New Photoshop features in the Cloud


I haven’t even tried all the features in the last version, and now there’s more — but the latest features are only available to subscribers: Adobe Systems says its new Photoshop CS6 capabilities available to Creative Cloud members include smart object support for blur gallery and liquify, 3D enhancements including improved live previews of shadow effects, and support for Retina displays on Apple’s MacBook Pro.

Also, the new “Creative Cloud for Teams” makes it easy for creative professionals to collaborate with colleagues, with easy management of virtual workgroups, and 100GB of cloud storage per user.

Adobe Creative Cloud membership for individuals is $50 per month; Creative Cloud for teams is $70.



Ilford offers… single-use black & white cameras?


Hey, I like niche products as much as the next guy… but every now and then comes an item where I have to wonder if the potential buying audience numbers only in the dozens…?

But then, you might be exactly the customer Ilford has in mind for its new cameras — or your own customers might enjoy such an item.

What’s so niche here? Well, it’s not just a single-use camera. It’s not just a film camera instead of digital imaging. And it’s not just black & white instead of color. Nope, it’s a B&W film disposable camera. That’s right. B&W. Film. Disposable. Just what you’ve been looking for, right?

(And here’s where dozens of enthusiasts adamantly exclaim “Hey Paul you elitist moron, that IS what I’ve been looking for!”)

Ilford says it disposable cameras are “perfect for party and wedding celebrations.” There are two film choices available, each with 27 exposures. The XP2 can be processed at any shop using C41. The HP5 is intended for processing at locations with standard black and white film processing and printing chemistry, “resulting in true, real black and white prints that have a unique look as the images are made from silver.”

The cameras have a flash and “a smart clean new look.” They’re priced at about $15 and $25, and are out now only in the U.K., apparently.



Kodak extends retail relationship with CVS

Relax, you’ll continue to be able to pick up prints and prescriptions at one location: Kodak announced it’s extended its relationship with CVS/pharmacy through 2016, adding that the four-year “extension of our relationship is great news for both companies, and for consumers who enjoy our services.”

CVS operates 7,400 stores across the U.S. and is the largest customer of Kodak’s Retail Systems Solutions business, Kodak says, with more than 15,000 Kodak kiosks in its stores.

As part of the agreement, CVS will upgrade and expanding its APEX dry lab systems, which Kodak says “provide a more economical way for retailers to produce photo products, improve profitability, reduce their environmental footprint, and expand their customer offerings.”



Found-object Christmas music in photo frame factory


It’s viral marketing at its finest, using one of the seasonal songs I don’t get tired of:  The staff at Alphabet Photography’s framing shop “came together as a team this holiday season” for a special performance of The Carol Of The Bells.

The video was shot in the company warehouse, with “sounds from the machinery that we use daily.” It looks natural and spontaneous, but they say it was rehearsed “more than 125 times, with more than 720 man-hours going into the performance and recording of the video.”

Enjoy the show here.



ICanHasCheezburger? RPI to print internet memes


Today, “people crave a connection with tactile objects to accompany their virtual experiences,” says private-label photo printer RPI. And personalized products fill that craving, extending the content experience into the physical world.

Now, to meet growing consumer demand in the online greeting card, pet humanization and mass customization categories, RPI partnered with leading humor website Cheezburger to offer personalized “ICanHasCheezburger” cards.

More than 20,000 photos and videos are uploaded to Cheezburger’s properties every day, the company says.

Seattle, Wash-based RPI (Reischling Press, Inc.) produces personalized photo books, greeting cards and stationery products for mass and specialty retailers. Through its embedded storefront service, RPI says it can offer Cheezburger and other brands a new way to monetize the social photography experience.

The two companies are working with The Madison Park Group, a manufacturer and distributor in the specialty stationery and gift industry.

The companies say the partnership “demonstrates how companies can further their existing brands, drive additional revenue and increase customer loyalty through personalized products.”

RPI CEO Rick Bellamy explains why social imaging will prove increasingly important to photography and printing in our interview here.



Google to buy Viewdle for $45 million


Visual analysis company Viewdle may be the latest acquisition of Google; the search leader is reportedly paying about $45 million for the Ukraine-based imaging firm.

Motorola, the handset maker acquired this year by Google, was reportedly interested in Viewdle last year.

