After receiving a disappointing response on its homebrewed ‘Ektra’ smartphone, Kodak now strikes partnership with French smartphone manufacturer ARCHOS to make handsets catering exclusively to Europe.
The phones will not be under the brand name of ARCHOS, but under Kodak, similar to Google’s earlier phones where they commissioned other smartphone makers to make their phone models. Other examples for this trend would be BlackBerry allowing companies like TCL and Optiemus to make BlackBerry branded smartphones. As Slash Gear points out in their report, many point-and-shoot camera makers are losing out to current smartphone cameras that provide more superior camera technology, making their brand of cameras obsolete. Kodak’s way of avoiding to become obsolete is to use the strategy of taking ARCHOS’s expertise in smartphone making and making their very own handset.
Kodak was previously in deep water, being forced to sell $525 million worth of patents to 12 licenses, relieving it of bankruptcy. The company is using its opportunity now with ARCHOS to make budget Android-powered smartphones for the masses. Tablets are also on the table, and should be released shortly. Kodak stuck with ARCHOS to build their next line of devices, because they believe the company has a strong European presence that can reach the wide spaces of the European markets. Even Vice President and General Manager of Kodak’s Consumer Products Group stated the reason the company went for ARCHOS was because of ARCHOS’s supposedly strong track record in making tablets and other smartphone devices. Another reason being, because ARCHOS was the first to introduce the Android tablet to the world way back in 2009.
The upcoming Kodak licensed devices are rumored to feature 8MP cameras at the back with 3G connectivity (no mention of LTE though), and will come bundled with apps that Kodak maintains are supposed to provide photo and video enthusiasts with creative options. Kodak mentioned in a statement that the design will be ‘chic’ and will have the latest technological modules, perhaps meaning that there will be just enough tech inside the phone to make it work. If the camera sensor and the connectivity options are anything to go by, we can expect a fairly bare-bones camera phone with up to modest performance, using either MediaTek chipsets or Snapdragon’s 4XX/6XX series chipsets.
The dynamic here is quite interesting as Kodak has an opportunity to get back into a different kind of market that is not only suited to its industry, but to also multiple facets of technology. Apart from optics, there is display, UI and performance to secure points with users. It all depends how a company like Kodak can take advantage of this move. Comebacks are making a trend, now that even Nokia has joined the fray, making a brand-new entry into the smartphone industry. These once-famous-now-obscure brands are getting a new lease on life, everyone deserves a second