SD Association adds Wi-Fi spec, Eye-Fi protests


posted Monday, January 16, 2012 at 4:19 PM EST

The SD Association's logo. Click here to visit the SD Association website!The SD Association--a group of almost a thousand companies, whose board members include consumer electronics giants such as Canon, HP, Panasonic, Samsung, and Toshiba, as well as flash memory manufacturers like Kingston, Lexar and SanDisk--announced a new standard for Wi-Fi capable Secure Digital cards at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The new Wireless LAN SD card covers not only standard, full-sized Secure Digital cards, but also the SDHC and SDXC types, as well as microSD, microSDHC, and microSDXC cards. The standard provides for 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi support with the ability to upload data to a server, either on home networks, via peer-to-peer connections without an access point, or both.  Two new logo designs--shown in the press release below--have also been unveiled, indicating compatibility with either home networks or peer-to-peer connections.

The Wireless LAN SD standard is reportedly being used in Toshiba's new 8GB Wi-Fi-capable FlashAir SDHC memory card, which was announced last September, has been available in sample quantities since November, and is slated to be available to the public next month. (We'd note, though, that Toshiba has not yet used Wireless LAN SD branding or interface logos in any of its marketing materials for the upcoming card. Given that Toshiba is itself an SD Association board member, however, it does seem likely that their card will be compliant with the standard.)

Perhaps not surprisingly, Wi-Fi-capable SD card pioneer Eye-Fi--itself an SD Association general member--is up in arms over the announcement, feeling that competitors are trespassing upon its well-established turf. A report from our good friend Rob Galbraith states in no uncertain terms that Eye-Fi isn't backing the standard, and suggests that it is preparing to defend its territory. The article contains a very direct statement from Eye-Fi that it hasn't licensed its intellectual property to the SD Association, and won't be doing so in the future. It goes on to identify some of the patents with which the company might protect its interests. Hop on over to Rob's site for the full story.

In another related story, the folks over at Photography Blog report that neither SanDisk nor Lexar currently have plans to introduce cards complying with the Wireless LAN SD standard.

Press Release

SD Association Adds Standardized Wireless Communication To World-­-leading SD Memory Card Standards

New Wireless LAN feature extends SD memory card convenience so consumers can transfer pictures and videos wirelessly from their cameras

LAS VEGAS--CES Booth South Hall 4 #36231--Jan. 9, 2012--A new SD memory card standard can transform millions of everyday consumer electronics into wireless LAN devices with portable storage and communications. The Wireless LAN SD standard announced today is the SD Association's first wireless SD memory card standard combining storage and wireless capabilities. Consumers will be able to transfer pictures, videos and other content wirelessly from most existing digital cameras and digital video cameras to web-based cloud services and between SD devices over home networks.

The Wireless LAN SD standard combines the world-leading memory card storage standard with the ubiquitous wireless standard IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, part of the Association's strategy to expand SD services and features by incorporating other global standards. This standard is applicable to full size SD/SDHC/SDXC and microSD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards. It taps into a billions-strong SD standards market for which manufacturers can develop products and consumers can reliably use Wireless LAN applications.

"As cloud servers and wireless technologies continue to penetrate the consumer experience, wireless accessibility will become increasingly more important," said Michael Yang, senior principal analyst, memory and storage, IHS iSuppli. "The addition of wireless capability to the existing SD memory card standard, will enable SD memory cards to remain relevant to shifting market demand, and add value to consumers and manufacturers of new cameras, tablets, and mobile phones."

With wireless communication capabilities in their familiar SD memory cards, consumers around the world will be able to:

  • Upload family, vacation or sports photos and video wirelessly from a camera or video camera to a computer or server for sharing or backup.

  • Wirelessly download pictures from servers with cameras and video cameras using Wireless LAN SD memory cards. Consumers can share pictures and videos without email or physical card transfers, including peer-to-peer picture and video transfers from cameras to smart phones and tablets wirelessly without an access point.

  • Use Wireless LAN SD memory cards as wireless control points for other devices, such as TVs, in a home network.

The Wireless LAN SD memory card standard defines two interface types:

  • The Web interface, designated by a Wireless LAN SD Web Interface symbol. Image provided by the SD Association. symbol, supports server upload and peer-to-peer functions;
  • The home network interface designated by a Wireless LAN SD Home Network Interface symbol. Image provided by the SD Association. symbol, supports server upload and home network communication functions.
  • A Wireless LAN SD memory card can provide both of the wireless communication types, designated by both symbols.

"Wireless LAN SD offers you a standardized approach to transfer pictures, video, documents and other content easily with most existing cameras and video cameras," said Norm Frentz, chairman of the SD Association. "The Wireless LAN SD memory card standard demonstrates how SD Association innovation continues to respond to market demand and improve consumers' digital lives."

For more than a decade, SD standards have increased the value, usefulness and longevity of consumer electronics by allowing consumers to easily upgrade storage instead of replacing devices and creating more electronic waste.

SD Association
The SD Association is a global ecosystem of more than 1,000 technology companies charged with setting interoperable SD standards. The association encourages the development of consumer electronic, wireless communication, digital imaging and networking products that utilize market-leading SD technology. The SD standard is the number one choice for consumers and has earned more than 80 percent of the memory card market with its reliable interoperability and its easy-to-use format. Today, mobile phones, Blu-ray players, HDTVs, audio players, automotive multimedia systems, handheld PCs, digital cameras and digital video cameras feature SD interoperability. For more information about SDA or to join, please visit the association's web site,