For K-Mobile, Kodak has formed alliances with Cingular Wireless and cellphone manufacturer Nokia, but K-Mobile isn't limited to those carriers. "Anyone with a camera or image-enabled phone that supports WAP 2.0 can begin using Kodak Mobile Service, which can be accessed by computer or handset browser at www.kmobile.com." The service is initially being provided as a free trial to customers in the U.S., and after the trial, customers can subscribe to the service at $2.99 per month.
What about making prints of phone-cam images? With early, low-res models, the only way to get any kind of print quality was to limit printing to very small sizes. In Japan, Sassoku Print and Mitsubishi print services print phone-cam pictures as sheets of small photo stickers, at a cost of about $2.50, with up to 12 photos per sheet. Fujifilm and Kodak have also been offering prints from phone-cams in Japan, reports say.
In any case, there's no question phone-cams will affect the photo industry one way or another. Alan A. Reiter, president of consulting company Wireless Internet & Mobile Computing, believes with phone-cams, "billions more pictures will be taken. ...Cameraphones are going to stimulate the traditional digital camera market, and they are going to compete with it."
Phone-cams Come In Handy
Here are some of the applications that phone-cams are already being used for: Police in Japan are soliciting phone-cam pictures from citizens who have been in accidents or who see possible criminal activities... Newspapers and TV stations are using photos from phone-cams when they are more timely than pictures from professional photographers who didn't arrive at the scene until later... Phone-cams are already being employed in vertical markets such as construction (workers send photos of construction problems to supervisors, to get advice); real estate (agents send photos of new homes on the market to clients); and auto sales (salespeople attending automobile auctions send photos to potential purchasers)... and women in Japan are taking photos of their taxi drivers to provide them with a record in case anything "untoward" occurs.