Regular readers know that I put a premium on printing images, or at least sharing them. What good does it do to take a picture and then not show it to anyone?
Well it turns out there’s a reason people don’t share digital images. Better digital photo albums are required.
There’s no question that digital technology has revolutionized photography. The statistics speak for themselves: not only have the past several years seen a boom in digital camera sales, but online photo sharing and printing services are proliferating everywhere.
But researchers at ABI Research, Oyster Bay, N.Y., USA, say we’re looking at the new medium through an “old lens.” What did most amateur snapshooters do with their analog pictures? They mounted them in albums. Family and friends could hold albums in their laps and share the viewing experience. What must most digital snapshooters do? View their pictures on a computer; upload them to a website (more computing); e-mail them to each other (still more computing) — or have them printed for mounting in an old-fashioned album. While sharing via e-mail is a step in the right direction, printing them and putting them in old-fashioned albums is a step backwards.
We need something like the old photo album. A stand-alone tablet-sized device with a nice big, bright color screen that will display images the way the old family album did. You need to be able to pass it around the room (no wires) and Grandma needs to be able to instantly figure out how it works. We do have digital photo frames, but they’re too bulky and challenging to operate for tech-newbies.
I’m thinking we need something like the Kindle for photography. It needs to be wirelessly updated, small, portable, easy-to-use, and with a good color screen that looks good under normal household lighting.
If digital camera manufacturers want to sell even more cameras, they need to figure out what Apple figured out years ago. Software sells hardware. (iTunes is the reason that so many iPods get sold.) Digital camera makers should make digital photo albums their number one priority!
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