Eye-fi, the creator of camera memory cards that automatically upload photos and videos to your computer or favorite website, has announced that it will launch a software development kit and community this Fall.
That means that any approved application will be able to pull media automatically from your camera into your account online when you walk past an accessible wifi signal. Will the company be generous in approving use of its developer platform? Startups around the world hope so.
How it Works
Eye-fi has offered its basic service for 5 years and sells its newest 4GB card with "endless memory mode" (stored media is automatically deleted once safely on your computer) for $49.99. Eye-fi bundles the cost of connectivity into the cost of the device, similar to how the Kindle does 3G, but in this case it's data writing not reading.
To date, users have been able to upload media automatically to 45 different sites, from Flickr to Facebook to YouTube to Costco.com. Online reviews of the service are generally very positive. Now any approved application developer will be able include this feature in their apps.
It's a smart move by Eye-fi. An ecosystem of app developers adds a compelling feature and then every new customer those apps acquire is a potential new customer for the memory card manufacturer.
"Eye-Fi's wireless data card is without a doubt revolutionary in the way it enables real time publishing of photos over WiFi directly from the camera," says Marcus Mac Innes, founder of Irish photo sharing service Pix.ie.
"The out of the box publishing destinations however were limited and many Pix.ie users complained about not having a direct upload facility from Eye-Fi to Pix.ie.
"With the release of a developer API, Eye-Fi seems to be responding to the growing demand for openness which ultimately provides their customers with more choice with regard to publishing destinations.
"So long as Eye-Fi don't discriminate when it comes to commercial use of the new APIs, this move will be a win win for all concerned."
Eye-fi offers an iPhone app and last holiday season the company partnered with Google to offer a free card to anyone who upgraded to a paid Picasa account. Additional options include automatic geotagging of photos and automatic uploads from any AT&T wifi hotspot.
Below: Some of the places users can already upload media from the Eye-fi card.