Kodak fires a Bullitt at oldsters with 3G mobe launch

Point-and-shoot mobe to sell more printer paper, perhaps?

Koda's First phone

CES 2015 Kodak has launched its first mobile phone, the Kodak IM5 smartphone. It's aimed at the more mature users who are looking at moving to a smartphone but want a brand they find reassuring.

The device is made by Bullitt Group, best known for its Caterpillar rugged phones.

The IM5 is a fairly standard Android phone with a 13Mp shooter and the Kit-Kat (soon to be upgraded to Lollipop) OS tweaked for imaging. With no optical image stabilisation and video resolution of 1080p at 30 fps, this trails the Sony Xperia and Nokia Lumia in terms of camera specs.

There are picture editing and image sharing features including lock-screen gallery of recent photos and Bullitt is working with Kodak to integrate the IM5 with other devices such as Kodak’s digital picture frames.

Bullit told El Reg: “We’re working with Kodak on integration with all relevant digital imaging services, the focus being on physical printing services as getting images off devices we know is a core requirement for users, and a big reason why many of our target audience are dissatisfied with their current phone.”

Kodak is still a strong brand, ranking ahead of Nike, Nokia and Amazon.

Given the skew for older users there is remote management software allowing trusted family and friends access from a PC to help set-up and troubleshoot. So you can be online tech support for your dad’s phone as well as his PC.

It’s a 3G phone (tablets and 4G, aimed at a more techie audience, are promised in the future) with a HD 1280x720 pixel 5" screen and measures 140mm x 70mm x 7.8mm. As is common with such slim phones the battery is not removable. The CPU is a MediaTek MT6592 chipset running Octa-core 1.7 GHz with a Mali-450MP4 GPU, there is an internal 8 GB and micros SD of up to 32GB can be added.

Initial estimates using market analysts' data suggest that in Europe alone there are nearly 30m mobile phone users who are 55+...and that is only looking at current smartphone users. We believe that for consumers trading up from a feature phone – which is often where issues occur for older users - the market potential is much higher.

Oliver Schulte, CEO of Bullitt Mobile, says: "This is a phone for consumers who appreciate the value and heritage of the Kodak brand. It looks great, is easy to use and offers real value for money.”

Kodak, a company once so huge it had its own secret nuclear reactor, was an early entrant into digital cameras but failed to capitalise on its position. The company has been struggling to stay alive and two years ago flogged its imaging patents in a deal which freed up the rest of the mobile phone world to make camera phones.

Kodak had previously been engaged in patent litigation, having the rights to a lot of key digital camera IP.

This isn't the first time Kodak has looked at mobile. A joint venture project with Motorola – aimed, at handling Motorola's patent obligations – was still-born in one of the regular culls of Motorola's over-ambitious product portfolio.

The IM5 goes on sale at the end of Q1 2015, SIM free at 229 EURO and $249. ®


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