Acting CEO Jason Mitura participated in our social imaging earlier this year; you can read his outspoken views in the 6Sight Magazine here:

As we reported last year, Viewdle developed SocialCamera, a free Android app that adds face recognition to identify “the people you take photos of the most, and tag them for you,” the company says. SocialCamera creates a “faceprint of your friends, so you can automatically match their social contact info to their picture. Your camera will know who to send your photos to,” via Flickr, Facebook, email, or MMS.

We first covered Viewdle way back 2007, noting the company claimed its facial recognition technology recognizes a face after seeing it just once —and its video indexing and reference system fuses its facial-recognition visual analysis technology with other search techniques  for frame-by-frame analysis that indexes video at 55 frames per second —“nearly instantaneously.”



Olympus and Sony confirm business and capital alliance

Olympus and Sony announced the two companies entered into a business alliance agreement and a capital alliance agreement, through which, “the strengths of the two companies will merge,” Olympus says, making it possible for it “to contribute to world medical progress by developing a variety of new medical devices that would not be possible by Olympus alone. In the field of digital cameras, we will seek to achieve collaboration in a manner that further improves the competitiveness of the two companies.”

More to the point for the PMA audience: Sony say it “also believes there are many potential opportunities for collaboration between Olympus and Sony’s digital camera businesses, and are confident that by building on our respective strengths we can also enhance and grow our presence in this market.”

Olympus and Sony say they plan to “explore opportunities for collaboration between their respective camera businesses including transactions involving core components primarily for compact digital cameras, with the aim of enhancing the corporate value of each company.”

The companies say the business and capital alliances are expected to allow them “to combine Olympus’s lens and optical technologies, as well as the strength of its brand and R&D, with Sony’s broad range of technologies including digital imaging technologies and apply them in the rapidly growing medical market.”

The two companies “also aim to enhance their competitiveness, primarily in the area of compact digital cameras, by exploring opportunities for mutually beneficial transactions and collaboration between their respective camera businesses, including the supply of Olympus technologies such as camera lenses and mirror cells to Sony, and the provision of Sony image sensors to Olympus.”

Olympus says it “has been pushing to enhance its financial strength and weighing the possibility of a business and capital tie-up for greater business synergy in the core business domains of medical and imaging.” Olympus decided to ally with Sony, “which is strong in image sensors and other image-related technologies. Partnering with Sony will provide great advantage to Olympus and enable the two companies to exchange various complementary competencies. Investment from Sony will help strengthen our financial base.”

Sony adds it is “aggressively pursuing the growth of our medical business, with the aim of developing it into a key pillar of our overall business portfolio. The business and capital alliances we have agreed with Olympus today will be integral to these plans. By combining Sony’s cutting-edge technologies in areas such as digital imaging, 3D, and 4K with Olympus’s long-standing experience and established foundations in the medical market, we believe that we will be able to create highly innovative and competitive products and generate new business opportunities in surgical endoscopes and other related areas where significant future growth is anticipated.”

The capital alliance agreement calls for Olympus to issue 34,387,900 new common shares to Sony through a third-party allotment. Sony’s ratio of voting rights after the third-party allotment will be 11.46 percent. The price is 1,454 per share.

Olympus executives plead guilty

Former Olympus chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa pleaded guilty to charges of falsifying accounts, the BBC reports, covering up losses of $1.7bn. “There is no mistake. The entire responsibility lies with me,” Mr. Kikukawa said in court on Tuesday.

Two other former executives filed a guilty plea in Tokyo District Court. They face up to 10 years in prison, the BBC adds.

The three admitted to hiding losses dating back to the 1990s, which were brought to light by former chief executive Michael Woodford.

The BBC News report is here.

The Imaging Resource details the scandal here.


Kodak to cut 1,000 more jobs; CFO, President resign

Kodak announced plans to cut an additional 1,000 jobs by the end of the year, and the resignation of two top executives.

The WS Journal reports that many creditors “called for management changes, specifically for chief executive Antonio Perez and chief financial officer Antoinette P. McCorvey to resign.”

McCorvey is now leaving the company, as is president and former chief operating officer Philip J. Faraci.

“We recognize that we must significantly and expeditiously reduce our current cost structure, which is designed for a much larger, more diversified set of businesses,” the company says. “We are reorganizing our senior management team, an action that will help accelerate the creation of a sustainable cost structure for operating our business for the benefit of our customers and position our Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses for successful sales.”

Kodak president Laura G. Quatela will assume the additional role of president of Personalized Imaging. She is expected to remain with Kodak until the sale of that business is completed in the first half of 2013.

