Kodak eases the digital divide

Kodak is attempting to bring digital imaging off the desktop and into print, with a range of new products designed to bridge the divide between taking photos and printing them with a digital camera.

The company has announced a range of new EasyShare cameras and accessories, as well as its new PalmPix camera for Palm m500 and 505 handhelds. It has also launched the first camera to merge more traditional film technology with digital imaging. The Kodak Advantix Preview allows users to preview their photos on a 1.8-inch colour liquid crystal display - one of the most popular features of digital camera technology.

"Digital picture-taking has made the leap with consumers but printing has not," said Penny Leith, a spokesperson from Kodak's digital and applied imaging unit. "To make a good 5x7 inch print you need a minimum of one megapixels. Price point is still a barrier for many people and photo-finishing services is not big in Australia, unlike the United States. Kodak has the opportunity to educate people that getting a print from a digital image is easy."

Kodak's strategy focuses around the concept of easy image sharing, with three focuses; consumer to retail, online services and wireless technology. With market growth that more resembles the European segment than the Asian market, household penetration of digital camera technology is just under 5 per cent in Australia, according to the company. Future growth of the market will depend on a combination of price point, accessories and ease of use. Kodak is now looking at partnering with online print providers for service options - a strategy that has served the vendor well in the US.

Kodak also plans to add to its accessories and paper range as demand increases, with borderless prints and cards expected to be big with consumers. Its inkjet photographic quality paper represents just two per cent of the market, but around 40 per cent of revenue in this area, according to Kodak which has just released two new papers for use with leading inkjet printers.