WiFi card standard impinges Eye-Fi IP?

The SD Association recently added “Wireless LAN SD” to its standards — and now Eye-Fi, the company that developed and markets the eponymous WiFi-transmitting SD card, alleges the standard infringes its intellectual property.

SD Association says its standard “can transform millions of everyday consumer electronics into wireless LAN devices with portable storage and communications… 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.”

Of course, that also sounds like a description of the products Eye-Fi has been marketing for years. And the company responded to the SDA’s announcement by stating in no uncertain terms “essential Eye-Fi patented technology would be violated by anyone implementing this draft specification.”

In a post on the company’s blog page, Eye-Fi CEO Yuval Koren writes, “Several years ago, Eye-Fi’s founding team realized that capturing photos or video is just the beginning, and that in an increasingly connected world, the true magic is in sharing,” Koren says. “We invested tens of millions of dollars and several years to create unique technology that lets people wirelessly transfer photos and videos directly from their camera and mobile devices.”

Furthermore, Koren states the SD Association’s announcement portrayed the draft Wireless LAN specification as an adopted new standard — which is “a flat out misrepresentation. As a matter of fact, under the SDA’s own rules, this was not possible. SDA members — and we are one — are allowed 60 days in which to respond with claims to patented intellectual property and plans around licensing that IP to the SDA. Should essential IP be presented during this process, and not offered for license, the SDA should revise the specification and begin the review cycle again. After this process, the SDA Executive Members have to vote on adopting the specification. Not only has the membership’s intellectual property disclosure window not closed, the Executive Members have also yet to vote on its adoption.”

Eye-Fi says it has disclosed its intellectual property to the SDA, “detailing multiple patents essential to the current SDA draft specification.”

RIM replaces co-CEOs

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BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion replaced its co-chief executive officers with Thorsten Heins, now president and CEO.

Those hoping for big changes at RIM might be left wanting, however: Heins joined RIM in 2007, and was last chief operating officer. As for the former co-CEOs: Mike Lazaridis is now vice chair of the board, and chair of the board’s new Innovation Committee; Jim Balsillie remains a director.

Research In Motion was founded in 1984 and is based in Waterloo, Ontario.

The full announcement is here.

 

Sony improves back-illuminated CMOS sensor

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Sony developed next-generation “stacked” back-illuminated CMOS image sensors with RGBW coding and HDR movie functions to “realizes higher image quality and superior functionality in a more compact size.”

Sony says its RGBW coding function “allows images to be captured with low noise and high picture quality even in low-light conditions,” thanks to a white pixel added to the conventional RGB array; its HDR function “allows brilliant color to be captured even in bright settings.”

The three new sensor models, with resolutions from 8 to 13 megapixels, will begin sampling in March 2012.

More information is here.

 

Sony to invest in Olympus?

Reuters reports that fiscally-troubled Olympus be rescued by a competitor: Sony.

Fujifilm Holdings is also a reported potential investor, although it might face more regulatory issues than Sony. Both companies are apparently more interested in Olympus’ medical equipment business than its cameras. Fujifilm already holds about a 10 percent share of the diagnostic endoscope market.

“Sony, which has relatively little experience in the healthcare sector, supplies image sensors to Olympus and is considered keen to tap into its lucrative business in diagnostic endoscopes, where it holds a 70 percent global market share,” Reuters says.

Olympus executives over many years hid $1.7 billion in accounting losses; the company recently announced it is suing 19 former execs.

Nik Software brings Snapseed to Mac OS

Nik Software announced Snapseed for the Mac. Snapseed is an innovative photo enhancement and sharing app with a powerful suite of imaging filters and tools for anyone, anywhere to transform any image into an extraordinary photo. Designed exclusively for the Mac and available now on the Mac App Store, this new version of Snapseed combines Nik Software’s professional photography tools with its award-winning interface to deliver a powerful new photography app to Mac users.

“We’re thrilled with the success and worldwide recognition of our popular mobile app and are excited to bring the Snapseed experience to Mac users for the first time,” says Michael J. Slater, president and CEO, Nik Software. “By bringing Snapseed to the Mac App Store, we’re able to quickly extend our reach to a worldwide audience of creative amateur photographers while offering our existing mobile users the fully-featured Mac experience they’ve been asking for.”

Snapseed for the Mac is even faster and more powerful, combining filters, textures, and other enhancements, in real-time. One-click adjustments quickly and automatically improve photos. Filters like Grunge, Vintage, Tilt & Shift, and Drama can give any photo a new look.

 

APPO announces staff membership level for photo retailers

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The Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO) and Independent Photo Imagers (IPI) announce a new, yearlong offering of one complimentary Retail Staff Membership for IPI Retail Members ($199 value). In addition, IPI sponsored Retail Memberships have been extended through March 31, 2012.

“The complimentary Appo Retail Staff Membership offers Photo Retailers the opportunity to highlight one exceptional staff member and arm them with all of the tools necessary to expand their service offerings into personal photo organizing,” says Brent Bowyer, executive director, IPI Executive. “This new channel will also create an additional revenue stream for their photo retail business.”

Complimentary Staff Membership Includes profile listing on Retail Members page including photo, biography and contact information, free APPO certification ($100 value), and access to other retail member benefits.

“APPO provides its members with all of the resources and support necessary to build a successful photo organizing business,” says Cathi Nelson, founder and president, APPO “The new complimentary Staff Membership is a great way for retailers to acknowledge talented staff members offering photo organizing services and introduce them to their community.”

Google ends Picnik

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Google will pull the plug on the Picnik image-editing site, which it purchased in March, 2010, effective April 19, 2012. According to a post on the Picnik site, the service is providing a tool for users to download all of their pictures and is refunding full membership fees to Premium Membership Holders. Until April 19, Premium Membership features will be available to all users.

The post noted photo-editing features will be integrated into other Google products, like Google+ (which also recently absorbed Picasa Web).