After a lengthy corporate restructuring, the indomitable Kodak is applying its brand and expertise to a new market: smartphones. The imaging company announced its intention to launch a range of Android smartphones aimed at transitioning technophobes in partnership with mobile device manufacturer Bullitt Group.
Scheduled to be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, the smartphone cameras are targeted at individuals overwhelmed by the bells and whistles of most modern electronics. Kodak claims the devices will affording a “high-end experience” without compromising on “design and user experience.” The smartphones will feature streamlined image capture, management, and sharing functions, as well as support for real time assistance with more complicated tasks.
The partnership is an opportunity for Bullitt Mobile, which currently produces a Caterpillar-branded line of ruggedized devices, to broaden its product portfolio. CEO Oliver Shulte believes the new smartphones will “address a segment of the mobile device market that has been poorly served to date,” ie. users who want easy-to-use devices that look good, too.
For its part, Kodak is “excited” to jump into the mobile world with this latest development, in a continued effort to rebound from the brink of financial destitution.
Following the beginning of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings two years ago, Kodak regained profitability in part by shedding its costly sensor and camera divisions, licensing the Kodak brand to an increasingly diverse range of companies, and by extracting hundreds of millions of dollars from electronics giant Samsung and others in the course of patent litigation.
The Kodak Mobile Device range, as it’s known, will go on sale sometime next year. Neither Kodak nor Bullitt Mobile specified a release window, carrier compatibility, or hardware specifications. However, we’ll take a peek at the devices when we arrive at CES 2015.