The company has reduced its workforce by approximately 2,700 employees worldwide since the beginning of 2012. Kodak expects to reduce its workforce by approximately an additional 1,000 employees by the end of 2012.

Kodak ending consumer inkjet printer sales

Starting in 2013, Kodak will “wind down sales of consumer inkjet printers.”

Kodak says it “remains committed to its significant installed base of consumer inkjet printer customers, who recognize the value proposition of affordable ink, high-quality output because of Kodak’s unique pigment-based inks, and advanced features including cloud printing. The company will provide its customers and retail partners the same level of service and support they have come to expect from Kodak.”

Earlier this year, Kodak already discontinued its cameras and picture displays, and is looking to sell off its consumer  film business.

Kodak also asked the Bankruptcy Court to extend until February 28, 2013 its exclusive right to file a plan of reorganization. Kodak filed for Chapter 11 on January 19, 2012.

Kodak says its case “is large and complex, involving some $5 billion in assets, global operations, thousands of contracts and leases, thousands of potential creditors, and ongoing asset sales.”



Facebook acquisition of Instagram complete

Due to falling stock prices, the deal is now worth less than the much-hyped $1B purchase price set in April — but Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram is officially complete. “We’re excited to bring Instagram to Facebook and see what we can create together,” the company says.

For its part, Instagram says its community “continues to grow, and over 5 billion photos have now been shared through Instagram.” The Instagram app and its features will “stay the same one you know and love.”

The deal was approved by the FTC and the California Department of Corporations, TechCrunch reports.

comScore later reported Instagram has more active daily users than Twitter.



SingTel acquires social photo aggregation service Pixable

The increasing penetration of smart devices and rise of social networks have led to an explosive growth of web photos, with the average person now having access to hundreds of thousands of photos in their network, SingTel says. “For many, it is an ongoing struggle to keep up so they do not miss the important photos and moments in the lives of their family and friends.”

Singapore Telecommunications Limited will pay $26.5 million to acquire Pixable, a startup making a smartphone app that prioritizes photos on social networks.

Founded in 2009, Pixable’s predictive analytics and artificial intelligence analyze users’ interactions and consumption habits to prioritize photos from close friends and family, the companies say. More than 4 million users have installed Pixable’s “mobile photo inbox” service via the web, iOS devices and Android devices.

“Pixable’s expertise and customer engagement give us a foundation to go beyond viewing photos to using photos as a way to stimulate simple immersive communication,” SingTel says. “We will be able to provide a distinctive value-added service to all mobile customers, allowing them to discover and store content, images and their communication history – essentially what matters most from those that are really important to them.”

SingTel plans to introduce the services to its 462 million mobile customers in Asia and Africa.

Our podcast interview Inaki Berenguer, CEO of Pixable, is here.



Shutterfly acquires Penguin Digital for mobile ecommerce

By 2013, more than half of all mobile phone users in the US will own a smartphone, Internet photo service Shutterfly says — and its acquisition of mobile application developer Penguin Digital “supports our mobile strategy aimed at giving consumers better ways to engage with their photos and personalize products on the go.”

It was only in January 2012 when Penguin launched its Mobile Photo Factory iPhone app, which creates physical prints and photo-based merchandise. The MoPho application will be rebranded and updated over the next few months and will add to Shutterfly’s mobile offerings, which include iPhone and iPad apps. Penguin also developed a software development kit that lets other app developers integrate printing of photos and the creation of photo based products into their own applications, the companies say.

Penguin Digital’s founders and team will establish Shutterfly’s new technology center in New York City. Shutterfly has previously acquired of Nexo, TinyPrints, and Photoccino.



Ritz Camera acquired at bankruptcy auction

Camera distributor C&A Marketing acquired Ritz Camera and Image LLC at bankruptcy auction.

Ritz Camera and Image filed for bankruptcy in June 2012 and went up for auction on Thursday, September 6th — and assets of Ritz Camera acquired include the company’s stores, websites, technology, and the RitzPix business, C&A says.

C&A Marketing says it has 20 years’ experience in wholesale distribution, sourcing and retail operations. It is a Polaroid licensee for instant digital imaging products, IP, Sports Action cameras and accessories.

