Don't be surprised to see the Kodak brand name appear on more mobile phones than cameras in the not-too-distant future. The U.S. imaging icon aims to put as much of its technology as possible inside what it expects to become the dominant consumer picture-taking device -- the camera phone, according to a senior executive from Kodak.
"The compact digital camera is a short-term phenomena; it's going to be eclipsed by the camera phone," Fred Seibl, general manager Kodak in Stuttgart, said Wednesday in an interview on the sidelines of the Photokina imaging show in Cologne. "We would like to see a lot of our technology in those phones, and we are already taking steps to achieve that goal."
Seibl pointed to the deal Kodak struck in January with mobile-phone maker Motorola to collaborate in the area of mobile imaging. Under the deal, Kodak is supplying its CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) sensors and other components as well as its image science and system integration expertise, he said.
That deal, which is nonexclusive, is to be followed by others, according to Seibl. "We're speaking with other handset manufacturers," he said, but declined to mention any names.
Nokia Corp. is a likely candidate, considering that the Finnish mobile phone maker already has been collaborating with Kodak in the area of storing and printing digital images.
In addition to handset manufacturers, Kodak is targeting mobile-phone operators for its online service, EasyShare Gallery, which allows customers to upload, organize and store multimedia content from their mobile phones or the Internet, as well as share and print images taken with their camera phones. The company is already partnering with T-Mobile in Germany to provide the service.
Kodak has no intentions to enter the market with its own camera phones, according to Seibl. But the company will continue to look at ways of using wireless technology to transport photos, he said.
Last year, Kodak announced the world's first camera with Wi-Fi technology, the EasyShare-One.
At Photokina, the Rochester, New York, imaging company introduced the EasyShare Photo Printer 350, a 4-x-6-inch thermal printer specifically designed to make prints from Bluetooth-enabled camera phones.