NOKIA, Samsung and Siemens have joined the Mobile Imaging and Printing Consortium (MIPC), founded by printing industry heavy-weights Canon, Epson and Hewlett-Packard to make it simpler for consumers to spontaneously print images taken with camera phones.
The consortium aims to deliver guidelines during the second half of 2004 enabling consumers to print images from camera phones at home without a PC via connectivity technology such as Bluetooth, memory cards and PictBridge.
The consortium says the contribution of mobile handset makers is critical because of the collaboration required across the hardware, software and wireless technologies involved in creating mobile imaging and printing solutions.
Michael Modirch, consumer product market development manager at Canon New Zealand, says the move makes sense, as mobile phone cameras become able to take higher resolution images.
Both Sharp and Nokia have this year released camera phones able to produce one megapixel images, while in Japan phones with four megapixel cameras are already available.
“People will increasingly want to be able to print these better quality images,” says Modirch.
Modirch does not foresee better quality mobile phone cameras to be a significant threat to the entry level digital camera market as consumers will still require the features that a digital camera can offer, which the compact nature of mobile phones will not allow.
Price would also be a barrier, especially in the New Zealand market.
Meanwhile IDC New Zealand analyst Joshua Bain says connectivity between major brands and products will benefit consumers and the companies involved.
“The increase in the number of camera phones purchased will result in an increase in the number of pictures taken. This would increase the demand for photo printing and also for storage such as flash cards.”