Earlier last week, Eye-Fi announced its new Mobile X2 SD memory card as well as the upcoming release of the Eye-Fi app for Android and iOS and since yesterday, the Android app, which requires Android 2.1 or higher, is available for free from Google's Android Market. It allows users with an Eye-Fi X2 card, to instantly upload full resolution photos and videos - straight from the digital camera - to the Android smartphone or tablet, from where it can be forwarded via E-Mail or uploaded to favorite online services. Furthermore, since not everybody is carrying a mobile hotspot, it allows to directly connect a Eye-Fi X2 card to an Android device, using Eye-Fi's own "Direct Mode".
Thanks to the Eye-Fi app, users can automatically back up and organize photos and videos by date on their home computer or share them on your favorite online site by sending full resolution photos and videos to a home computer. It allows to stay organized by automatically sorting photos and videos on the computer by date.
It allows to share photos and videos on the go, for instance by sending a few pictures to friends on Facebook and another group of photos to a Picasa album
When used with an Eye-Fi X2 card, Eye-Fi for Android allows to instantly uploads from the connected camera to the the Android device's photo gallery. From here any favorite Android app can be used to to view, edit and share the transferred photos. Furthermore, the Eye-Fi app can use the Android device's data connection (2G, 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi) to upload stored photos to any supported online sharing site.
Since I got my first (but not only) Eye-Fi card two years ago, I'm a heavy user of Eye-Fi memory cards - especially at congresses and events like the recent Mobile World Congress where I uploaded all my photos wirelessly, straight from the camera to the Photo Gallery. However, in the past this had a major drawback, since users had to use a workaround: It was only possible to upload photos to a predefined location and therefore it was impossible to, let's say, upload photos to - in my case - an event gallery as well as posting other photos to Facebook. It was an either or decision.
Now, with Eye-Fi's new Eye-Fi app, the user gets full access to all predefined locations and photos can be selected for dedicated and different locations. This makes, especially in a (semi-) professional environment a lot of sense. Furthermore, at the same time photos are shared with the Android Eye-Fi app, they are also shared with a home PC without sharing all the shots online.
The Eye-Fi app even allows users to configure which kind of camera items should be transferred to the Android phone and allows to select photos, videos as well as RAW images. This is very handy since the transmission of a HD video can take some time and might not be too useful to have it one the phone.
However, the Eye-Fi app isn't just receiving photos from a connected camera but also scans the phone's media folder for images and videos, which can be also shared only. However, this includes all kind of images, not just photos, snapped with the device's camera, but also images like album arts.
The Eye-Fi app is definitely a worth extension to the Eye-Fi X2 cards since it's way easier to use than dealing with protect modes of the camera, which was by now the alternative so upload selective photos to an online service. Furthermore it allows to share photos and videos with different services and allows to separate the private from the business uploads.
And all together, the app is working pretty good and has transferred all my photos and videos in my test. Also pretty smart is Eye-Fi's own Direct Mode which makes the Android phone a kind of hotspot, even if Android's hotspot mode isn't enabled on the phone. This allows users without a mobile hotspot like the Huawei E5 or Novatel Wireless MiFi to get the media transferred from the camera to the smartphone from where it can be either shared or edited first. Again, while the workaround upload worked quite well, photos were uploaded without any modifications and now, with the Eye-Fi Android app, photos can be modified first.
However, as good as the Android app is for plain uploading, as much it lacks customization in terms of the uploads. While it's possible to upload photos to Facebook, the app doesn't allows to add a text or select an album where the photo should be uploaded to but uploads the photos straight to Facebook (and other online services like Picasa). Nevertheless, since the transmitted photos are stored on the device's memory card, all received photos are also available from any other Android app, including - for example - Facebook for Android and therefore it might be more useful to upload photos from the dedicated Android apps instead of the Eye-Fi app.
While it can be somewhat handy, that the app also imports photos from the device's camera, it's somewhat unnecessary that it scans for all kind of images on the device's memory which can also includes album arts, image downloads from the web, etc. It would definitely makes more sense if the user could define which memory locations should be used for importing media files, otherwise the list of imported photos and images can become fairly long, containing a lot of stuff which shouldn't be displayed at all.
Anyway, the Eye-Fi Android app is a great enhancement for any supported Eye-Fi memory card and since it's available free of charge, you can't do anything wrong! Sure, there is a lot of room for improvements but it dramatically expands the possibilities and the newly introduced Direct Mode makes uploading and sharing photos a snap. The Android app hit the market just in time for the upcoming Easer and summer vacations and thanks to it, the user is in total control which photos are shared with which service, also avoiding high data roaming charges!
It's definitely recommended that the Eye-Fi Android app should be a default installation for every Android user, also using Eye-Fi X2 cards!
Cheers ~ Arne