Few weeks ago I reported about the strange "disapearing" of Eye-Fi. A reader (thanks Petter!) did some more digging and sent me this detailed report/timeline on what's going on with the Wi-Fi card manufacturers:
We have three major Wi-Fi-card manufacturers:
- Trek manufactured the Flu-card which Pentax/Ricoh used in their cameras.
- Eye-Fi manufactured their cards together with a cloud service.
- Toshiba had their FlashAir cards.
- Update #1: readers also mentioned the PQI Air card adapter and the new Canon W-E1.
- Update #2: Toshiba announced their new FlashAir cards at the 2017 CP+ show in Japan (more info available here and here)
- Update #3: Toshiba announced new FlashAir W-04 memory cards. Here are the highlights:
- Enhanced wireless performance
- Improved read/write speed up to 90MB/s***
- 'Eyefi Connected’ feature
- Up to 64GB Capacity SD Card
- Supports 4K video recording
- 5 Years Warranty
Update: on November 18th Ricoh Imaging had renamed the Eye-Fi Cloud service to Keenai. It seems that existing users can still use their Eye-Fi cloud account to log in, but everything (app name and icons) are now all replaced by the new name.
Here is a timeline:
- Toshiba launched their first FlashAir. (source)
- Eye-Fi launched theirEye-Fi Cloud service. (source)
- Eye-Fi closed down their third party cloud support for their cards.
- Treks stock price took steep dive. (source)
- Later their CFO got questioned related to financial penal code suspicions (source), he then stepped down. (source)
27 April 2016
- Trek suspends its stock trading.
- News about Ricoh buying the Eye-Fi Cloud and associated apps from Eye-Fi. Eye-Fi's card business were not to be impacted and Ricoh would give Eyefi card owners 100% continued cloud support. (source)
30 June 2016
- Eye-Fi closed down, as previously announced, their legacy support for Pro X2 card et al. (source)
23 august 2016
- Toshiba presents a deal with Eye-Fi which will give the next gen FlashAir cards features like "Eye-Fi Connected” support in cameras. (source 1, source 2)
- Eye-Fi releases an update to their apps to support Toshibas FlashAir with upload intoEye-Fi Cloud - which now is owned by Ricoh.
- Eye-Fi suddenly linked their "Shop Now" button to Toshibas FlashAir cards at Amazon. (source)
31 October 2016
- Trek's new CFO has stepped down after less than two months on the job. (source)
- Ricoh have been selling Trek’s Flucards for camera control and image transfer from their own cameras, but Ricoh UK are out of stock: ”currently not available” as they write on their site. (source)
- Trek do bundle a free service called Flucard Pro Portal for unlimited photo upload. Trek also seems to be having a close out sale and barely have any cards left in stock. And they are also selling FlashAir cards in their own online shop. (source)
Many questions remain without answers:
- Ricoh is apparently going all-in on cloud photo storage directly from their cameras.
- Toshiba is a huge company and they are probably planning a new card (W-04?). Will they get Eye-Fi's future business. How long will separate Wi-Fi cards exist?
- Will Eye-Fi cease to exist in any other way other than as a trademark? Eye-Fi has removed every bit of corporate information like press releases etc from their website. (source)
- Flucard will cease to exist as Trek seems to focus on IoT and connected medical world.
- The other two companies left in the Wi-Fi market are Transcend and ez Share. Transcend have their own semiconductor manufacturing but their sales have been decreasing for some time. Ez Share is owned by Chinese LZeal Information Technology.