Second, here's answers to a bunch of the questions received in my comments today about the Eye-Fi device:
Rob said "you could just get a WiFi or Bluetooth enabled camera." True. They had one of those, a Nikon, at the offices, but it wasn't easy to use. It didn't work with services like Flickr and Nikon programmed it to be just a replacement for a USB cable. Eye-Fi could do a LOT more, and because Eye-Fi aren't locked into a specific manufacturer's choices, it could work with a lot more interesting stuff. The Xbox scenario, for instance, that I put out there isn't possible with the Nikon WiFi camera.
Also, there are more than 100 million digital cameras already sold that don't have any wireless capabilities.
Jake asked "$100 for what exactly?" Well, let's say a 1GB SD Memory card costs about $60 to $100 retail. Well, Eye-Fi could make a card that has BOTH a WiFi system on it, as well as the memory, for $100 to $150. Yuval didn't want to talk pricing because it really depends on a lot of factors (he thinks there's a subsidization model possible where companies with services, like Ofoto, that make money, could pay to subsidize cards). So, the amount you'd pay at retail could greatly vary. But would certainly be a lot less than you'd pay for a new WiFi-enabled camera.
Chris asks "I would love to know how this works." Unfortunately I can't give away all the details, Eye-Fi hasn't finished the development and Yuval asked me not to talk about how it works technically. But it works, and it works easily (or it could, depending on partnerships that still need to be finalized — keep in mind this technology is still in alpha stage, so some of what I talk about here won't work when the final product ships, and other things that we haven't thought about might be enabled). Another scenario that could be made to work? You go out and shoot. You come home. You turn on your camera. Your photos are automatically pushed to Flickr.
Chris Wood says: "it would be too simple but many cameras have a video out connector that you can just plug into the yellow RCA jack at the front of the tv."
Um, Chris, I don't even know where the cords are for my camera, and my TV doesn't have an input on the front of the TV. Also, so you can hook your camera up to the TV. That solves that scenario. Now, your friends ask you to print. What do you do? Or, you want to put the photos on Flickr? What do you do? Get out more cords. Geeky.
Diane says: "Unless it is as easy as pressing ONE button, it still wouldn’t work."
Hey, Diane, you'd love this. No buttons to push. Just turn your camera on when you're within your WiFi network at home (or possibly at WiFi hotspots that are open around the world) and everything happens — automatically. When he took my picture my picture appeared on his computer without him touching the camera further. Obviously there's a bit of setup, but that's easy. Anyone who can use a Web browser could setup the system.
>Doesn’t the 360 already support plugging the camera into it directly through USB?
Yes, but again, I have to have cords. If cords are so cool, why are the Xbox 360s controllers wireless?
>It’s ok if your camera doesn’t have wifi but memory cards are the wrong place to put wifi I think.
You don't need as much memory if you have an Eye-Fi. Why? Cause your camera's memory is just a cache. As soon as you're within a WiFi hotspot the camera could spit the photos to your favorite photo sharing site (BubbleShare, for instance, lets you upload and download full photo files, so you wouldn't need to store them on the local camera).
Also, someone asked about metal cases on cameras. The Canon he demoed to me had a metal case and the WiFi worked just fine. Keep in mind that the WiFi antenna AND the memory are stored on the same card. It's amazing what the miniturization has done due to cell phone R&D. I remember the engineers at Winnov back a decade ago struggled to get less stuff onto a card the size of my hand, much less the size of my thumbnail. That's why it was inspiring to me.
Scott says: "One thing all these kinds of tools should have is the ability to read the EXIF data and rotate the picture on screen for you (ala Picasa)."
This does exactly that, and a lot more. Want your photos to automatically go to Costco for printing? You could do that. In addition to possibly sending them to Picasa, or to Flickr, or to other services or to your Media Center PC.
I want one. I'll throw away my SD memory card when this comes out.