“In today’s marketplace, it is essential for retailers to strike the right balance with their brick and mortar and online retail presence,” the company says. This is particularly true in the imaging channel, as consultative sales and interaction are essential to the customer experience. The Ritz brand has long been synonymous with the type of service and customer-centric approach that is too often missing from the retail landscape. We plan to uphold that proud tradition, while updating the retail mix to reflect current market dynamics.”

C&A says it plans to keep 5–7 Ritz stores open, and the RitzPix business, which it says is “a major online imaging business” with a full size Lab in Hapeville, GA.

C&A will also maintain Camera World, Wolf Camera, Photo Alley, Kits Cameras, and The Camera Shop, retailers which Ritz acquired in recent years.

C&A Marketing is headquartered in Ridgefield Park, N.J.



Adobe improves Elements

Photoshop Elements 11 makes photos look their best with editing options that offer virtually everything from quick fixes to a number of creative possibilities, Adobe says.

The program now has a “completely refreshed, user-friendly interface” built atop the same imaging engine as Adobe Photoshop — and new “Guided Edits” make pro-level effects like tilt-shift, vignettes and high and low-key easy to create.

The application can organize photos based on people and faces, places (via Google maps geo-tagging) or events.

Three cool new filters – Comic, Graphic Novel and Pen & Ink – “inspire creativity by turning photos into stunning illustrations,” Adobe adds.

Adobe also announced Premiere Elements 11, “with automated moviemaking options to take the work out of editing.”

New features include Hollywood-style “FilmLooks” that apply slow and fast motion effects; dial-in colors with slider controls; effortlessly integrate blends for seamless transitions; and make adjustments with presets, Adobe says.

The programs are $150 bundled together, or $100 for Photoshop Elements and $80 for Premiere Elements.

“Photos and videos allow us to capture and share moments in time,” Adobe says, and its “powerful – yet friendly and easy-to-use” software “inspires creativity and help consumers make the most of remembering and sharing these personal memories.”



Amazon improves Kindles display, lowers pricing

Amazon claims that in nine months, its Kindle Fire captured 22 percent of U.S. tablet sales — and now it is “taking on the high-end” with its new Kindle Fire HD, “the next generation.”

In the line-up of Android OS tablets, “$199 now gets you the world’s most-advanced 7-inch tablet,” Amazon says, “with a stunning custom HD display, the fastest WiFi, exclusive Dolby audio, powerful processor and graphics engine, and 16 gigabytes of storage.” $299 gets the same advanced technology on a 8.9-inch screen with a faster processor. And $499 is the price for 32GB storage, and 4G LTE wireless.

Unlike other tablets available such as Apple’s iPad, Amazon’s offerings don’t have high-resolution main cameras, so their photography functions are limited to an HD-res front cam for video calls and the like. The tablets can be ideal low-cost viewing platforms for pictures and videos.

“Photos come alive in stunning high-resolution on Kindle Fire HD,” the company says. “Fire’s mosaic view arranges personal photos beautifully, and customers will be delighted to see their best shots on their TV with HDMI out. Kindle Fire lets customers easily import their photos from Facebook and because their photos are securely stored in Amazon Cloud Drive, they never have to worry about losing their favorite pictures.”

The 8.9-inch display on the Kindle Fire HD has 254 pixels per inch, with a resolution of 1920×1200 — “with pixels that are indistinguishable to the human eye,” Amazon claims. The 7-inch Kindle “features a stunning HD display with 1280×800 resolution that delivers deep, detailed contrast and rich, natural color.” Amazon adds its custom features that reduce glare and improve color saturation at any viewing angle. “Like many tablets, Kindle Fire HD uses in-plane switching (IPS) to improve color reproduction,” the company says. “But displays that only use IPS still appear washed out at various angles, such as laid sideways in bed, flat on a table, or propped up in a case. Fire HD features an Advanced True Wide polarizing filter that is applied directly to the LCD panel. This results in a display that shows the same deep contrast and rich, detailed color from any angle.”

The original Kindle is also still on sale in a slightly updated form, for $159. The new Fire is 44 percent more powerful than its predecessor, and has 1GB of RAM. It is also $40 cheaper than Google’s Nexus 7, which was widely viewed to be all but selling at a loss to reach such a low price.

Also, the $119 Kindle Paperwhite may not run Android, but it is “the most advanced e-reader ever constructed,” Amazon says, with 62 percent more pixels and 25 percent increased contrast, a and patented built-in front light for reading in all lighting conditions. On the 212 ppi display, “images are sharper, richer and show even more detail.”

