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Eye-Fi's SD Wi-Fi to go (beta)

Eye-Fi's SD Wi-Fi to go (beta)

When Wi-Fi for cameras first emerged, it didn't work well, sometimes entailing awkwardly long SD adapters, and wasn't all that we'd hoped it would be. Now, as camera makers are refining their Wi-Fi offerings and putting it into more cameras, such as Nikon's new Coolpix S7c, a company called Eye-Fi has made a 1GB SD card called Eye-Film with built-in 802.11g connectivity. It isn't available yet, the company doesn't explain exactly how it's really going to work, and there's no hint of pricing, but the blogging world is still abuzz. About the only thing the company has said is that it has no plans to offer the cards for PDAs or any devices other than cameras, though I'd imagine that would come eventually if they are successful in cameras. Plus an image in the solution portion of the company's site certainly hints that it has bigger plans.

Of course, since most cameras with built-in Wi-Fi include a fair amount of control through their menus, it's hard to imagine just how well a card like this will work, especially with existing cameras. And even if it does work well, without the level of control offered by something like the Nikon S7c, which is made to work with T-Mobile hot spots so that you can e-mail photos straight from the camera, it's hard to see how a simple card like this will be able to compete. The company says that the card doesn't require any upgrade to your camera and that "if your camera has been qualified by Eye-Fi, the card will just work." This leads me to think that the company is trying to work with camera makers to build support for Eye-Fi into future products, though the company hasn't said that explicitly. If so, there's a chance that this horse won't even get out of the starting gate, since a lot of camera makers seem content to do Wi-Fi on their own.

According to a post on Engadget, a beta test is expected to start this month, and details and sign-up procedures should be available within days. The Engadget post says that the SD card will come with a CompactFlash adapter, but a FAQ on the Eye-Fi site just says that a CompactFlash version of the product will follow after the SD version. If you want to be among the first to know about the beta test, the company has a mailing list you can join. As usual, as we find out any more deets, we will share them with you.