Built-in Wi-Fi has become a very popular camera feature, and that trend seems troublesome for a well-known maker of Wi-Fi-enabled SD cards like Eyefi. Why drop between $30 and $100 on an Eyefi Mobi card if, say, your Fuji X100T can sync photos to your phone without one?
Today the company announces its answer to this problem. Eyefi's Mobi app can now sync videos and photos without requiring you to use an Eyefi Mobi SD card, starting with GoPro and Olympus cameras. By accessing the camera's Wi-Fi functionality, Eyefi's app can sync photos to your phone and, if you pay for Eyefi's storage service, upload them to the cloud.
Eyefi can't ignore camera Wi-Fi, so it's embracing it
What Eyefi is offering customers here is a choice between ecosystems. If you have a Wi-Fi-enabled camera but don't particularly like that manufacturer's mobile app, now you have another option. You might still not buy one of Eyefi's SD cards, but you're at least using another of the company's products instead of transferring your files the old-fashioned way.
Eyefi is also announcing a slightly revamped dashboard for its cloud users today. The cloud service now offers "cloud smart tags," a similar system to what's found in the new Google Photos. Eyefi analyzes your photos and can identify a photo with dozens of tags like "food," or "bridges." It can even tag people, and custom tags can also be generated.
There's also a new feature called "Discover" which lets you search, sort, and chart your collection by the EXIF data that the camera embeds in each image. For example, you can look across your entire collection of images to see what times of the day you tend to shoot most, or even what time of day you're most likely to shoot at ISO 2500, or figure out if you tend to use slower shutter speeds on a particular camera. It's not a revolutionary feature, but it does look like it could be fun for the truly obsessive photographer.
Eyefi's cloud service is relatively cheap — $4.99 per month for unlimited storage — and the new features make it more powerful. Still, casual shooters are probably better off using more familiar services like the free tier of the new Google Photos, or taking time to evaluate other options.
The new Wi-Fi connectivity feature is available today on Android devices, and iOS users will have to wait until later this year. The functionality comes bundled in Eyefi's monthly subscription, or you can enable it in the Eyefi Mobi app for a one-time purchase of $4.99. It will work with GoPro's Hero 4 and Hero 3 line of cameras as well as the new, lower-end Hero+ LCD. Olympus users will need to own a Stylus 1, Stylus TG860, Pen E-P5, or Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II.
That's it for now, but Eyefi says the goal is to eventually open up the functionality to other cameras.