Electronic Design

Wi-Fi Camera Card Gets a CES Prize

2008 INTERNATIONAL CES — A memory card that wirelessly sends pictures from a digital camera to a computer — letting you skip the process of plugging the camera in to upload images — got bragging rights Wednesday at the International Consumer Electronics Show. Eye-Fi Inc.'s wireless card beat nine other contenders for the top spot in the traditional Last Gadget Standing session, an informal CES contest staged by Yahoo Inc.'s technology section. The winner is determined by the volume of audience applause. The $100 Eye-Fi card, which has 2 gigabytes of memory, uses Wi-Fi to instantly zap pictures to computers and photo-sharing Web sites. The company, based in Mountain View, Calif., announced earlier at CES that it had a deal to get its technology into memory cards made by Lexar Media. Eye-Fi's diverse set of rivals included a golf simulator, a Toshiba Corp. wireless projector, and the Sansa TakeTV, a USB memory stick from SanDisk Corp. that is designed to transfer video from the Internet to the TV. But the closest challenger appeared to be the Looj, a $99 gutter-cleaning robot from iRobot Corp. That would have been the home-robotics company's second triumph in the Yahoo contest: its Roomba vacuum was the champ for 2002. Other previous winners include General Motors Corp.'s OnStar car-information service, but the prize is not exactly a guarantee of success. The Last Gadget Standing in 2004 was the Tapwave Zodiac, a handheld digital assistant with multimedia features. The company went bankrupt in 2005.

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