Next to the Flip Video Ultra, the one white-and-orange geegaw that had people yapping rapturously this year has been the Eye-Fi, the SD card that added Wi-Fi to any camera. It was cheap, it worked well, and it added features that should have be de riguer in cameras for years.
Now the company has announced two models and rebranded the original as the “Eye-Fi Share.” A low-end model comes in as the “Eye-Fi Home,” which only works a cable replacement, not an uploading tool to photo sharing sites like Flickr.
The one most people will be picking up is the new $130 “Eye-Fi Explore,” which adds geo-tagging using the same quasi-GPS that is in the iPhone and the ability to upload to your preferred photo sharing site at any one of 10,000 Wayport Wi-Fi hotspots in the US free for one year. Since there is no way to access the Eye-Fi Explore once it’s in your camera, the service will send you an SMS or email once the uploads have completed.
It’d still be nice if these cards could connect to any open Wi-Fi hotspot and upload pictures automatically — a simple “I can upload” light on the back or a status JPG browsable by the camera would suffice — but for obvious reasons I understand why they don’t offer that capability. Still, since I suspect the difference between the three models of Eye-Fi are simply software, not hardware, I wonder how challenging it would be for someone to write a firmware that does just that.