By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Kodak has launched a digital photo printer designed specifically for mobile phone cameras, but distribution of the product will be restricted to telecommunications (telco) retailers such as Crazy John’s and the Telstra Shop.

Kodak Australia hosted the global launch of the EasyShare 350 (RRP $199) yesterday afternoon with a dealer event in Bondi, where the brand revealed it will use Australia as a test market for the new photo printer through around 2,000 shopfronts in telco channels nationally.

“Australia will be the first country in the world to launch the Kodak EasyShare 350,” said Kodak Asia Region product manager – printer dock and thermal products, Brian Finch.

“This underlines our confidence in the Australian market and ensures Kodak continues to offer consumers real Kodak prints no matter how the images are captured. Phonecam users now have the ability to print direct from phones to the PP350 via Bluetooth or PictBridge.

“Kodak believes that the mobile phone printing market has huge growth potential in Australia. This is good news for consumers and telco retailers alike.”

The EasyShare 350 is likely to be bundled with phones from Sony Ericsson and Motorola on certain phone plans, said Kodak.

The EasyShare 350 features Bluetooth wireless connectivity and USB PictBridge, and delivers 4×6-inch colour prints.

The number of mobile phone cameras with over two megapixel resolution is expected to grow from 15 per cent in 2006 to around 90 per cent in 2010, creating more demand for high quality mobile-centric photo printers.

Industry reports quoted by Kodak claim around 73 billion photos will be captured on mobile phones during 2006, and this will rise to around 133 billion annually by 2010.

In 2006, it is estimated that 1.16 billion images from camera phones will be printed in homes or offices worldwide, and Kodak expects this to increase to 1.68 billion next year.

“The digital printing opportunity from mobile phones is big business with billions of pictures being captured every year,” said Kodak worldwide market development manager, David Snook.

“Digital capture funtionality is now a standard feature all manucturers have on their handsets. Kodak is in a great position to take advantage of this trend because we offer the mobile user an easy way to get Kodak quality prints directly from a phone – both with our new Kodak EasyShare 350 and with our retail kiosks.”