Kodak unveils a wi-fi camera system
Las Vegas January 9, 2005 Taking images with a camera and sending them wirelessly to a third party is a technology that has only been available to newspaper photographers in the last decade, and at massive expense. Accordingly, Kodak’s announcement of the EASYSHARE-ONE, a new digital photography system with wi-fi connectivity for US$599 is a landmark in the history imaging, let alone digital imaging.
"This is so much more than just another camera introduction. It's about giving people the ability to instantly share a picture while they're still in the moment - whether with a person by their side, or a person across the globe - simply, quickly, and elegantly," said Kodak's Greg Westbrook.
"The EASYSHARE-ONE redefines what is possible with a digital camera. We're changing the digital photography experience from point-and-shoot to point-and-share," said Westbrook. "We have combined the power of digital picture taking, intelligent organization, the freedom of wireless, and sophisticated picture sharing into a single innovative product."
For Kodak, the hope is that the ability to more easily share high quality images from a purpose-built digital camera (compared to the currently lesser quality images of a camera phone) will be compelling enough to win it back market share in the marketplace it once dominated.
Kodak is now fourth in worldwide digital camera sales behind Canon, Sony and Olympus, with Fuji, Nikon and HP all mounting serious challenges. For most of the last century, Kodak has been the leader in (silver-halide-based) camera sales. The company launched its famous box brownie in 1900 in the United States at the then princely sum of $1.
The rise of digital photography has been dramatic over the last few years, with camera phone sales now fuelling the population's interest in digital photography and promoting the advantages of being able to send digital images wirelessly.
As camera phones continue to increase in pixel count, Kodak has been the first digital camera manufacturer to recognise the importance of the feature and has built it into the four megapixel EASYSHARE-ONE.
The EASYSHARE-ONE uses a SCHNEIDER-KREUZNACH VARIOGON 3X optical zoom lens (36 - 108 mm equivalent), a 4-megapixel sensor, and the exclusive KODAK Color Science image processing chip. It also takes TV-quality video with built-in 30 frames-per-second motion and sound recording, plus the ability to share those videos via the KODAK EASYSHARE Gallery.
Most significantly, the EASYSHARE-ONE further opens up some fertile ground for Kodak in the PC-centric digital camera market. Over 90 per cent of digital camera owners have computers. With Kodak continuing to focus on use-friendly design, EASYSHARE-ONE will greatly appeal to the non-computer user.
The EASYSHARE-ONE has a high-resolution three-inch touch screen display, making it easy to use for direct wireless picture emailing and online album viewing via a wireless connection to KODAK EASYSHARE Gallery (formerly Ofoto). By connecting to the Gallery through a compatible home network or public hotspot *, people can upload the pictures and videos for near instantaneous electronic sharing with friends around the world.
Owners of the KODAK EASYSHARE-ONE camera will also have integrated access to T-MOBILE HotSpot service, available at more than 5,000 convenient locations across the United States. Subscription plans will be available for the camera beginning later this year.
The same KODAK Wi-Fi card that provides the EASYSHARE-ONE camera with wireless capabilities can now be used with the recently introduced KODAK EASYSHARE Printer Dock Plus.
In addition to printing pictures in as little as 60 seconds without a computer, it can now transfer pictures from a docked camera or memory card to networked computers throughout a home. With the card, the Printer Dock Plus can also receive pictures for printing from Wi-Fi-enabled laptops, PDAs, and other devices without requiring them to be in the same room.
Like all new EASYSHARE digital cameras, the EASYSHARE-ONE is compatible with the new IMAGELINK print system. By placing the camera on an EASYSHARE printer dock or other photo printers compatible with the IMAGELINK system, people can print their pictures in as little as 90 seconds at the touch of a button. And, with the EASYSHARE printer docks, people have the built-in convenience of rapid camera battery recharging and one-touch picture transfer to a connected computer.
The EASYSHARE-ONE camera will begin reaching retailers in June, with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of US$599. The optional KODAK Wi-Fi card will be available separately.
More information on the KODAK EASYSHARE system is available at www.kodak.com/go/EasyShare.