Tag Archives | Kodak

Is Kodak Smartly Exiting a Dying Business?

Kodak Instamatic

I’m part of the problem: I never owned a Kodak digital camera. In fact, I’m not sure if I ever owned a Kodak camera–not counting disposable ones–period.

Still, my instinct upon hearing that Kodak is going to stop making digital cameras (along with video cameras and digital picture frames) was to take the loss personally. Kodak says it wants to license its legendary name to other manufacturers–as Polaroid, Sylvania, and other companies do–but it’s not going to be the same.

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The Times of Kodak’s Life

So Eastman Kodak has declared bankruptcy. Right now, Twitter is like a wake for this most beloved of American companies. I refuse to speak of Kodak in the past tense, though: bankruptcy protection is not a death sentence, and when it says, as it does in its press release, that it intends to “emerge a lean, world-class, digital imaging and materials science company,” I’m rooting for it to do exactly that.

But like everyone else who grew up shooting Kodak film–often in a Kodak camera–I’m feeling wistful about the brand and what it’s meant to me and the world. How about watching a few vintage commercials, including two versions of the once-famous tear-jerker “Turn Around” and ones starring the Nelsons, the cast of Bewitched, Michael Landon, and Bill Cosby?

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The Timeless Genius of Kodak’s George Eastman

Over at the Atlantic, Alexis Madrigal has an exceptionally good post with an exceptionally good title: “The Triumph of Kodakery.” Inspired by the sad news that Eastman Kodak may be on the verge of bankruptcy, he points out that the dream the company was built on–making photography so effortless that it’s everywhere, and enjoyed by everybody–is hardly in trouble. It’s just that its purest expression today is the camera phone, not a Kodak camera that takes Kodak film that’s processed by a Kodak lab.
The dream originated in the brain of the gentleman in the above photo, George Eastman (1854-1932). He was the founder of Eastman Kodak, and he didn’t just start one of the most important companies in the history of consumer technology products. He played as important a role as anyone in inventing the idea of consumer technology products. 
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Hey Judge, Don’t Take My Kodachrome Away

It seems almost unthinkable, but it very well could happen: the Wall Street Journal reports Wednesday that Kodak is teetering dangerously close to the edge of financial ruin, with bankruptcy a real possibility if it cannot sell of a chunk of its patent portfolio in short order. Above and beyond that, it appears the company needs about $1 billion to stay afloat according to reports.

The thought of a world without Kodak is almost incomprehensible to me, but the company dug its own grave. While we think of the Kodachrome (sorry for the Paul Simon reference in this post’s title) and the camera, Kodak’s real bread and butter was film. The company’s product was not only used in its own cameras but in its competitors, too.

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Who’s Suing Who? A Cheat Sheet to the Mobile Patent Mess

So Apple is suing Samsung, accusing it of imitating Apple products with its Galaxy phones and tablets. The most startling thing about the news may be that the two companies weren’t already in court with each other. Over the past few years, the mobile industry has been so rife with suits and countersuits that if every complainant managed to sue every subject of its ire out of business…well, there’d hardly be a mobile industry left.

I had trouble remembering the precise details of the umpteen cases that have made headlines–as well as some related relationships, such as Microsoft’s licensing agreements with Amazon and HTC–so I decided to document them with a handy-dandy infographic, as much for my own edification as anyone else’s.

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Hands on With the Kodak Pulse Wi-Fi Frame

I got pretty excited about the Kodak Pulse digital picture frame back at CES, but didn’t have a chance for any one-on-one time with the product until last weekend. Who needs a review unit when your parents buy the gadget outright? And that in itself says a lot. After years of searching, we finally have an Internet-connected digital frame that’s parent and grandparent friendly. It has built-in memory, takes a USB stick, and best of all, accepts photos that are emailed from approved accounts.

The Kodak Pulse only comes in a seven-inch version, which is retailing for $119 at Amazon now. (Perhaps a ten-inch version for this year’s holiday shopping season?) It’s small, but sharp and bright. The controls are simple. You touch the screen to bring up the menu with options to select image source, single-photo or mosaic view, and slideshow settings. There’s also direct integration with Facebook photos and online Kodak galleries. Other than that, there’s not a whole lot to say. There are nowidgets, and there’s no integration with other photo services like Snapfish or Flickr, but it doesn’t matter. If you want the grandparents to be able to plug in a digital frame and forget about it, the Kodak Pulse is a clear winner.


  • 7-inch display with 800×600 resolution
  • 512MB internal memory
  • 1 USB port
  • 2 card slots – Secure Digital (SD), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC), Multimedia Card (MMC), MEMORY STICK (MS), MS PRO/MS PRO DUO, XD-Picture Card (xD)

(This post republished from Zatz Not Funny.)

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Question of the Day: Which Flip Video Cam?

As we collectively gear up for the holidays, product purchase inquiries have started rolling in. Katie asks:

Mino or Ultra!?!? Im getting one for x-mas and i need to tell my dad which one is the best but both sound good!!!

Flip rocked the CE world with the success of their reasonably priced and dead simple digital video cams (and software). So impressed was Cisco, that they acquired Pure Digital, the company behind Flip, for a lofty $590 million earlier this year.

I’m hoping Katie is inquiring about the HD Mino and Ultra Flip cams. As there’s no way I can recommend the SD models—functionality duplicated in nearly every digital still camera (and the iPhone 3GS). In fact, for some time I’ve been eyeing the waterproof Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1 still camera which also shoots 720p HD video and I’m currently evaluating the 720p-capable Sony DSC-WX1 digital cam.

But for those, like Katie, intent on a relatively simple, inexpensive, dedicated video camera I’d say go with the Kodak Zi8 ($180 MSRP). Unlike the Flip competition, the 1080p Zi8 provides a macro recording mode, incorporates some basic image stabilization, and effectively offers unlimited storage by utilizing SD cards (BYOM). And then there’s the larger 2.5″ LCD. I also happen to think Kodak’s current cam lineup is sharper looking than Flip’s, and the Zi8 is offered in three colors (black, raspberry, blue) for those who care.

[This post republished from Zatz Not Funny.]


Kodachrome No More

KodakchromeFirst they take away our Polaroid film, and now this: Kodak is discontinuing Kodachrome, the legendary film that was introduced in 1935. (Kindly insert your own Paul Simon reference here, please.) The company’s rationale is the obvious one: Pretty much everyone is shooting digital these days.

My impulse when presented with death-of-an-icon news of this sort is moral outrage, even when the product is (like Kodachrome) one I’ve never actually purchased myself. But interest in Kodachrome is so low that a photofinishing company in Kansas is apparently the last one left on the planet that processes the stuff. Photographers have indeed spoken.

With Kodachrome gone, the big bombshells to come will involve news like Kodak discontinuing film production altogether and companies such as Canon and Nikon going all-digital. And it’ll all happen. Wonder how long it’ll be until film is as utterly dead as, say, 8-track is today?

(Photo borrowed from JohnnyGunn)