Amazon of course sees the hardware line as the cost of entry into its ecosystem and content sales. “Kindle Fire HD is not only the most-advanced hardware, it’s also a service. When combined with our enormous content ecosystem, unmatched cross-platform interoperability and standard-setting customer service, we hope people will agree that Kindle Fire HD is the best high-end tablet anywhere, at any price.”

More information is here.



Fourandsix fights photo fakery, authenticates images instantly

The proliferation of powerful image editing tools poses a problem for those who rely on photographs as representations of truth, says Fourandsix Technologies — and so their first product, FourMatch, instantly distinguishes unmodified digital camera files from those that may have been edited, the company says.

The FourMatch software provides compelling evidence for the authenticity of an image, while also serving as an efficient triage step for identifying photos that may require closer scrutiny.

Fourandsix was co-founded by Adobe veteran Kevin Connor (PMA’s podcast interview with Conner is here) and image forensics scientist Hany Farid, who has consulted in the law enforcement and publishing fields over the past decade. Photographic evidence has been challenged in court as being unreliable, Fourandsix  says, and media companies have faced embarrassment when running news photos that later were revealed to be falsified. FourMatch is the first of a planned suite of tools from Fourandsix for investigating image authenticity. The software leverages the fact that there is tremendous variety in the ways that hardware and software products can choose to store a JPEG file. The myriad technical choices produce a distinctive set of “signatures” from each hardware and software product. Once an image has been edited and re-saved from a software product, this signature is changed to match the software rather than the original capture device. Thus, when a file signature correctly matches a known signature from the device that captured the photo, you can be confident that the photo has not been edited.

“FourMatch will be particularly valuable in legal proceedings, but it’s also a first step in allowing media outlets to assess the reliability of images from social media and other sources,”  Farid says.

The $890 FourMatch is an extension for Adobe Photoshop, and appears as a floating panel that automatically and instantly provides an assessment of any open JPEG image. A green light in the panel indicates that the file matches a verified original signature in FourMatch software’s extensive and growing database of more than 70,000 signatures. If a match is not found, the panel displays any relevant information that can aid the investigator in further assessing the photo’s reliability.

Fourandsix will donate 2 percent of their proceeds from the sale of this software to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).



Replacing silver halide? HP offers new solutions, Facebook photo printing

HP reports 70 percent of all photo specialty products — including photo books, calendars, photo cards — are printed using HP Indigo technology. Now the company is more directly pursuing traditional markets as well, offering new solutions for professional portrait and consumer photo prints that it says let them replace traditional silver halide with its Indigo Digital Press technology.

“HP provides solutions that allow photo labs to print both high-quality photo prints and merchandise,” the company says. “The new silver halide replacement offerings create a unique opportunity for photo labs to provide photo prints at a lower cost than traditional silver halide and with a clear environmental advantage.”

The new Indigo photo prints solution, HP says, brings its liquid electrophotographic printing technology to the professional portrait and 4×6-inch consumer prints markets, with the same quality as silver-halide. The company quotes one photofinisher that switched to its systems as saying, “We get a wider color range, and we are getting better results with six-color printing compared to the silver halide machines. Plus, our costs are approximately 60 percent lower.”

The printers include the Indigo WS6000p, for high-volume production, and the sheet-fed Indigo 5600 and 7600, for low- to mid-volume printing.

Also: By offering photofinishers direct access to photos stored on Facebook, as well as plug-in connectivity that allows shoppers to immediately download photos from their iPhone or Android smartphone, HP says it is “unlocking the billions of photos stored on social networks and mobile devices, making them available for in-store photo and photo creative merchandise purchase.

The new Photo Center 7 software also allows retailers to compete with online photo publishing services, HP adds, “by offering an expansive portfolio of photo creative merchandise including photo books, greeting cards, posters and calendars.” HP is also now offering canvas and mounted print products. Finally, a new “Faux Canvas” is an affordable alternative to real canvas that is lighter weight and easier to hang, HP says.
More information is here.



Small Epson printers improve performance

Epson says its latest “Small-in-One” printers offer powerful performance in a sleek, space-saving, compact design.

The Expression XP-800 has Wi-Fi direct printing from a mobile device without a network, and PC-free photo printing from image storage card slots. The Auto Photo Correction has face detection, red-eye removal, and photo restoration features.

