There's a new photo-sharing app out, and it's promising a simple way to transfer photos from your iPhone, iPod or iPad to any display with a web browser. PhotoBeamer is similar to an app called Bump, which made headlines last week when it added phone-to-PC sharing to its list of features. The difference is that with PhotoBeamer you scan a QR code at PhotoBeamer.com to transfer photos from your iOS device, while with Bump you tap your Android or iOS phone to your computer space bar to shoot photos over to the PC web browser. (You have to turn on location sharing for your web browser first.)
Here's the catch, though. PhotoBeamer and Bump both require an Internet connection. And that really shouldn't be necessary.
Years ago I got an Eye-Fi card for my digital camera. Eye-Fi automatically transfers photos and videos wirelessly to your computer whenever camera and PC are both on and in close proximity. Soon you'll also be able to sync an Eye-Fi card with your mobile phone, or, if you prefer cloud storage, the Eye-Fi today lets you transfer media directly to a web-based sharing service like Flickr.
Beyond the Eye-Fi, we've had Wi-Fi Direct technology in place since 2010, which allows point-to-point wireless sharing with no Internet connection required. In-Stat analysts predict that every connected device with Wi-Fi will ship with Wi-Fi Direct by 2014, and hundreds of products have it already.
So what's with all the browser-based photo-sharing apps? Photobeamer and Bump are purportedly very user-friendly, but by requiring an Internet connection, they're still limited. Let's move on to the next generation of apps that skip the browser altogether. We have the technology.