Intel, Kodak to narrow gap between photography and PCs

Eastman Kodak and Intel have teamed up on a broad marketing and development initiative which aims to expand the ways people can take, manipulate and share photographs using digital technology, the companies announced today. As part of the agreement, Kodak plans to upgrade its Qualex processing laboratories by the end of this year with new developing and scanning equipment that will allow customers to have their photographic negatives placed onto CD-ROMs

Eastman Kodak and Intel have teamed up on a broad marketing and development initiative which aims to expand the ways people can take, manipulate and share photographs using digital technology, the companies announced today.

As part of the agreement, Kodak plans to upgrade its Qualex processing laboratories by the end of this year with new developing and scanning equipment that will allow customers to have their photographic negatives placed onto CD-ROMs, officials said.

"Just as today you slip a film in a bag and tick a box for double prints, in the future there will be an extra box marked 'CD-ROM,' " Intel spokesman Bill Kircos said.

The CDs, to be called Kodak Picture CDs, will allow consumers to manipulate photographs on their home PCs, and on kiosks Kodak will install at retail outlets, the companies said. The software programs and the type of file formatting they will use are still to be determined, Kircos said.

The companies over the next three years will pump up to $US150 million into a consumer marketing campaign to push the new products and services, which in one year to two years will also include new digital cameras from both companies.

The cameras will support the new CMOS (complimentary metal oxide semiconductor) sensor technology Intel has been developing, which the company hopes will replace the CCD (charge-coupled device) technology which is standard for digital cameras today. The technology acts as the light-reading "eyes" of a digital camera or scanner.

The companies also have cross-licensed certain technologies from one another, so they can develop products quickly without having to worry about infringing on one another's patents, Intel said.

The initiative will "remove the boundaries between digital and traditional imaging," and allow consumers to turn their photographs into digital images quickly and at low cost, the companies said.

"By transforming the user's mindset from relegating pictures to an album, shoe box, or digital file to using pictures in new ways -- and by enabling those uses -- we will begin a new era in our industry," said George Fisher, Kodak's chairman and CEO, in a statement.

The companies will create new products and platforms through the alliance, which which will be based on Intel Architecture and Kodak's imaging technologies, officials said.

The products will be demonstrated at an event later this quarter at which Intel President and COO Craig Barrett and Kodak's Fisher will take to the stage and give further details of the companies' collaboration, Intel said.

Kodak, in Rochester, New York, is on the Web at http://www.kodak.com/. Intel, in Santa Clara, California, can be reached on the World Wide Web at http://www.intel.com/.

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