Move over Snap:
Facebook is the camera company to beat

It's the platform, stupid

April 25, 2017 by Hans Hartman


Just as the world finally figured out why Snap relabeled itself as a camera company, last week Facebook proclaimed it's not just a camera company, it’s a camera company built on the world’s ambitious augmented reality platform.

Let's add some perspectives to their F8 announcements:



Canon’s acquisition of Kite –
the view from the stakeholders

April 13, 2017 by Hans Hartman


My first thought when I heard about Canon’s acquisition of Kite was: “Great for Charlie, Fionn, Deon, and the rest of the crew – they really deserve it; they’ve been kicking butt!”

Founded in late 2013, the London-based startup gained an impressive list of 500+ app and web partners who have implemented Kite’s print API, in effect becoming – as they call it – The Internet’s Print Button. Customers include Pic Collage, Photobox, Polaroid, Lenovo, Lightricks, and RealTimes. Note that these partnerships were created and are supported by a lean team of still only 11 employees.

At Mobile Photo Connect 1.5 years ago, Kite CEO Charlie Carpenter got people’s attention when he described his and his co-founders’ backgrounds: they came from the London agency world and had extensive knowledge of m-commerce and sales funnel analysis – not the typical skills you see at other photo print enablement vendors. Apparently, their approach, coupled with super simple API integration, resonated with a large group of app and web developers who are keen to monetize their customers’ photo engagement by offering photo output product options.



The unstoppable rise of Stories

New social visual story telling format strikes a chord in social networks and chat services

March 22, 2017 by Hans Hartman


Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but visual stories must be worth more by some mega-factor, judging by the success of Snapchat's Stories feature and Instagram's copycatted Stories equivalent, as well as the relentless pace and determination with which Facebook is rolling out "Stories" in all its properties (Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, WhatsApp Status, and its recently announced Messenger Day).

So what are Stories? Stories are akin to slideshows, consisting of video clips, photos, text, animations, or various graphics, which can be shared with selected friends or family and which automatically disappear after 24 hours.

According to Facebook's VP of messaging, David MarcusStories have become a social media format in their own right, similar to how newsfeeds became a must-have format on social media networks.

Let's take a closer look at the main Stories features and what contributes to their success



The five most interesting product launches at Mobile World Congress (Barcelona) and Business Forum Imaging (Cologne)

Nostalgia, minimalistic product design,
and a new approach for connecting DSLRs to the cloud

March 9, 2017 by Hans Hartman


Nokia 3310 - As discussed previously, today's infatuation with instant printing reflects consumers' desires - not just for instant and more personal ways to share their photos, but also for nostalgic retro products.

At Mobile World Congress, Nokia (actually HMD Global, the company licensing the Nokia brand) announced the Nokia 3310, a modern variation of the iconic Nokia feature phone. 

Read More ->  Light, Tapdo, Happic, and di support product launches...



The unpredicted but explainable comeback
of instant printing

Camera-printers and Snapchat; retro photo prints and Instagram; instant sharing and WhatsApp – today’s instant printing popularity is more than a niche phenomenon

February 22, 2017 by Hans Hartman


When Polaroid declared bankruptcy in 2008, and when photo sharing through social photo platforms and photo apps later became the norm, who would have thought that today’s young millennials would find instant printing the next cool thing? So cool that instant camera-printers like the Fujifilm Instax cameras and portable printers like the Instax Share would be sold at Urban Outfitters? Or that Polaroid’s iconic brand itself would make a comeback through its Polaroid Snap camera-printer and Zip printer? Or that Fujifilm would sell – to date – 5M instant (camera) printers in the $60-$200 price range? Hardly a revenue stream to sniff at, even for a giant like Fujifilm – and that’s without the revenues from instant film, which no doubt are substantially larger. In fact, US unit sales of instant (camera) printers grew 166% in the 12 months ending September 2016. In addition, instant film sales doubled, with more than 3.5 million units sold in that same period, according to NPD.

For quite a while now I have been intrigued by the resurgence of instant printing, so I decided to check it out more closely and to ask for the perspectives of representatives from HP (makers of the Sprocket instant printer), Fujifilm, Zink (provider of the zero ink printing technologies that many portable instant (camera) printer vendors license), and Prynt (the innovative startup that offers a smartphone case that houses an instant printer).

Four things jump out: ...



From Artificial Intelligence to
Intelligent Imaging

AI buzz is everywhere – but smart imaging innovations are flourishing
right inside our industry

February 7, 2017 by Hans Hartman


This year, if CES was any indication, all we’ll hear about [at Mobile World Congress] is artificial intelligence: exciting new AI-based solutions – or older ones that are repackaged as “based on AI.”

Hopefully we’ll also see some exciting smart imaging innovations that leverage AI.

Why? Because we need more smartness in our photo lives: we’re taking way too many photos, which are way too difficult to keep track of, way too hard to enhance into must-keep masterpieces, and way too time-consuming to combine with other content into enticing collages, multimedia trailers, or printed photobooks.


The consumer couldn’t care less about whether their smart tool uses AI or not, as long as that tool is smart, i.e. it saves them time, lets them do things they wouldn’t be able to do themselves, or even suggests things that hadn’t crossed their minds.




What Snapchat, GoPro and Giroptic have in common

January 25, 2017 by Hans Hartman


At CES a few weeks ago, GoPro CEO Nick Woodman raised eyebrows by proclaiming that GoPro is being repositioned as a smartphone accessory company. A few months earlier, photo app developer Snapchat announced a similarly surprising shift by repositioning itself as a camera company (to signify the move, the company changed its name to Snap). Meanwhile, digital camera vendors are still struggling to be relevant for the mobile world where the vast majority of today’s photo engagement is occurring.

So does it make sense for cameras to become smartphone accessories? Or for photo sharing apps to become camera apps? And how can digital cameras be part of today’s instant visual communication world?


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