Toshiba Adds Wi-Fi To Flash Card

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Toshiba has launched a new Flash memory card that comes with embedded Wi-Fi capabilities

In another sign of today’s interconnected world, Toshiba has add Wireless LAN functionality to the Flash cards commonly found in digital cameras, smartphones and even some tablets.

Toshiba Electronics Europe made the announcement at IFA in Berlin, saying that its SDHC memory card with embedded wireless LAN functionality was a world first.

FlashAir Wi-Fi

The new memory card, dubbed FlashAir, supports peer-to-peer transfers as well as uploads to and downloads from servers. It will initially be available in 8GB capacity. Samples will be available from November and sales will start in February 2012, although there is no word on pricing yet.

Essentially what this means is that when someone takes a picture with their FlashAir-equipped cameras, they can then transmit the picture to a back-end cloud server.

the concept has been tried before, with existing cards that transmit pictures by Wi-Fi, such as Eye-Fi’s Pro X2. However until now these cards have only worked in one direction only.

The new Toshiba FlashAir card can transmit photos and videos to the back-end system, but the really clever bit is that it can also receive data (photos, videos etc) as well.

This means that two people, both equipped with FlashAir-equipped cameras, can transmit photos or other data between their respective devices, in a peer to peer manner.

Security Concerns?

“At a time when digital cameras have achieved immense popularity, users want a quick and easy way to share photographs with friends and to transfer them to and from online storage services and social media,” said Toshiba.

“The card’s embedded wireless communication function allows users to upload and download photographs to and from a server and to exchange photographs and other data with other devices compliant with this wireless format,” Toshiba said. “This can all be done without any need for a PC or cable connection.”

The beauty of this solution is that it means once a user’s FlashAir card is filled with pictures or videos, they could upload the content to the back-end server, wipe the card, and then carry on using the device, without having to physically connect to a computer to download their images.

But the ability to transfer data onto the card will no doubt also raise some security and indeed privacy concerns among some users, as photos could be transmitted without the subject being aware, or else malware on the card could send photos without the user of the camera knowing.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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