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Putting WiFi into camera memory cards

It's a radio. It's a memory card. It's both.

Chip start-up Eye-Fi believes it's easier to put Wi-Fi into memory cards than into cameras.

The company has created a memory card that includes a Wi-Fi chip. When a picture is taken, the photo is automatically sent to a photo site, according to Ken Elefant, a partner at Opus Capital, which has invested in the company. (Ken told us about the product during a meeting in the middle of April. We then contacted the company, but they declined to comment.) The card fits the standard SD format because the memory chips are stacked.

One element that Eye-Fi is trying to integrate is automatic posting to your own photo blogs. When you get the memory card, you set the priorities so that the photos get automatically sent to your Flickr account, etc.

Eye-Fi believes it is an easier way to get Wi-Fi into cameras. So far, camera makers have been reluctant to put communications in many of their models.

The company, though, will also have to convince customers they will want to send their photos from the road automatically, and that they won't spend half of their vacation trying to send photos over a splotchy link. Wi-Fi can also tap battery power and raise the price of memory cards. And if the idea catches on, you can bet Samsung will try to bury the company. But an interesting idea nonetheless.