The Flip-Pal mobile scanner is one of the favorite tools of genealogists. This battery-powered scanner will make digital images of photos, documents, medals, personal letters, and much more. I use mine when visiting relatives who have significant collections of old family photographs. I suspect most of these relatives would not be receptive to my borrowing the photos for a few days or weeks to have copies made. However, every relative I have asked so far has allowed me to make digital copies with a Flip-Pal scanner while they watched. Of course, I also give them a thumb drive containing a digital copy of everything I digitize before I leave.
The Flip-Pal mobile scanner will scan any photograph or document up to 4-by-6 inches. For larger items, it is possible to scan each section of the item and then use the included software to later “stitch” the segments together into a single larger image. The process works well although is a bit time-consuming. “Stitching” is a great solution for a few scans, but I wouldn’t want to “stitch” together several hundred of them!
Windows and Macintosh software is included with the Flip-Pal mobile scanner. All data is stored on a SecureDigital (SDHC) card. That means that no cables or special drivers are needed. In fact, it isn’t even necessary to have a computer when scanning items. After scanning, you simply remove the SDHC card from the scanner and plug it into your computer or into one of the many inexpensive SD adapters that plug into an available USB connector on your computer.
One drawback of using an SDHC card is that many tablet computers and the so-called “smartphones” do not have USB connectors or SDHC connectors. You cannot directly import the images into your iPad or Android tablet computer. If you want to carry your photo collection with you in a tablet, you have to first copy to a desktop or laptop computer and then transfer them from that computer to the tablet. Wouldn’t it be convenient if you could copy the images from the Flip-Pal to a tablet or other computer by using a wireless wi-fi connection? Even better, wouldn’t you like to edit those photos directly on the tablet computer?
Luckily, there is a multi-purpose, wireless solution that solves this and other problems.
You can add instant wireless transfer to the Flip-Pal mobile scanner by replacing the standard Flip-Pal SD card with a Mobi card. Mobi stores the scans like a regular SDHC card, but unlike the others, it includes built-in wi-fi capability that connects your scanner to mobile devices and Windows or Macintosh OS X computers. This combination enables you to scan and then WIRELESSLY send high-quality digital copies of your original photos, artwork, or documents to your iOS or Android mobile device, or to your Windows or OS-X computer. In addition to the LCD screen on the scanner, you can now also review your scans on the larger screen of your smartphone or tablet.
The Mobi 4-gigabyte SDHC card is part of Flip-Pal’s Wireless Upgrade package, along with a Quick Start Card and a plastic Membership Card. The Flip-Pal Toolbox 4 software is pre-installed on the Mobi card with its Record (StoryScans™) feature activated.
Best of all, the Wireless Upgrade can use software available on the Android and Apple app stores that adds a lot of functionality to Android and Apple iOS wireless devices. With the Wireless Upgrade, all that is needed is the Flip-Pal scanner plus an Android, iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch mobile device. You can use the Wireless Upgrade with the Flip-Pal mobile scanner to rotate, crop, and create StoryScans™ talking photos as well as to stitch, crop, rotate, correct color, and upload to the cloud.
The Mobi card can store more than 2,000 scans. If the Mobi card becomes full, you can transfer the images to a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone computer, erase the card, and then make up to 2,000 more digital images.
NOTE: The Mobi card sold by Flip-Pal is really made by EyeFi. It is a wireless card and then the Wireless Upgrade software is added by the Flip-Pal folks. You can purchase EyeFi cards elsewhere, probably at cheaper prices. However, the required software will only be included on the so-called “Mobi cards” sold by Flip-Pal. If you want to purchase a wireless card from some other vendor, make sure it has the required Wireless Upgrade pre-installed in order to avoid a disappointment.
The Mobi card, including Wireless Upgrade, is available directly from Flip-Pal for $39.99 at http://flip-pal.com/product/wireless-upgrade/. That price includes free shipping within the continental US. It does not include the Flip-Pal mobile scanner, but you can purchase the scanner from the same web site for $149.99.
You can also purchase a bundle that includes the Flip-Pal scanner and the Wireless Upgrade card with all the required software from Amazon for $189.98 plus shipping. See http://goo.gl/83s0X0 for details.
A Flip-Pal mobile scanner plus the Mobi card with Wireless Upgrade gives the best of both worlds: it still works with Windows and Macintosh desktop and laptop computers PLUS it also works with Android, iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch mobile devices.