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News & Insight

Eye-Fi Capitulates: Will Not Brick All Old Cards, But The Solution Seems Lamentable

By Kishore Sawh on August 10th 2016

For a long time, Eye-Fi was the only real go-to name in town for adding wireless capability to non-wireless enabled devices via a memory card. The solution was quiet if not entirely elegant, but served its purpose to many satisfied customers. However, it was just over a month ago that Eye-Fi emailed its users to let them know that support for all cards except their new ‘Mobi’ line would cease on September 16th this year, and that, understandably, didn’t sit well with Eye-Fi card owners, especially those who might have recently acquired one.

There was much speculation on what direction the company was headed in after they sold their cloud services to Ricoh, but this appeared to be a first big move and people were outrage. Well, that outrage spawned a lot of media coverage, and vehement words from owners all over, and it would appear that due to the brouhaha the company has pivoted on their decision and will not brick your old cards, but instead are building software to keep them on some manner of life support.  Power to the people, etcetera, etcetera…

We have started work on a new desktop software utility designed to enable impacted cards to continue operating beyond the previously announced EOL date of September 15, 2016. The new software is called the “Eye-Fi X2 Utility” (X2U) and will be provided free of charge as a download.

The X2U will enable cards impacted by the EOL to transfer images to a desktop computer via an Infrastructure or Direct network connection. The utility will be made available in early August on the Mac (OS X) platform.

But it’s not all good news.

eye-fi-mobi-apple-patent-fuji-x-t2-3

[REWIND: Hawkesmill Camera Messenger Bag Review | The Jermyn]

Thoughts

What Eye-Fi is doing is less a proper life extension, and more a patch; throwing users a bone, and not one they may actually want. This is because while on the one hand they are creating software to enable the use through an update, that’s pretty much where the buck stops. There will be no further updates; full functionality will not be there; there will be no help desk nor warranty, and neither is it going to be available for Windows users at this time.

It would appear that this is simply a move that was triggered by a swarm of complaints and bad faith, and one that is solely there to placate affected users. It may work, but it’s hard to imagine the amount of distrust buyers have had to be dispelled by what some are calling a ‘bit of an insult’. Frankly, it seems it may be a bit late.

How do you feel about Eye-Fi’s move, and would you support the company?

Find the company statement here.

About

Kishore is, among other things, the Editor-In-Chief at SLR Lounge. A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Dave Haynie

    I never quite trusted the idea of EyeFi, because of the need to use their internet server. Cables work fine.

    This is kind of an interesting test case of many forms of Internet of Things (IoT). One of the revolutionary ideas of IoT is that your bathroom scale, your coffee maker, your toaster oven, all of your “things” can be connected. So rather than need a Windows driver and cable, the “thing” talks to the internet, and you can get the information from that device from any user device through your browser. Also, other applications, apps, and web sites need simply follow a web protocol to access that information for themselves (assuming the company publishes that).

    But this does also put the shelf life of that device in that one company’s hands. Sure, you could lose some devices to Windows updates when the manufacturer didn’t feel like updating a driver. But much of that’s been solved with protocol standards… you don’t usually need special drivers for USB or Bluetooth anymore. But moving forward, making things more universal now seems to make them easier to just kill support — taking your hardware along with it.

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  2. Tom Blair

    All ways look forward to your articles

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  3. Peter Nord

    Trashed mine. Tethering to a laptop with Lightroom works fine. And there are other wireless solutions now.

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  4. Lenzy Ruffin

    Thanks for posting this. I was completely unaware that this was happening. I use a Pro X2 in direct mode with my iPad as a low-cost tethering solution. If they somehow manage to break that functionality now or ever, I’ll never buy another product from them again, even if it meant I had to go to the expense of buying/maintaining a Microsoft tablet, software, cables, etc so that I could tether. Bricking the hotspot functionality is indefensible. All we’re talking about is a card creating a wifi network. They should not have built this in such a way that it requires interaction with their cloud in order to function. The only reason for requiring such interaction is so they can mandate new purchases by pulling the plug whenever they want more money.

    Actually, whether they brick it or not, I won’t be buying anything else from them. I just need to start budgeting for a Microsoft tablet tethering solution now (it’s totally ridiculous that you can’t do this with an iPad). I don’t like that Eye-Fi even considered doing something like this. You can’t sell a piece of hardware like this on a subscription model. Fool me once…

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    • Anders Madsen

      Agreed – as far as trust goes, the damage is done. I have been eyeing their cards for studio use with my Nikon D610, but for now the tether cable will stay where it is.

      Can anyone recommend a simple solution that just uses plain Wi-Fi (preferably 802.11n) and dump the files to a folder on a computer where Capture One can get to them?

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Hey Anders, in my experience there’s nothing that works as smoothly, quickly, and seamlessly as a proper tether cable, but you might want to look into CamRanger. Also, depending on why you wanted the WiFi ability of the cards, certain software can fill the void. For example, one reason to have the Eye-Fi was to send images to an iPad where a team or client could look over the shots in progress, but if you use Capture One and tethered to a laptop or desktop, the Capture One app on iPad will connect to the local wifi and show the images as they are shot also.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      I’m with you here Lenzy, it seems a foolish move, and good-faith is so hard to earn once lost. I have their cards, but they’d have to try really hard or provide a service no one else can do for me to consider giving my patronage to them once more.

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