Did Kodak just build 802.1X into a camera? Yes! Kodak will release a camera in June that can upload photos via T-Mobile hotspots and any Wi-Fi network. Actually, the software to enable encrypted Wi-Fi connections, including the T-Mobile connection, isn't due until fall, for some reason. The new Easyshare-One sounds like a combination of Apple iPod Photo, PDA functionality (for wireless and previewing), and digital camera.
I had guessed that this camera's fall software release would leverage the 802.1X authentication that T-Mobile has added to its North American venues. 802.1X is both simple and hard. If Kodak preloads unique accounts, or allows people to set this up through PC or camera back software, there's very little complexity. The 802.1X supplicant in the camera can manage the connection.
A T-Mobile spokesperson confirmed Thursday morning that Kodak is, in fact, using 802.1X and that cameras would be preconfigured to work with T-Mobile's service through a yet to be determined trial period. Ultimate pricing is to be determined as well. The camera itself costs $600 plus $100 for the Wi-Fi card. This is the first consumer device that I know of that has plans to integrate 802.1X, and it could start a trend to add 802.1X authentication to hotspots and portable electronics. WiPod.X, anyone?
A very cool and strange feature is that you'll be able to browse galleries over the Internet using the card from Kodak EasyShare Gallery, the new horrible marketing name for what has been known as Ofoto for years.
It's a direct shot across the bow at cellular operators who are offering poor upload speeds on their high-speed network. Given that T-Mobile has articulated a long delay in their 3G rollout plans and don't want to clog their GPRS networks, this seems like a perfect symbiosis for Kodak and T-Mobile.