New York — Drug store chain Duane Reade announced a new service powered by digital imaging software and kiosk-maker Pixology that will allow Duane Reade customers to send camera phone images directly to Duane Reade locations for printing.
Duane Reade will offer a software download on its Web-site that will allow Series 60 Symbian-based camera cell phones to transmit digital images to any one of the 160 Duane Reade locations in New York where they will be printed.
According to Yuval Yashiv, CEO of the London-based Pixology, the Pixology solution streamlines the process of camera phone-to-retail print ordering services currently on the market from rivals such as Kodak and Fujifilm.
"The current solution is camera phone to Web-site and then to retail," Yashiv said. "We eliminate the middle step."
The Pixology camera phone printing technology is a PC-based application that will allow any retailer with a digital minilab and PC to process camera phone print orders, Yashiv said. Duane Reade has configured the service so that its customers must pay for the prints in store, but the service could also be offered on a pre-paid basis.
Pixology is currently evaluating consumer printing behavior before finalizing its business model, but it will be some combination of charging retailers for a software license and/or drawing a percentage of the print revenue, Yashiv said.
Despite the low resolution of camera phone images, typically 1-megapixel and below, Yashiv expressed confidence that camera phone printing is poised to blossom, especially as 1- and 2-megapixel camera phones penetrate the market.
"The sheer number of camera phones on the market leads us to think this will be big," he said.
Pixology also opened a U.S. sales and support office in New Jersey and named a former Duane Reade executive, Mike Piston, to be the company’s senior VP of North American operations.