The AirStash is a USB card reader combined with a Wi-Fi hotspot. Its purpose in life is to stream media to other devices, which means sending movies, music and video to phones, tablets and other memory-limited gadgets.
We first saw the AirStash back in January when a prototype was shown at CES. Since then it has gotten a price ($100) and gone on sale. You might also remember that, in the meantime, Apple released a new kind of computer.
Now, the AirStash won’t help you if you are desperately waiting for the sold-out Apple Camera Connection Kit (the AirStash is similarly back-ordered), but it could be ideal for iPad-toting photographers who hate plugging things in. You just pop your SD card into the slot and then dial in from Safari. From there you can browse a list of photos, view them and save them to your photo-roll. Better, it works as a mass-storage USB device, so you could actually plug it into the iPad via the connection kit.
The only problem is that the transfer is a little clunky: there’s no way to grab all the images at once. What may work, though, is using an iPad app called ShutterSnitch (also covered in Gadget Lab, this time in May). ShutterSnitch has its own FTP server, and normally pulls in images as you take them from an Eye-Fi card or a wireless transmitter. In theory, you should be able to combine the two for some fast wireless transfers (or fast-ish: the AirStash has a 802.11b/g radio).
It’s still a little awkward. The AirStash folks really need to write an App that pulls from their dongle to make things a little easier. Otherwise, this looks like a neat photographers’ toy.