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Hands-on: Eyefi Cloud offers unlimited photo storage through a Wi-Fi SD card

Mark Hachman | April 21, 2014
Wireless storage card maker Eyefi (formerly Eye-Fi) unveiled Eyefi Cloud, an unlimited photo storage service, on Thursday morning. The service, which will cost $49 per year, receives photos captured by a camera to Eyefi's own Wi-Fi enabled SD card. The card uploads them to the cloud using a paired, Internet-connected smartphone or tablet as the conduit.

After installing the app, I was asked to activate the card using the code written on the back of the card case. (I'd recommend either storing this code in an app like Evernote or Google Keep, or just take a quick photo of it in case you lose it.) You'll need to enter a username and password.

With the iPad, first I had to connect the tablet to the dedicated Eyefi Mobi card network, then begin transferring the photos. From there, the service worked as you might expect: The photos appeared online and could be grouped into albums and shared.

Given that I was only able to load the app on a single device (and not the family camera) I didn't have the chance to try out what could be Eyefi Cloud's most compelling selling point: the shared camera roll. Too many times my wife and I have both taken cameras to an event and ended up with two groups of photos, often stored on incompatible cloud storage services. Eyefi Cloud allows multiple devices to be keyed to one account, eliminating that problem.

According to DiMaria, Eyefi isn't really promoting the fact that it's offering unlimited storage, but it's not hiding it, either. If users don't want to use the cloud, they can use an Eye-Fi Desktop Transfer app to send the photos wirelessly to a PC or Mac instead.

Note that at this point, there's no way to upload photos from a Eyefi card inserted into a PC, using the Desktop Transfer app to send the images to Eye-Fi Cloud. When a coworker borrowed the iPad I'd been using with the app, I was stuck.

I'm most concerned with the fact that all of your photos are stored on your device as part of the process. Isn't that what the cloud was supposed to eliminate? Over time, I've found that older devices simply get clogged by constantly accumulating apps, music, photos, and other updates. I'm not wholly convinced that Eyefi Cloud will offer a superior solution to existing cloud services, but a 90-day free trial is a generous amount of time to discover whether it will work for you.

 

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