By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
HP unveiled a range of imaging products at the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) trade show, held here March 8-11.
The company added three new Photosmart digital cameras, two new camera/printer bundles and an updated Photosmart Studio retail printing solution.
Topping the line of Vista-ready Photosmart digital cameras is the 7-megapixel R837. The camera features a 3-inch LCD with a170-degree viewing angle, a 3x optical zoom lens, 32MB of internal memory and VGA/24 fps video recording.
The camera will also debut several new "Real Life" technologies to join the existing suite of image fixes found on earlier HP cameras. New for 2007 is pet-eye fix to reduce the red-eye effect on animals. According to Linda Kennedy, digital camera category manager, pets are the second-most photographed subject. A new touch-up editing tool lets users identify facial blemishes and remove them in-camera.
The R837 also incorporates an anti-shake mode, which boosts ISO and shutter speed to combat blur. It will ship in April for an estimated $229.
The 6-megapixel M537 features a 3x optical zoom lens, 2.5-inch LCD screen, 16MB of internal memory, anti-shake blur reduction and in-camera red-eye fix (the human variety). It ships in April for an estimated $129.
Also due in April, the 5-megapixel M437 sports a 3x optical zoom lens, 2-inch LCD screen, 16MB of internal memory and anti-shake blur reduction. It will retail for an estimated $109.
HP expects to offer roughly as many digital cameras in 2007 as it did in 2006 when it launched 14 models, Kennedy said.
The company will also continue to offer a printer/camera bundle, with two new "Print & Share" kits arriving in April. The $179 A442 bundles the M437 camera and the A440 4-inch by 6-inch printer dock, while the A446 SKU bundles the printer and M537 camera for $199.
The printer cranks out a print in less than 40 seconds, HP said. It offers built-in auto red-eye removal and will be accompanied by two optional carrying cases.
The company will support the printer with a $19.99 tri-color cartridge, a photo pack in the Custom 110 Series for $34.99 and a line of photo papers starting at $11.99.
All of the new consumer products, including PCs, will ship with an updated version of the company's Photosmart Essential software (v. 2.0) for image organizing, editing and printing. The software is integrated with HP's Snapfish online photo Web site.
On the retail side, the firm plans to update its Photosmart Studio in-store kiosk system leveraging the recently acquired technology from Silverwire to tie the kiosk to Internet ordering, said Kalle Marsal, retail solutions marketing director.
The PS2000, for a list price of roughly $50,000, can produce photo merchandise, including large-format posters and hard-bound photo books, alongside traditional photo prints. It features a print kiosk and also ties into the new pl1000e Microlab, which HP is positioning as an alternative to a full-blown minilab.
The inkjet-based pl1000e can produce 700 4-inch by 6-inch prints in an hour and will list for $1,200. It can tie into kiosk input stations, larger format printers and other pieces of HP's modular Studio system. The company is targeting firms with older minilabs or medium to low volume photofinishers, Marsal said.
The company is also working to tie its Snapfish Web site (and retail Web sites, like Wal-Mart's photo site, that are run by Snapfish) into its kiosk solutions.
HP's initial Photosmart studio is currently being trialed in 50 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores, among other retail outlets, as a means of bringing more creative output options typically ordered online, into a retail store. Marsal said HP and Wal-Mart were currently "working on the next phase" of the relationship.
The company is also running smaller test with consumer electronics retailers, Marsal said. "The challenge is that the biggest photo printer is the mom" and moms tend to gravitate toward other retail channels traditionally associated with photo printing, he said.
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