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Eye-Fi Direct Mode for X2 SDHC cards rolling out today (update 2)  
Sunday, April 17, 2011 | by Rob Galbraith
Eye-Fi is in the process of rolling out the Direct Mode router feature for its X2-series wireless/memory combo cards. Eye-Fi Center 3.3 for Mac and Windows, which is required to enable and configure Direct Mode, is now live. The Direct Mode-savvy Eye-Fi mobile app for Android is also available, in the Android Market (the updated iOS app, v2.0.1, is not yet showing in the iTunes App Store).

Direct Mode allows an Eye-Fi X2 SDHC card to become an infrastructure-type wireless router, complete with WPA2 security and a DHCP server. The new feature can be added to any X2 card through the installation of new firmware. Firmware v4.5201 is officially out for the Eye-Fi Mobile X2 8GB and - through a backdoor procedure detailed at the end of this article - for other X2-series cards as well.

eyefi_center_directmode.jpg
Direct Dial: The Direct mode tab of Eye-Fi Center 3.3, before updating to firmware v4.5201. Note that as of this writing, clicking the Update Firmware button as shown above does not prompt the download of the new firmware. A way to get firmware v4.5201 now, before it's officially released for most X2-series SDHC cards, is described at the end of this article

Eye-Fi's iOS and Android apps are not required to receive pictures from a Direct Mode card; pictures can transfer to a computer, as before, or to existing third party mobile apps that are Eye-Fi savvy, such as ShutterSnitch for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

To download Eye-Fi Center 3.3, launch an existing version of the program and, if not notified automatically of the new release, choose Check for Updates in Eye-Fi Helper menubar (Mac) or system tray (Windows). The full list of changes in v3.3 is as follows:

Version: 3.3.0 (17 Apr 2011)

Features:

  • Android and iOS app integration
  • Direct Mode integration
  • Casio TRYX (TR-100) integration.

Fixes:

  • Firmware Update Dialog timeout issue
  • Windows fixes for GMaps and ‘Open in Explorer’ link in detail view
  • DST issue with marking dates in the Calendar widget
  • Correction of overlay placement for thumbnails with 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios
  • Transfer Mode page in French locale
  • Duplicate ‘Eye-Fi card’ entry under the native menus on Windows
  • Displaying the correct transfer status for files being actively uploaded to a computer while the computer is offline

More information on Direct Mode and Eye-Fi's mobile apps:
A post in the Eye-Fi support forums by Eye-Fi's Berend Ozceri indicates that the Direct Mode firmware update is available today only for the new Eye-Fi Mobile X2 8GB card. Owners of other X2 SDHC cards, he says, will have to sit tight until sometime later this week for the firmware to materialize.

That's the bad news. The good news is if you're up for a simple workaround, you don't have to wait until Eye-Fi makes firmware v4.5201 officially available several days from now. Instead, just unregister your X2 card in Eye-Fi Center (right-click on the card's icon in Eye-Fi Center to access the unregister option). Then, when you begin the process of registering it again you'll be prompted to download and install the new firmware.

Update, April 19, 2011, 6:00AM MT: Eye-Fi has officially released the Direct Mode firmware for all its X2 cards, obviating the need to use the backdoor access described here.

eyefi_center_firmware.jpg
Backdoor: Updating the firmware in an Eye-Fi Pro X2 8GB. The card was first unregistered in Eye-Fi Center, then removed from and reinserted into the reader. When Eye-Fi Center recognized the now-unregistered card it brought up the firmware update dialog shown

There are two drawbacks to this. First, you'll lose all the pictures from that card you have stored in your Eye-Fi account. Second, you'll have to rename and partly reconfigure the card after re-registering it. If early access to the Direct Mode feature outweigh these drawbacks then give it a go. We've successfully updated both an Eye-Fi Pro X2 8GB and Eye-Fi Connect X2 4GB this way.

eyefi_center_directmode_settings.jpg
Ready: After installing firmware v4.5201, the Direct Mode tab in Eye-Fi Center comes to life

connecting_to_eyefi_card.jpg
Linked In: Connected to an Eye-Fi card in Direct Mode from an Apple iPad 2


Revision History
April 17, 2011, 12:30PM MT: Added information about availability of Direct Mode firmware.

April 17, 2011, 8:30PM MT: Added information about backdoor access to Direct Mode firmware.
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