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Wireless Imaging

8/01/2006 01:50:00 PM Eastern

TWICE:
Do you all see wireless playing a fairly large role in digital photography?

Carr: Absolutely. I think the whole world is going to go wireless in the next 10 years. Kodak and Nikon have come up with wireless solutions that were well received, but the world isn't ready for it yet. The networks aren't there. The consumer is unaware of it. I said this several years ago here — we’ll have the “phone home” camera. I push the button and my pictures upload into my shoebox. That's what the consumer will eventually have.

Campbell: The consumers are expecting it. They want it to happen. They just want to make sure that it works just as simply as picking up their cellphone today and making that call. They don't want to have to go through a lot of steps. And they don’t want to have to make sure they’ve got the right service and this and that.

I think it's good that the industry as a whole is moving in that direction. But I don’t think it’s going to change the face of imaging. I don’t think it's going to be a game changer.

Carr: Well, look at the mobile camera phone market today. It outsells digital cameras 4-to-1. By 2009 it will be almost 10-to-1. Ten-to-1 imaging devices out there that are wireless and connected. The quality is terrible and the experience of accessing your pictures is terrible. But we were there five years ago. So you just think, three years out if they can solve those problems working with imaging companies like ours, then, yes, it will be a wireless imaging world.

TWICE:
How large of a role have camera phones played today, both in terms of eating away at the lower end of the point-and-shoot market and as an incremental source of prints.

Peck: Let me just tell you a story for how I see it. I have a teenage daughter …

Lee: I feel your pain.

Peck: You know exactly what I'm talking about. Now, here I am, I work for Canon, and I asked her if she would like a digital camera to use. She said, “No, I'm going to use my disposable film camera.” I could not convince her to use a digital camera. Finally she got a camera phone and she started taking some digital pictures. She said, “This is really cool. I really like it. Now I want to get a real camera.” So of course I got her a digital camera and now she only uses her digital camera. So I think it's a good entry point, particularly for young people.

Lundeen: There is very little printing of cam phones images today. But guess what, there are a lot of reasons why. The megapixels aren’t high enough, so the image quality is very poor. Fewer than 15 percent of the devices have a removable media card. It's not the primary reason you acquired that cam phone. You didn't acquire it because it would take pictures.

So most of the industry sources are saying camera phone printing will never get out of the single digits. But look at all those things holding it back. Now watch the image quality go up, watch them get more removable memory. All bets are off. Those devices are going to be capturing 10 times as many images as the digital cameras.

Carr: We saw this movie five years ago. The digital camera market was in the same position. The quality wasn’t good enough, people couldn’t figure out how to get the pictures off the camera, and now everybody's printing. And with camera phones it's going to happen even faster because we've laid the path for them. I would say by the end of this decade absolutely.

TWICE:
Will the ubiquitous camera phone have an actual impact on camera sales?

Carr: If you look at the way that it's trending, yes. I think that cameras will be imbedded in portable connected devices. There will always be that enthusiast market, but the camera you use everyday will be connected.

Lee: Certainly cellphones will impact on the low end of the marketplace. But it's important for the manufacturers to continue to drive the technology, the ease of use, the size, all those different reasons why they won't want a convergent device.

Campbell: U.S. consumers are inherently leery of devices that are integrated. There are some products that have worked well, and there are other products that just haven’t been successful because consumers are afraid that if one component fails, they’ll have to replace both.

Carr: Your statement works well in the U.S. but when you look at the emerging markets, India and China, many of the people that are moving into imaging, their very first experience with a camera is a camera phone. They're going to change the face of photography.

TWICE:
How do you see the relationship playing out between your companies and the mobile phone makers? Do you see this as a partnership opportunity or as somewhat of a standoff?

Carr: Well we've already established a very deep 10-year partnership with Motorola that is totally open-ended, covering devices and co-developing technologies. We see this as the future of imaging. Helping phone makers increase picture quality and making it easier for people to get photos out of the camera is going to develop more and more services. For two or three years now, we have had relationships with almost every carrier to upload pictures to Kodak mobile. So we jumped on this quite early. We definitely see it as an important trend.

TWICE:
Anyone else?

Carr: Come on, you guys have got to have something to say.

Lee: Good luck!