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Wi-Fi router functionality coming to Eye-Fi X2 cards this week (updated)  
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 | by Rob Galbraith
Eye-Fi has announced that Direct Mode, the Wi-Fi router functionality announced in January for its line of memory/Wi-Fi combo cards, will be available later this week. It will enable any X2-series Eye-Fi SDHC card to act as an infrastructure-type Wi-Fi hotspot, complete with WPA2 security and DHCP server functionality.

Direct Mode will come in a free firmware update for all X2 models and will enable devices such as Apple's iPad, iPhone and iPod touch to establish a wireless link with an Eye-Fi card, without requiring a separate wireless router. Pictures can then be transferred direct to the device, either to an app like ShutterSnitch or to Eye-Fi's upcoming Direct Mode-supporting apps for iOS devices and Android.

eyefi_x2_mobile.jpg
Eye-Fi has also retooled its X2 lineup, which is now comprised of the Connect X2 4GB and new Mobile X2 8GB, which differ only in their capacities, and the Pro X2 8GB, which will be reduced in price from about US$150 to about US$100 sometime in the next two weeks or so (and will therefore effectively eliminate the similarly-priced Explore X2 8GB in the process). The Apple Store-exclusive Geo X2 4GB continues to be available.

Update, April 12, 2011, 8PM MT: The Pro X2 8GB's price, which was listed as US$99.99 on the Eye-Fi website earlier today, has jumped back to US$149.99. While we still expect it to drop to US$99.99 and stay there, as per Eye-Fi's announcement, the price switcheroo probably reflects a premature edit to Eye-Fi's site and that the US$99.99 price will roll out, as the press release notes, "starting this month," once all dealers are notified and the new lower price can be implemented. Also note that the going rate in the U.S. for the Pro X2 8GB appears to be about US$120 at some retailers this week, thanks to an instant rebate in effect through April 16, 2011.

Update, April 17, 2011: The US$99.99 price for the Pro X2 8GB appears to be propagating to U.S. retailers now.

A chart comparing the feature sets of the Connect X2, Mobile X2 and Pro X2 is here. As before, the Pro X2 is the only Eye-Fi card that supports the wireless transfer of RAW format photos, and is the only one that can connect to ad hoc wireless networks as well. This latter feature, however, is going to be supplanted in large measure by Direct Mode, and is probably part of the explanation for the Pro X2's pending price drop.

The Eye-Fi Mobile X2 is to ship next week. The free firmware update that enables Direct Mode in X2 cards is to come available through the Eye-Fi Center software later this week.

More information is in the press release below.

Update, April 12, 8PM MT: While Eye-Fi's press release says the Direct Mode firmware update is due out this week, other information from Eye-Fi we've seen today refers to the Direct Mode firmware update coming available later, either in the week of April 25 or sometime in the next several weeks. We're assuming, or at least hoping, that the press release is correct, and have asked Eye-Fi for a clarification.

Update, April 13, 12PM MT: Eye-Fi's PR person has confirmed that the Direct Mode firmware update is pegged for release later this week, as stated in their press release. The mobile apps, however, will not emerge until later, sometime in the next several weeks.

Update, April 17, 12:00PM MT: Eye-Fi's Berend Ozceri indicates the Direct Mode firmware update for X2 cards won't be available for several more days.

Press Release

WHY WAIT? NEW EYE-FI MOBILE X2 CARD GIVES CAMERAS THE POWER OF INSTANT UPLOADS
New Direct Mode Technology and Eye-Fi Mobile Apps Now Available as a Free Upgrade to All X2 Cards

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., April 12, 2011 — Eye-Fi Inc. (www.eye.fi), makers of the world’s first wireless memory card, today launched the Eye-Fi Mobile X2, a new 8GB wireless memory card empowering cameras around the world with immediate uploading capabilities. The Eye-Fi Mobile X2 provides instant uploads anywhere by wirelessly connecting the camera to a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, and is available later this week for $79.99.

“Direct Mode helps us bridge the gap between classic digital imaging and the exploding world of mobile devices,” said Jef Holove, CEO of Eye-Fi. “With Direct Mode, the pervasive connectivity of mobile is made available to existing cameras.”

Later this week, Eye-Fi will be releasing its Direct Mode and accompanying iOS and Android apps as free upgrades to its line of Eye-Fi X2 cards. With Direct Mode, users can enjoy the best of the devices they already own, namely the quality of digital cameras and the ubiquitous connectivity of their mobile devices. The Eye-Fi card can now establish a direct connection to the mobile device by creating its own Wi-Fi network anywhere users capture memories, even if that is miles from a Wi-Fi hotspot. Whether they are hiking or at the beach, consumers can now send photos and videos directly from their digital camera to the Eye-Fi app on their smartphone or tablet, enabling them to back up, edit and share their memories in the moment.

“When we undertook a redesign of the Eye-Fi card line a little over two years ago, the new X2 card platform promised users the potential for new, exciting capabilities over time. Today we see another one of these revolutionary capabilities come to life: Direct Mode,” says Yuval Koren, co-founder and chief product officer of Eye-Fi.

Direct Mode benefits extend beyond device-to-device transfers. Whether users want to edit their memories using the myriad of apps on their mobile devices, back them up those memories on their home computer, or save them in a private Eye-Fi account, they now have the flexibility and control of where, how and when the media is stored, edited and shared.

Eye-Fi Mobile X2 will be available for pre-orders immediately on Amazon.com, and available at Apple and Best Buy stores nationwide for $79.99 on April 17, 2011. Direct Mode will be available as a free upgrade to all Eye-Fi X2 cards later this week, along with accompanying free mobile apps for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. The Eye-Fi Pro X2 will be reduced from $149.99 to $99.99 starting this month.

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, Best Buy, Target, Office Depot and Apple stores nationwide and online. For more information about Eye-Fi, please visit www.eye.fi.


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