Today wireless SD card maker Eye-Fi announced it has raised $20 million in Series D financing led by Japanese company NTT DOCMOCO to keep growing its business. Eye-Fi has been around for awhile and was the first to bring us Wi-Fi SD cards, but it still manages to impress and maintain its usefulness. While we’ve recently seen a big push for camera manufactures to include wireless syncing and auto-sharing in their devices, this is hardly a universal feature, making Eye-Fi surprisingly necessary for immediate uploading.
Still, Eye-Fi knows that image evolution can’t be stopped, and its funding leader shows that. NTT DOCOMO is Japan’s largest mobile network operator, and Eye-Fi plans on expanding its services beyond the camera to that other image capture device of choice – the smartphone. The company plans to introduce Eye-Fi compatibility to mobile devices on its network and will be partnering with other mobile carriers to push this agenda.
“In April, NTT DOCOMO will become the first partner to launch Eye-Fi card activation via mobile phones,” says Eye-Fi. “This new, industy-leading technology means NTT DOCOMO’s 59 million subscribers can quickly and easily share high quality images between their digital cameras, mobile devices, online photo sites and digital photo frame – no computer required.”
Prior to this development, you had to set up your Eye-Fi at your computer and only then could you automatically sync photos. So now NTT DOCOMO customers will have one less hurdle between frictionless photos sharing, a great and necessary feature for Eye-Fi. Take out as many middlemen as you can.
But like we said, this isn’t all activation-focused. Camera phones are getting better and better and people are using them more and more, and if you’re entirely dependent on yours then it’s safe to say you have a post-PC kind of attitude. Now, you can use Eye-Fi from your phone and only your phone – it’s just reinforcing its commitment to mobile devices, not just wire-cutters.
Until Eye-Fi partners with U.S. based mobile operators, we’re stuck with the old system. But given its momentum (and new money), we’re hoping the technology will make its way stateside soon — it’s definitely part of Eye-Fi’s plan.