The maximum print resolution is 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi, and it can print in color at 11 pages per minute, or 4×6 borderless photos in 12 seconds The scanner  has a 4800 dpi optical resolution with 48-bit color.

The $280 unit has a 3.5-inch touchscreen, and comes with a 30-page Auto Document Feeder featuring automatic two-sided copying, scanning and faxing. The more basic XP-600 is $150.



Canon improves picture printers

The Pixma Pro-10 and 100 “produce excellent black-and-white and color prints to help ensure what was captured through a camera lens is reproduced exactly as it was envisioned on paper,” Canon says.

A New Pro Mode maps color gamut for optimum balance of brightness and saturation. This color mode also helps adjust colors by taking into consideration the characteristics of human perception, Canon says. “The technology helps to create prints that accurately reflect the image as seen on a monitor without needing a high level understanding of color management.”

The $500 Pixma Pro-100 uses eight dye-based inks to produce “vibrant, saturated colors on fine art and glossy papers” Canon says, measuring 13 x 19-inches.

The $700 Pixma Pro-10 printer utilizes a 10-ink tank system with pigment-based inks to produce “a wide color gamut and exceptional print longevity on fine art and glossy paper,” Canon adds.



Low-cost Lensbaby sparks selective focus

Now you can shoot tilt-shift-style photos without first paying a high price: Lensbaby is offering a low-cost plastic version of its selective focus lenses.

It’s just the body that’s plastic: The $80 Spark has a glass 50mm f/5.6 lens, compatible with Canon and Nikon SLRs. The body’s front element can be squeezed toward the camera to focus, and tilted to customize the location of the in-focus area within the frame. This creates a sweet spot of focus surrounded by gradually increasing blur.

More information is here.



CyberLink PhotoDirector flows photos

CyberLink says its easy-to-use photography workflow software PhotoDirector 4 provides the complete features photographers need to effectively manage, adjust, edit and showcase photos.

The $100 PhotoDirector renders batches of RAW photos, as well as makes quick photo adjustments such as intensifying color and sharpening details of a targeted area of an image.

New features include content-aware removal for intelligently removing unwanted objects from an image; Body Shaper for enhancing portraits; and an HDR effect. Photo management is also improved with face recognition technology.

The program is available for Macintosh and Windows computers.

More information is here.



CEWE mobile app built on Athentech Perfectly Clear

Cewe Color licensed Athentech Imaging’s Perfectly Clear mobile app for Android and iOS, and will make the app free to all CEWE customers.

With one click, users can shoot a photo, automatically correct it, and then share their precious memories to favorite social sites or by email, Athentech says. The app’s “Perfectly Smooth” feature automatically removes blemishes and wrinkles for flawless skin.

“We love how fun and powerful the Perfectly Clear mobile app is, so we wanted a CEWE version for brand awareness and to encourage customers to work on their mobile images and then print”, CEWE says.

“The convenience of mobile imaging is excellent,” Athentech adds, but “the image quality is not always superb. We’re delighted to be working with CEWE in helping their customers print and share beautiful images on devices they always have with them.”

Also, former SmugMug COO Andy Williams joined Athentech as Chief Operating Officer. “It’s important for every photo be the best it can be, whether online or print,” Williams says. “With Perfectly Clear, this is done with one click, automatically.”



PhotoBin Announces 1,238% growth

“Even during these economic times, people are choosing to use discretionary dollars to create photo books and more, as well as digitize their prints, slides and videos,” says Internet photo products and services provider PhotoBin — and the company profited from those choices with a 1,238 percent revenue growth for the second quarter of fiscal year 2012, making it the best quarter in its history.

“Our second quarter sales numbers provide solid evidence of the demand we’ve seen to provide ways for people to create life stories with their photos in photo books versus traditional albums,” the company says. “Much of our future growth will be based on the growth of camera phones. We plan to make is easy to get those millions of photos into engaging personalized formats, from mobile apps to new and unique print alternatives.”

Launched in 2008, San Diego-based PhotoBin says it focuses on custom photo products, personal photo websites and digital conversion services, particularly a variety of photo books. PhotoBin adds that its “digital conversion services help people preserve and recreate their past while memorializing family legacies.”



Mediaclip goes mobile

New software from Mediaclip instantly leverages the ubiquity of mobile devices and provides retailors with an opportunity to engage with consumers at the moment they capture the fun and important moments in their lives,” the company says. “Since smartphones have become the camera of choice for so many of us, and with the emergence of WiFi cameras using mobile operating systems, mobility is a key component to Mediaclip’s solutions portfolio.”

