Eye-Fi is announcing today that its wireless memory cards will soon be able to upload photos and videos directly from a digital camera to a smartphone or tablet computer.

In doing so, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company is taking instant gratification to a new level, allowing people to immediately enjoy and share the photos they take. Eye-Fi is proving again that a little innovation will allow it to sell its memory cards at higher prices, allowing it to escape a commodity battle among the memory card makers.

The company recognizes that digital cameras are great for taking photos, while smartphones and tablets are great for sharing those photos. The new Direct Mode solution uses new technology in Eye-Fi cards and new Eye-Fi mobile apps that will be available on smartphones and tablets.

“For anyone who has ever had to choose between taking great images with their digital camera and the instant gratification of sharing with a smartphone, Direct Mode is the answer,” said Jef Holove, chief executive of Eye-Fi.

Direct Mode allows photos taken with a digital camera to be sent wirelessly (over a Wi-Fi network) to a smartphone or tablet, where they can be viewed, uploaded and shared. That’s because the company’s Eye-Fi X2 cards will be able — after a software upgrade — to create their own wireless access points. The mobile device can then be connected to the card’s access point, establishing a connection so that photos can be directly uploaded to the mobile device.

It works for videos as well. Also, photos and videos can be wirelessly backed up and organized in the consumer’s own Eye-Fi View account. Then they can be viewed from any internet-connected device and shared, regardless of which camera they were taken with.

Current Eye-Fi memory cards can upload photos to laptops or 45 different online photo-sharing sites via Wi-Fi connections. Millions of such photos are uploaded each month using Eye-Fi. Direct Mode will be available as a free upgrade to all Eye-Fi X2 cards later this year.

Eye-Fi was founded in 2005 and its backers include LMS Capital, Opus Capital, Shasta Ventures and TransLink Capital.


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