Eyefi leaves some card owners stranded, highlighting IoT hazards

Ending support for some older Wi-Fi flash cards will make them nearly useless

Older networked flash cards from Eyefi will become the next IoT devices to effectively die in consumers’ hands when the company cuts off support for older models in September.

Eyefi's cards store data like other SD cards but also include a Wi-Fi radio so users can send photos straight from a camera to their laptop or phone. When Eyefi's first card went on sale in 2007, it already had some of the qualities of what’s now called an IoT device: It was remarkably small and had no display but could connect to a local network or the Internet over the air.

The products are also tied into a cloud-based service, which they usually rely on to get configured each time they’re used. Important functions of the device don’t work without a service that has to be maintained throughout the life of the product.

On Thursday, Eyefi told users of the older products they wouldn’t be able to use them for most purposes after Sept. 16. Its email message, addressed to users of Eye-Fi Pro X2 and earlier products bought before March 2016, said some Internet security and authentication mechanisms in the products had become outdated and vulnerable.

“It’s very important that customers cease using these products no later than September 16, 2016 as some key services these products rely on will be shut down at that time,” the company wrote.

Hardware products that use cloud services are increasingly common as gadgets and home appliances get connected. That may give them more capabilities, including cloud-based storage and remote control via mobile apps, but the whole product can lose its value if the vendor goes out of business or moves on to new technologies.

"Everyone expects hardware to break at some point," analyst Avi Greengart of Current Analysis said via email. "What's different here is that the hardware itself may be working fine -- it's the dependency on software or cloud services that is at issue."

Nest’s decision in April to cut off support for the Revolv connected-home hubs raised alarms about this aspect of IoT. Nest, part of Google parent company Alphabet, acquired Revolv in 2014 and immediately stopped selling its hubs but kept its cloud service going. On May 15, it shut down the service, causing the $299 hubs to stop working.

The outcome will be much the same for Eye-Fi 1.0 products and cards from its X2 line, plus earlier software that worked with those cards.

One way of using the old cards may still work. Direct Mode, which allows users to send data directly from a card to another device, may continue to work but will have to be set up before Sept. 16. There’s no guarantee that mode will keep working afterward, the company said.

Eyefi Mobi and Mobi Pro devices bought since 2013 aren’t affected. Users who want to upgrade to a newer products can get a discount on as many as three units, but the discount is only 20 percent.

The move came just days after Eyefi was acquired by camera and imaging company Ricoh. It sparked outrage among many users, some of them vowing never to buy another Eyefi product.

It turns out IoT holds hazards for manufacturers as well as consumers.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?