Eye-Fi update will share photos from camera to phone

Eye-Fi’s claim to fame so far has been its Wi-Fi-enabled SD cards that let digital cameras interact with a variety of Web services like Flickr and Facebook, as well as wirelessly transferring your photos to your Mac. On Tuesday, the company announced that it will soon add smartphones and tablets into the mix.

Eye-Fi, which dubs these upcoming features “Direct Mode,” says the capability will arrive later in 2011 as a free update to its SD cards and iPhone app. Instead of uploading your photos to social media sites or the company’s recently released Eye-Fi View service, Direct Mode will let you send your photos from your digital camera to your iPhone or iPod touch. The company’s announcement also cites “tablet” a couple of times, suggesting that the update might bring its iPhone app to the iPad as well.

Direct Mode works by allowing an Eye-Fi card to turn into a Wi-Fi access point. This allows your iOS device to connect to the Eye-Fi card—even if there are no other Wi-Fi networks around—to download photos.

By adding the option of sending your photos to an iPhone or iPad instead of directly to social networks, your iOS device may be able to become a sort of on-the-go backup for your photography, or an intermediary for touching up photos before sharing them.

When it arrives, the update will be free for the Eye-Fi X2 card line, as well as the company’s iOS app.

Updated at 10:09am PT with more details on how Direct Mode actually works on the Eye-Fi card.

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