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: ...

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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.

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CONNECTING CAMERAS TO ENGAGEMENT

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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