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PhotoChannel Adds Summus Mobile Imaging Service

PhotoChannel Networks (PNI) announced a partnership with mobile media applications developer Summus to offer camera phone printing with PhotoChannel’s retail partners.

By integrating Summus’ mobile photo services infrastructure with PNI’s existing Digital Media Platform for content distribution, PNI is able to provide its U.S. and Canadian retail partners with camera phone image development.

PNI serves 8,000 retail locations, including Wal-Mart Canada, Eckerd’s Drugs and Pathmark, among others.

Retailers utilizing the new service will be able to offer their customers a branded application that resides on a camera phone handset for automatically sending images and print orders, said Kyle Hall, executive VP, PhotoChannel Networks. The billing is done in store and the user is charged for a “premium message” by the carrier, Hall said.

The application can work with Java, Brew and Symbian-based handsets, Hall noted.

The service will be rolled out to PNI partners in the first quarter of next year.

Summus also powers a similar service, Fujifilm’s Get the Picture Online, but unlike Fujifilm’s offering, PNI is mini-lab and printer agnostic, Hall noted. “We can work with any manufacturer’s equipment.”

While camera phone quality lags behind traditional digital still cameras, Hall noted that camera phones are improving and that camera phone users were already avidly sharing their photos. “As the resolution improves, you’ll see more and more prints,” Hall said.