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August 23, 2010

New Kodak M590, C195, C143, PlayTouch 1080p and Mini camcorder sticks

How the mighty have fallen. Once upon a time on the leading edge of professional DSLRs, Kodak has been reduced to an endless parade of Walmart P&S cameras. It may be harsh to hear for Kodak fans, but it is the harsh reality!

Today's Kodak announcement features three new P&S cameras, two camcorder sticks and five digital picture frames. You can find them all organized in one page at Amazon. The cameras are actually in-stock and shipping! That was fast :)

In what is becoming a habit for Kodak, their press release does not mention all of the new cameras. The C-series are like the dark secret of the family, swept under the rug ;-)

The most interesting of the trio of new cameras is the M590, but don't let the name fool you. This is not the typical M-series looking camera. It borrows a lot from the Kodak Slice, announced at CES 2010, which looks and sounds (name-wise) like a smartphone. This was a smart move by Kodak marketing to capitalize on the popularity of the look and feel of smartphones. The camera features folded optics (5X optical zoom), the ant-farm that is known as the 14mp 1/2.3" sensor, 2.7" LCD display, Share button including YouTube and Orkut (someone is flirting with Google!), face recognition, LiIon batteries and things like that. The opening price is $200 in your choice of four fashionable body colors.

Next up, the C195 is a 14mp camera with a 3X optical zoom, 3-inch LCD, AA batteries, continuing in the spirit of the Easyshare AA-powered C-series models. It has an opening price of $100 and it is already shipping from Amazon. Interestingly, it is not currently listed on the Kodak website that does show the other two new cameras :)

We close the trio of new Easyshares with the C143, an $80 camera with 12mp, 3X optical zoom, 2.7" LCD, Face recognition, AA batteries and things like that. It is quite amazing that you can get a brand new newly-announced camera with all these features for just $80.

This also brings up the "smartphones ate the entry-level" type of questions, but one of the things that the "analysts" seem to forget while "BSing" from their Ivory Towers is that many people can't afford one of the smartphones, but they still want to take pictures of their life, and a basic P&S camera is a lot more affordable. Considering current prices, the price of a new P&S camera is almost the same as the monthly fee of a smartphone!

New PlayTouch and mini camcorder sticks, new digiframes
Kodak continues the push with camcorder sticks, announcing two new models. The "flagship" is the new PlayTouch, which, as the name indicates, features a 3-inch capacitive touch-screen on the back, full 1080p HD video (oh my!) with 5mp stills capture, smartphone-inspired looks, SD/SDHC memory card slot, LiIon battery and things like that. The opening price is $230 with a September 6 estimated shipping date at Amazon in your choice of trendy body colors. This is the most expensive of today's ten new Kodak products announced and released too.

But Kodak is not forgetting the $100 price-point with the brand new Mini camcorder stick. The Mini is so small, Amazon has a "choking hazard" warning about it on its product page ;-) Okay, the choking hazard is probably because it includes a 2GB microSD card :) Despite the smallness, it takes microSD cards, so kudos to Kodak for giving the user storage-flexibility. It also has 128MB of on-board memory. Video is VGA - you can't possibly expect 720p for $100 in 2010. But who knows what will happen next year or in 2012, 1080p for $100? :)

Kodak has also announced five new digital picture frames ranging from $100 to $200, and four out of the five are already shipping from Amazon.

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