Timed to coincide with the start of the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) 2004 trade show in the US, Hewlett-Packard announced plans to revamp its digital camera lineup and outlined its strategy to become a leading vendor of digital camera products. The company offered a few details on the first of the new generation of digital cameras - the HP Photosmart R707.

Timed to coincide with the start of the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) 2004 trade show in the US, Hewlett-Packard announced plans to revamp its digital camera lineup and outlined its strategy to become a leading vendor of digital camera products. The company offered a few details on the first of the new generation of digital cameras - the HP Photosmart R707.

HP said that it's nearly doubling the funding for its digital camera research and design efforts, part of an overall program of more than US$1 billion HP is investing R&D for its imaging and printing technology. The company also plans to boost retail efforts with new sales training programs.

As part of that effort, HP said that its Photosmart-branded digital cameras will get "a completely new look and feel" with brushed stainless steel construction and a novel ergonomic grip to ease one-handed shots. They'll also feature what HP is calling "Real Life technologies," like lighting that adapts to high-contrast imagery; instant analysis of photos to provide users with adjustment advice on future shots; "in-Camera Red-Eye Removal;" a panorama preview; and a new image engine co-developed with Texas Instruments.

The Photosmart R707 is a new 5.1Mp camera that incorporates some of these features; it also sports a 24x total zoom, 32MB of internal storage and PictBridge. The R denotes that the camera works with a dock that recharges the internal battery and provides instant data exchange with a computer. The dock also provides connectivity to a television (and a wireless remote) if you prefer.

The R707 will hit stores in the US in May; the camera costs $349 (around £192) while the dock costs an added $79 (£44).