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Toshiba FlashAir SDHC card acts as a Wi-Fi hotspot, launches in February 2012

Toshiba FlashAir SDHC card acts as a Wi-Fi hotspot, launches in February 2012

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Wireless SDHC storage may seem to be a market already cornered by Eye-Fi, but Toshiba would beg to differ with its brand new FlashAir card. Unlike its competitor, the FlashAir doesn't require a laborious setup process and actually generates a wireless network of its own -- allowing any device capable of communicating over the 802.11b, g, or n Wi-Fi standards to connect to it and browse its files. The demo unit here at IFA turned networking on automatically any time the FlashAir had power (whether obtained from a camera or a laptop), though Toshiba says it's looking into offering users the option to switch wireless sharing off while the card's inside a powered device.

Hooking up to the FlashAir was a real cinch: we just selected it from the list of available Wi-Fi networks on our computer and were away. The only software we needed was a web browser. Toshiba's plans include peer-to-peer networking between FlashAir-equipped devices and dedicated browsing software that will auto-refresh your view of contents on the card as they get changed. Moreover, provided the card's inside a compatible camera, you'll be able to transfer media bi-directionally, both downloading from and uploading data to the little storage unit.

In all other respects, this is your basic issue SDHC card with Class 6 speed and 8GB of storage. Europeans will be able to buy one in March 2012 for €50, we were told, though Toshiba's official press releases lists a more ambitious February launch date around the world. We're looking forward to it. See a video demo of how easy the FlashAir is to use after the break.