Lytro unlocks Wi-Fi for shoot-and-share iOS app

It's the same camera it's always been, but a firmware update will now make it possible to share your living pictures on the go.

Lytro

Instead of ignoring early adopters of the Lytro light-field camera, the company continues to reward them with new features brought to life through occasional software updates .

Since the hardware itself hasn't changed, though -- the camera is still the same as it was when it became available a little more than a year ago -- any new hardware-related features have to take advantage of what was there from the get-go. That includes the latest feature to be unlocked: Wi-Fi.

A free software update via Lytro's desktop software is all that's needed to unlock the camera's wireless capabilities. The Wi-Fi can then be used to directly connect to iOS devices, letting Lytro owners preview and upload pictures to Lytro.com using either a cellular or Wi-Fi network.

Once updated, it only takes a couple of swipes and a tap to actually turn on the wireless in the camera, and a free iOS app handles the rest. (It's designed for iPhone and iPod Touch use, but can be used on an iPad at a reduced size.) With the app, you'll be able to preview and share shots on your camera and view your living pictures as well as those of others who have shared them on Lytro.com.

Lytro

When it comes time to share, you can use the app to push the image out to Lytro.com, Facebook, and Twitter, or send out a link in an e-mail or text. Also, the app can transform living pictures into 320x320-pixel GIFs, like the one shown here on the right.

Unfortunately, Android users (myself included) can't take advantage of the new feature; the app is iOS-only for the time being. An Android app is planned for the future, but there is no given release date.

Lytro says owners of the camera are overwhelmingly iOS users, which isn't a surprise considering the device worked only with Mac OS X for several months after it started shipping in March 2012.

Lastly, if you're asking yourself why it took more than a year for this feature to be available, Lytro says it wanted to deliver the best experience as possible. And, from what I've seen of it, Lytro has made using the feature as simple as possible. And, well, this is how long it took to get there.

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About the author

Joshua Goldman is a senior editor for CNET Reviews, covering cameras, camcorders, and related accessories. He has been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software since 2000.

 

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