Version 2.9 of the Mediaclip Photo product creator suite provides more flexibility in the way of customization, the Montreal company says, enabling licensees to fully rebrand the app in the style of their corporate identity.

The iOS and Android app enables users to order prints, photo enlargements, greeting cards, postcards, and posters. It’s part of the line of white-label online, desktop and kiosk software solutions for retailors, printers and web service providers wishing to offer photo product personalization.



Apple wins Samsung patent trial; $1B damages

The iPhone is arguably the best selling digital camera of all time — and Apple has now won its most prominent battle to protect that device’s technologies and design.

After three days of deliberations, the jury reached a unanimous verdict on most counts in Apple’s suit against Samsung, and that Samsung had willfully infringed on Apple’s patents and trade dress for the iPhone.

Samsung must pay Apple $1.05 billion in damages, the jury ruled, for willfully infringing on Apple’s intellectual property.

The three-week trial in federal court in San Jose, California, concluded last week. Apple filed suit in April 2011.

“Today’s verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer,” Samsung said in a statement. “It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices. It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies. Consumers have the right to choices, and they know what they are buying when they purchase Samsung products. This is not the final word in this case or in battles being waged in courts and tribunals around the world, some of which have already rejected many of Apple’s claims. Samsung will continue to innovate and offer choices for the consumer.”

“A jury on Friday found in favor of Apple in its patent infringement case against Samsung,” Apple states. “After finding that Samsung willfully infringed a number of patents, the jury awarded Apple $1 billion in damages. We are grateful to the jury for their service and for investing the time to listen to our story and we were thrilled to be able to finally tell it,” Apple said in a statement provided to The Loop. “The mountain of evidence presented during the trial showed that Samsung’s copying went far deeper than even we knew. The lawsuits between Apple and Samsung were about much more than patents or money. They were about values. At Apple, we value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy. We applaud the court for finding Samsung’s behavior willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right.”


Kodak’s “Next Steps” — selling off two Imaging divisions, still camera film

No more film: Citing its competitive advantages in materials science and deposition technologies, Kodak outlined its next “steps toward a successful emergence from Chapter 11 reorganization as a company primarily focused on commercial, packaging and functional printing solutions and enterprise services.”

As part of that plan, the company “has initiated sale processes for its market-leading Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses.” This includes the 105,000 Picture Kiosks Kodak has installed in retail outlets.

While the sale will include the famed consumer  film for still cameras and related products, Kodak will continue its Consumer Inkjet, Entertainment Imaging, Commercial Film, and Specialty Chemicals businesses.

Kodak says selling the assets, long with the monetization of its digital imaging patent portfolio, “will be significant milestones toward completing the company’s reorganization and emergence from Chapter 11 during 2013.”

In commercial, packaging and functional printing, Kodak says it has “the broadest portfolio solutions.” Coupled with enterprise services, these businesses “have substantial long-term growth prospects worldwide and are core to the future of Kodak.”

The Personalized Imaging business consists of Retail Systems Solutions (RSS), Paper & Output Systems (P&OS) and Event Imaging Solutions (EIS). RSS is the worldwide leader in retail print solutions with a global footprint of 105,000 Picture Kiosks. P&OS includes the broadest portfolio of traditional photographic paper and still camera film products; and EIS provides souvenir photo products at theme parks and other venues. The Document Imaging business provides a leading and comprehensive portfolio of scanners, capture software and services to enterprise customers.
More information is here.

Earlier in August:
Kodak posts large second-quarter loss

Kodak says it “continued to make progress in focusing on its most profitable businesses and strengthening operating performance and cost controls, as it develops a plan of reorganization that will enable it to emerge in 2013 as a profitable, sustainable company.”

However, that comes amidst a second-quarter loss that increased 67 percent to $299 million, from $179 million a year earlier.

Revenue fell 27 percent to $1.08 billion, a decline of 27 percent from the year-ago quarter, “reflecting the exit of digital cameras, reduced sales of traditional products, participation choices across its businesses, and the negative impact of currency exchange,” Kodak says.

As Reuters reports, the news comes as the company prepares to auction more than 1,100 imaging patents on August 8; Kodak said a winning bidder should be named by August 13. Kodak claims it’s earned more than $3 billion in revenue since 2001 from licensing the patents.