger up to your brain and say "I'm taking a mental picture."
Posted by QuetzalcoatlUSA (120 comments )
Link Flag
Don't need a laptop...
You just need to get one of these...
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.uniconsys.com/mbridge.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.uniconsys.com/mbridge.html</a>

Carlos.
Posted by cbazza (90 comments )
Link Flag
feature overload
It's only been in the last couple of years that digital slr's have been cheap enough and worked well enough that people would own them, so the first generation of serious amateur digital users is still in training and there's really a lot for them to master. This is an outstanding feature and the price is by no means unreasonable, but people need time to digest it all. I was an expert at using my film slr's back in the day but I still forget how to work my digital camera from time to time...
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
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Subject
RoadMate 360 employs Magellan's TrueFix technology to ensure reliable accuracy within three meters. TrueFix tracks 12 GPS satellites plus two Wide-Area Augmentation Satellites (WAAS) to find your position on the map, so you'll always know where you are and where you're going. And the maps are easy to decipher thanks to the 2.9-by-2.2-inch high-resolution TFT LCD full-color display. <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.highspeedsat.com/roadmate360.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.highspeedsat.com/roadmate360.htm</a> The display's three guidance screens include TrueView, which shows a detailed view of the actual road layout, with upcoming turns and info on intersection maneuvers; MapView, with super-bright, easy-to-read, zoomable icons and text dispersed on a detailed, high-resolution map; and a Maneuver List, which tells you when and where to expect turns along the route.
Posted by maestrogps (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Great article
Posted by rifralex (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Can it be possible that a smart Tv having a Memory Chip with built in wi-fi so we could transfer movie or music directly to the TV memory card and then enjoy watching/ Listening? This would be good over continuously swapping Pen Drives to TV & Computer...
Posted by Ashit_Roy (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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