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Eye-Fi Adds Geo-Tagging, Public Hotspots To New Cards

Burlingame, Calif. — Wireless memory card maker Eye-Fi announced an expansion of its product line today, adding location tagging and the ability to upload images through public hotspots.

All of the new cards will offered in the SD form factor and contain 2GB worth of storage.

Using Skyhook’s global Wi-Fi positioning system, the new Eye-Fi Explore card can determine where a photo has been captured and add a “location tag” to the image. The tag is saved and uploaded with the photo and can be used on Web sites, such as Flickr and Picasa Web Albums, that support geo-tagging. It can also be used on desktop applications that support geo-tags, said Jef Holove, CEO.

For geo-tagging to work, the Explore card must be within Skyhook’s coverage area. The current coverage area comprises “70 percent of the U.S., Canadian and Australian populations;” the top 50 metropolitan areas of Europe; and “70 percent of the population in Germany, France and the U.K.,” according to Skyhook.

Eye Fi decided on harnessing Wi-Fi for a location-based service because unlike GPS, Wi-Fi works indoors, Holove said, noting that it was also less expensive and consumed less power than a GPS device.

The Explore card can also upload images at any Wayport hotspot in the United States. Once a camera is on and in range of a Wayport hotspot, images will automatically be uploaded to one of 25 online destinations and also to a user’s PC or Mac. Consumers will not need to establish a separate account to access a Wayport hotspot, Holove said, and the Explore card will also support sending images through home networks.

The Explore card will retail for $129 and will be sold with one year’s worth of free Wayport access. When the year is up, customers will have the option to subscribe for a year’s worth of Wayport access for $19.99, Holove said.

The original Eye-Fi card, which can wirelessly send images through home networks remains on the market with a new name: the Eye-Fi Share. It will retain its $99 price tag.

Lastly, Eye-Fi will offer a Home card that can wirelessly load images to a PC or Mac but not to Internet sites. It will retail for $79.