Kodak’s big hopes for surprise new camera
KODAK has unveiled a new camera it hopes will save the company, which six years ago plunged into bankruptcy.
Kodak, a name that has been synonymous with photography since it was founded in 1888, was on the brink of folding just a few years ago, unable and somewhat unwilling to compete with the rise of smartphone cameras.
Now, Kodak has launched a product at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas which it believes will be popular enough to see Kodak cameras back in the hands of consumers.
The Kodak Instant Smile Classic is a vintage-inspired camera which uses a pop-up viewfinder with an LCD display and a 10-megapixel camera.
It has a ten-second timer, automatic flash and MicroSD card slot. It also allows users to send their photos via Bluetooth to their smartphones so they can have a digital copy.
And, in reverse, you can print photos taken on your iOS or Android device by connecting it with the camera via Bluetooth through the Kodak Instant Print Companion App.
The printer uses Zink paper (Zero Ink), which incorporates dye crystals and a Polymer overcoat, which means the colour doesn't run and you don't have to shake it like a Polaroid picture.
The printed photo is 8.91 centimetres by 10.79 centimetres.
Kodak says the Instant Smile Classic is likely to launch in Australia in the third quarter of the year for around $US150.
Nick Rangel, Kodak's head of external communication, told News Corp Australia that the company had big hopes for the Instant Smile camera.
"I think people still want to buy a Kodak camera and while we have had our struggles the brand has been fairly resilient because people still associate us with imaging and photography," he said. "It is the lasting sense of the brand and working out how we do what we do well in 2019."
"I think the last five weddings I have been to you always see that table where people can take pictures and it shows you that people still want that tangible product so we think it is going to be really popular," he said.
The brainchild behind the Instant Smile Classic is C+A Global, a brand licensing agent and regular Kodak partner who brought the idea to the company a couple of years ago.
C+A Global spokeswoman Megan Linebargher said they had worked closely with Kodak on producing a stylish design and functionality that consumers will embrace.
"I know from working with Kodak over the past couple of years and with the resurgence of print being so desirable it has been such a great thing for the brand because we can go back to those roots but bring it into the future," she said. "The photos have a sticky back so you get more functionality. They are tearproof and waterproof and when they come out there is no shaking, they are already dry and even if you smear your hand across it they won't change."
Foad Fadaghi, managing director of technology insight firm, Telsyte, said while the product was a step in the right direction for Kodak it would not catapult the company back to its former glory.
"The new Kodak product will have appeal but is unlikely to help the company become a behemoth again given the niche nature of the printing market," he said. "Photography has moved on to smartphone and Instagram"
The camera will be available at Kodak stores and through Amazon.
This journalist travelled to the CES in Las Vegas courtesy of Samsung.