Kodak to kill off digital cameras
End in sight for snappers, camcorders
Kodak is knocking its line of budget digital cameras on the head, part of its plan to revive the fortunes of the troubled firm.
Out go its YouTube-oriented handheld video cameras and digital photo frames too. Production will have ceased by the middle of the year.
Kodak will continue to support these products, and honour warranties, it promised.
However, the film photography pioneer said it was open to licensing its brand to camera makers keen to cash in on the Kodak name.
It's hard to see there being too many takers. Kodak's camera line had a low-end focus - a market now being consumed by smartphone sellers - and few models won particular praise for the firm. If there had been value in the brand, Kodak's cameras might have sold better than they have thus far.
Kodak said it will spend $30m closing down its camera and related divisions, though the move will save it $100m each year. The company entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on 19 January. ®
I still use a Kodak point and shoot digital camera. It has an optical viewfinder that works better than a screen in bright sunlight, and came with twice the internal memory of the competing brands' offerings in the same price range. Tough too. The only way I know they can be killed is by running them over with a car.
Kodak pioneered color photography, and invented a dye-based grainless slide film that made images that can be enlarged up to the limits of the enlarger without noticeable loss of resolution possible.
The end of an era indeed.
Throwing losers overboard
Kodak never made a profitable dime in the digital consumer electronics area. Nothing. Its only digital profit came from the professional products, like packaging. Kodak sold its profitable professional image sensor fabrication plant last year for cash.
As for licensing, brands don't mean anything. The "Carl Zeiss" optics in a Nokia are designed by Carl Zeiss Optics. Kodak never developed a consumer brand for lenses, just bottom-grade consumer cameras and fabulous film. How many Kodak brand sensors are in cameras? Plenty, but would you ever know it? The Pentax 645D 40Mp camera has a Kodak sensor, but you'd never know it from looking at the box.
Kodak should have licenced the brand to mobile phone manufacturers years ago much like how Sony Ericsson uses the Cybershot brand and Nokia has Carl Zeiss optics.