Software Makers Court Retailers With Print Potential

By Greg Scoblete On Mar 13 2006 - 8:00am

As the photo industry grapples with how to manage the umpteen billion images piling up in hard drives and CD-Rs, photo software vendors are increasingly forging links with retailers to integrate desktop-to-retail printing options into their products, or offer private-label software to retailers who want a place on the desktop.

Adobe added online backup services for users of its Photoshop and Creative Suite imaging programs, courtesy of a partnership with Iron Mountain. Using the latter's Connected DataProtector subscription service, Adobe users will be able to automatically back up digital images and other digital assets.

Iron Mountain's service will be integrated with Adobe Bridge as well as Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0 and 4.0, and Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition 3.0 in the second quarter.

ArcSoft added four new low-cost titles to its retail line of imaging software. The lineup includes Scan-n-Stitch Deluxe for scanning oversized artwork, such as scrapbook pages, in discrete units to automatically create one file for archiving, e-mailing and printing; Panorama Maker for stitching digital images together for a panoramic image; Funhouse, which offers templates for creating personalized magazine covers, cartoons, trading cards and sport scenes; and Photo Montage, which can create a single image using hundreds or thousands of digital images.

All the titles will retail for $39.99.

The company also announced a new version of its PhotoImpression software. Version 6 will offer a new interface and features batch processing, an automatic photo fix wizard, image tagging and a calendar browser. It will be available in April.

Datacolor's ColorVision division announced the Spyder2express monitor calibrator for use on CRT, LCD and notebook displays. The $99 device lets users ensure their monitors accurately reproduce color according to International Color Consortium (ICC) standards. The consumer-oriented device features a wizard-based software interface for use on PCs and Macs. The product bundles Adobe's Photoshop Album starter edition (Windows only) and will ship in March.

Logitech announced a tool for Photoshop users, the NuLOOQ navigator, to be used in conjunction with a mouse and keyboard when editing images on a Mac.

The device works with an interface software called tooldial (which will also be sold separately) for quickly navigating around images and accessing Photoshop editing tools with dedicated controls. The software ($49.99) can automatically detect specific applications and bring up associated menus to access up to 72 frequently used editing tools.

The NuLOOQ will ship this month for a suggested $149.99, with tool dial software included.

Nikon announced a collaboration agreement with Nik Software to jointly develop and distribute digital photography software and imaging technologies. The deal expands Nik's existing relationship with Nikon and will enable the camera company to expand its software offering to mainstream consumers, a Nikon spokesman said.

SimpleStar launched its first PhotoShow software product to incorporate recently acquired OurPicture's print-to-retail service and a new service designed to allow “connected TVs” to display multimedia “PhotoShows.”

PhotoShow Print & Share will incorporate OurPictures' technology to allow users to upload prints at home to retail locations for printing. The software will initially be distributed by Ritz and Wolf Camera Stores for free with the purchase of a digital camera or for $2 when a user orders photo prints.

The software features a scaled-down version of the PhotoShow creator and will also allow retailers to profit from the company's PhotoShow DVD creation, said Chad Richardson, CEO, SimpleStar.

The program will also incorporate OurPictures' automated image backup service PictureSafe. The subscription-based application automatically uploads duplicate image files to a server for archival purposes.

PhotoShowTV is a Web-based service that ties into the company's existing subscription-based PhotoShow Circle Web site. It works with Windows Media Center PCs to send stored PhotoShows to connected televisions. The service lets users choose which shows to view on the set and can also automatically pull new PhotoShows to the television.

PhotoShowTV users receive a complimentary PhotoShow Circle membership. Pricing on the new service has not been set.

Preclick announced that its PhotoBackPack will be the primary imaging software on SanDisk's line of U3-enabled flash drives.

PhotoBackPack for the U3 platform gives users all the Preclick Photo Organizer features to organize, share, print and order prints from any SanDisk U3 smart drive. Preclick software is used by HP under the Photosmart Essential brand, and also by Costco for linking users back to Costco for making photo prints.

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