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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

Mobile World Congress

Nokia 3310, A modern classic reimagined
The Nokia 3310, A modern classic reimagined

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.

Light : The anti smartphone : makes calls and nothing else
Light :The anti smartphone : makes calls and nothing else

Light – While the Nokia announcement got all the attention, a startup called Light (not to be confused with the multi-camera smartphone company Light) announced a credit card-sized, innovative and stylish phone-only device, with the motto, “Designed to be used as little as possible.” As the company’s philosophy is to encourage consumers to enjoy life rather than to stare at their screen, the phone is packaged inside a photobook that features enticing landscape images. A refreshing approach!

Tapdo : The programmable biometric key
Tapdo : The programmable biometric key

Tapdo – German-based Tapdo showed a small biometric reading device that connects with your smartphone through Bluetooth. It not only reads fingerprints but also the unique characteristics of other parts of your fingers. Its smartphone app then analyzes the scan and triggers a predefined action in any app that supports Tapdo’s API, which makes the whole idea somewhat akin to customizable function keys on a true-and-proven PC. Simply place the middle part of your pointer finger on the reader, and your phone takes a selfie if that’s how you’ve set it up. Or apply a retro filter to your newest photo in your favorite photo-editing app by scanning the base of your pinkie finger instead.

Business Forum Imaging

 

Happic : Instant distribution of images
Happic : Instant distribution of images

Happic – I recently discussed the serious challenges involved in transferring photos from digital cameras to smartphones and the cloud. At BFIHappic showed their hardware + app solution, which enables professional photographers to quickly transfer their high-resolution photos onto Happic’s storage and gateway device. This device then instantly transfers lower res and watermarked versions to the cloud for delivery to nearby Happic app users, as well as for remote viewing. This way, when a ski resort photographer takes a burst of photos of a skier flying down the slope, friends or family can immediately view the photos, select the ones they want to purchase, and download the high-res, watermark-free version uploaded by the Happic device.

di support : The connected photo booth
di support : The connected photo booth

di support – In a world where instant gratification is king, the next best (read fastest) thing after instant printing or printing at home is ordering photo products in a retail store. I’ve seen photo print kiosk in many shapes and forms, but they often feel like – and often are – ancient PCs coupled with printers that are hidden from sight with kiosk-branded plastic. At BFI, di support gave a glimpse of the future when showing their well-designed Cube. Hidden inside the Cube is a printer, and the Cube could come with or without an ordering screen. Cubes could be stacked or arranged in formations that fit the store’s design. A great move: why would you need to transfer your smartphone images to a kiosk and place the order on the kiosk rather than creating the order directly from your smartphone app?

A few more things…

Mobile Photo Connect – Mark your calendar! Mobile Photo Connect this year will be a 1.5-day program, starting the afternoon of October 24th and continuing for an all-day program on October 25th. Our conference will again be held at the Golden Gate Club in the San Francisco Presidio.

Snap(chat) – The biggest news last Thursday was, of course, Snap’s successful IPO, although the stock price has fluctuated quite a bit, initially soaring to $29 – well above its opening price of $24 – back down to $24 as of this writing. Investors still have a hard time figuring out how well Snap can defend itself against Facebook’s/Instagram’s relentless efforts to copycat Snap’s main features (see below).

Instagram – Instagram upped its photo or video carousel to support 10 rather than 5 photos or videos, making it easier to share a visual mini-story this way. Another step away from single photo sharing. In addition, Instagram now offers geo-stickers, a popular Snapchat feature to add locally-inspired illustrations to one’s photos.

Prism – AI-based artistic filter app Prism is in the process of enabling its users to create their own custom filters.

Flickr – When your future is uncertain, you can’t stop innovating. So Flickr launched Similarity Search, an AI-based feature to find photos that look similar to the one you’re viewing, giving easier access to the 13 billion photos Flickr currently stores.

CIPA – the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) released its 2016 report detailing yearly trends in camera shipments. No surprise, compact digital camera sales are lower than ever and total digital camera sales last year fell by 32% compared to 2015. To see it all in perspective, check out the tallest graph I’ve seen in my lifetime, which compares digital cameras with smartphones sales. Here it is, in all its glory:

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Photo by andersekström

Author: Hans Hartman

Hans Hartman is president of Suite 48 Analytics, the leading research and analysis firm for the mobile photography market and organizer of Mobile Photo Connect, a yearly industry conference about mobile photography.

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