Eye-Fi adds geo-tagging to digital camera Wi-Fi card

Eye-Fi Inc. , makers of the world's first wireless memory card for digital cameras, today announced the Eye-Fi Explore, allows users to automatically geo-tag and upload photos from more than 10,000 hotspots. This announcement surely does not come as a surprise to GPS Business News readers (read here our comprehensive feature about picture geotagging); however, it is interesting to see this solution being available as early as June 6 for the price of $129.

"The Eye-Fi Explore delivers the two enhancements most requested by our users,” said Jef Holove, CEO for Eye-Fi. "Our geotagging service automates what is today a compelling, though time-consuming and manual, experience. And, our hotspot access will allow travelers, bloggers, and anyone on the go to upload, share and save their pictures before they even get home.”

The size of a conventional SD memory card, Eye-Fi Explore allows users to automatically send photos directly from their camera to their PC or Mac, and to one of 25 online photo sharing, printing, social networking, or blogging sites using their home wireless network. Eye-Fi partnered with Wayport to enable hotspot connectivity (MacDonalds, hotels, Hertz offices,…) for the Eye-Fi Explore and with Skyhook Wireless to provide geotagging capabilities through its Wi-Fi positioning system.

Skyhook technology provides a position in reading signal from Wi-Fi hotspots without need to be connected to any of them. In North America, Skyhook currently provides coverage of more than 70 percent of the population. In Europe, the top 50 metropolitan areas are covered, along with 70 percent of the population in Germany, France and the UK. The rest of Western Europe will be covered in mid-summer 2008. Coverage expansion in key Asian markets, including Japan, Korea, Taiwan and other countries is currently underway.

Consumer demand - limited offer
With tens of millions geo-tagged pictures online (over 44 million on Flickr today), this activity has quickly moved from early adopters to the mainstream consumers. However, the camera industry has been so far pretty slow to react to this move. To date no consumer camera has been made available with positioning technology (GPS or Wi-Fi) allowing simple, transparent geotagging. With this new card Eye-Fi answers this need, or at least part of it: the good thing is Wi-Fi positioning works very well indoor, the bad thing is it needs at least a few Wi-Fi access points nearby – don’t count on it to geo-tag your next outdoor adventures.

Monday, May 12th 2008

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