Eastman Kodak Co. is jumping into the smartphone market. The photographic company has recently announced a deal with Bullitt Group Ltd. to launch a line of mobile devices powered by Android.
The deal, announced in a statement right before Christmas that seemed to slip past everyone. It stated that Kodak and Bullitt will be offering mobile phones and tablets that are preloaded with the bespoke image software, which allows for capture, management and sharing of images.
It gets a little weird here. The statement said that the imaging software would give users who want a top level experience, but are not comfortable using the complicated mobile devices already on the market. It sort of had the feel of the old Instamatic cameras, just shoot and Eastman Kodak will do the rest.
It appears the phones and tablets are being marketed on the company’s photography background, but it still continued to sound strange. While the Kodak Mobile Device products will not compromised on the users experience or design. Then the statement took a strange twist, saying that the focus on design and the usability, the device will be a range that stands out in a under-served market. Underserved, as if the offerings from Apple, Samsung, LG and every other mobile device manufacturer do not exist, or make the top selling mobile devices.
The statement continued to push the high end and ease of device use. Despite the odd wording of the statement, after Eastman Kodak being down for the count after the bankruptcy, the act of selling off assets, re-introducing the iconic imaging brand as a commercial printing company, Kodak seems to have extensive plans for 2015 and the future.
This future will be in the launch of the Android powered smartphones at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January. Oliver Schultz, Eastman Kodak CEO, stated that the smartphone will include the company’s photographic heritage and offer a great photographic experience.
While Kodak is not manufacturing this new smartphone, Bullitt will be, Kodak apparently has their hands in the imaging features of the device. Bullitt is known for the rugged handsets they make for Caterpillar, the construction company.
Kodak indicates that the device, unnamed at this time, will be easy to use and offer the high end experience with a remote management application included that friends or family members can use to help with support of the device if the need arises. Beyond the smartphone announcement, there will be more product announcements. This will include a tablet and a connected camera.
One final interesting note on the new smartphone slated to debut from Eastman Kodak at the CES. It appears that the phone will not be LTE capable. In the products slated for later in the year, Kodak has a 4G smartphone listed. The first offering may be 4G capable, but the wording of the coming products leads to believe that the first smartphone will not be the high speed people expect from a modern smartphone. More details beyond the fact that they run Android will be revealed at CES next month.
By Carl Auer