What’s happening in the Wi-Fi memory cards business?

wi-fi-memory-cards
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:

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:

2011

  • Toshiba launched their first FlashAir. (source)

2013

April 2014

  • Eye-Fi launched theirEye-Fi Cloud service. (source)

June 2015

  • Eye-Fi closed down their third party cloud support for their cards.

March 2016

  • 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.

June 2016

  • 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.

September 2016

  • 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.
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  • Spy Black

    Considering how crappy Snapbridge is, Nikon users with Snapbridge cameras should invest in Wifi cards. 😉

    • jagigen

      The idea behind snapbridge is great. The implementation and marketing not so much.
      Nikon should open up the in camera wifi for standard connection and transfers but I guess they never will.

      About the wifi card business it seems like things have already happened but no one will say it out load?

      • Spy Black

        I don’t think that’s any consolation for users with Snapbridge cameras.

    • Pierre Lagarde

      … or just go back to previous Wifi featured camera generation (or even older with nikon WU-1a/b) and use third part applications like (q?)DSLRDashboard. WMU is already a joke. At least Canon has a minimal application with basic useful settings. Anyway, I guess it’s hard for D500 owners to think of switching back to older cameras just for Wifi. 😀 This complicated bluetooth/wi-fi bridge is really a pain made as a selling argument. One more reason to be “anxious” as Thom Hogan said about the new D5600 : http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/nikon-drops-d5600-on-the.html
      Looks like they even remove the IR receiver, which was, in comparison to the poor WMU implementation and the strange/limited/clumsy Snapbridge process, most of the time a better way to go for simple remote shooting (and for battery saving too).
      By now, it looks like the only hope for future Nikon cameras concerning remote connections is that they succeed in enhancing Snapbridge with better features and real ease of use. To my sense, the concept itself does not look comforting in that aspect.

  • MonkeySpanner

    Too bad – I have an eyefi card and I like it better than any in camera WiFi I have used (especially Nikon’s wmu – for Christ’s sake Nikon – you should be ashamed).

  • ar

    Always had a love-hate relationship with Eye-Fi. Worked well when I didn’t need it, –didn’t want to connect when I did need it…
    After the demise (i.e. dropped X2 Pro support), I got one of the ezShare adapters and although its Android app has its flaws, it works surprisingly well. At $17 (plus some Class 10 microSD card, up to 32GB), it’s not a big risk if it doesn’t work.
    http://www.ezshare.com.cn/bgw032052/english/product.asp?Category_id=8

  • J.L. Williams

    I have two Transcend cards and felt they were more reliable than the Eye-Fi Pro cards, which had fragile physical packaging (the newer Mobi cards are sturdier.) But Transcend hasn’t issued firmware updates in more than a year, and their Chinese website no longer lists the wireless cards. I think they’re out of the business, in which case Toshiba will be the only hardware manufacturer left.

    Which is a shame because as others have noted, wireless cards are in many ways better than most built-in WiFi. None of my WiFi-enabled cameras will let me do the one thing I really want to do: push all my shots to a mobile device as I shoot. All the wireless cards do this easily in conjunction with the excellent ShutterSnitch app for iOS — which, incidentally, supports Eye-Fi, Transcend and (I think) Toshiba hardware.

  • Pierre Lagarde

    How about the coming W-E1 from Canon ? Quite specialized, though should be mentioned, don’t you think ? Just asking.

  • Hubertus Bigend

    I wonder how disorganized a company must be to a) invent a name like “Flucard” and then b) not trash it somewhere on the way to market…

  • g_disqus

    What about PQI?

  • Alaska

    get rid of your stock…

  • jake337

    My Eyefi mobile app disappeared and was replaced with a Keenai app from rich. I never cared about the cloud as long astory I can transfer images to m you phone I’ll be happy.

  • Tsegov

    I just bought a used Nikon P510. No wi-fi built in, so I started looking at these wi-fi cards. Could not find any in stores. Pretty much my only option is to go through Amazon, but none of them have good reviews and it seems like support for these cards is steadily dropping. My only guess is manufactures of these cards assume everything is already connected, so why waste time on an sd card with connectivity. It’s a shame for the later devices left out of the connected world.

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