By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Kodak will offer retailers a several doorways into the burgeoning markets for photo merchandise and batch-scanning, leveraging its Qualex wholesale photofinishing subsidiary along with new partnerships and hardware for on-site production, the company announced at the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) show, held here March 8-11.
In addition to retail print solutions, the company added several new EasyShare digital cameras to its lineup.
For retailers, Kodak demonstrated a set of solutions for digitizing customer's moldering shoeboxes of prints. According to Kodak, the solutions can be performed on a wholesale basis by its Qualex photofinishing subsidiary or offered by individual retailers on-site. The Qualex scanning service will be rolled out this summer to service online and retailer customers. Consumers can pick up a kit in-store or order one online, package up their photos and either mail them directly to Qualex or drop them back off to the retail store.
Qualex will scan the photos, upload them to an online account and burn them onto a Kodak Picture Movie DVD. The DVD can store up to 2,000 images, and it and the original photos are returned to the consumer. Kodak said the service would cost "less than $100."
For in-store scanning, Kodak will offer the s1220 system, which batch scans and auto-corrects images at 30 ppm. Scanned photos could be burned to a CD or DVD or uploaded to photo Web sites.
Kodak will also leverage Qualex to offer retailers the ability to fulfill photo book, calendar, poster and greeting card orders. Image files delivered online can be fulfilled effectively immediately. Suggested retails start at $7.99 while images from film, CD and memory cards can be processed in May and will cost $11.99.
Retailers will also have the opportunity to fulfill orders for soft and hard bound books from 5 inches by 7 inches to coffee-table-sized, 80-page volumes. There will be a total of 11 photo books to choose from with retails ranging from $12.99 to $69.99, depending on size and cover materials.
Kodak also announced new Custom Creations software, a desktop application that allows consumers to create photo merchandise at home and either upload the order to retail or burn it to a CD, which can then be delivered to a retailer. The software has templates for photo books and calendars, which can be fulfilled in-store or via Qualex. It can even be fulfilled by retailers who do not run Kodak equipment, provided they have the requisite output and binding devices, said Rowan Lawson, kiosk group worldwide marketing director.
It will be available for free in May on Kodak's Web site.
According to Lawson, the software will eventually be incorporated into the company's free Easy-Share digital imaging software which the company delivers with its digital cameras and distributes for free on its Web site.
For retailers wishing to create photo books in store, the pages can be output on silver halide or thermal paper and bound with one of three binders. Kodak has partnered with Powis Parker to offer two of three binders.
Kodak also demonstrated several new retail solutions including automated slideshow creation on its Picture Maker kiosk. The concept, Lawson said, is to have consumers upload a number of images which the kiosk will then create into a multimedia slideshow with music and transition effects added automatically. The finished product would be a Kodak Picture Movie DVD which could be played in a standard DVD player.
The slideshow creation software could be loaded onto any G4 kiosk with a DVD burner, but Kodak is still determining whether it should be a behind the counter solution or something where consumers do it themselves, Lawson said.
Stores with more modest printing ambitions can avail themselves of the company's new GS Compact Picture Maker. It supports stores with a print demand of roughly 30-70 photos per day and can produce 4-inch by 6-inch, 5-inch by 7-inch, and 6-inch by 8-inch prints from the same media pack.
The kiosk will be available in September with a list price of $2,500.
On the camera front, the company introduced two Z-series and two C-series models.
The 7-megapixel Z712 IS sports a 12x optical zoom lens (36mm-432 mm, 35mm equivalent) with optical image stabilization. It ships in April for a suggested $299.
The 8-megapixel Z885 offers a 5x optical zoom lens, a wmaximum ISO of 8,000 and 10 scene modes. It will ship in May for a suggested $199.
In its entry-level C-series, Kodak added a pair of models offering 3x optical zoom lenses. The 6-megapixel C613 and 7-megapixel C763 will retail for $119 and $179, respectively.
Lastly, Kodak updated its printer dock with the new G610. It can produce a photo print in less than a minute, the company claimed.
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