Kodak is licensing its brand to the Bullitt Group as part of a partnership that will introduce a new line of Android tablets and smartphones at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
A smartphone will be the first of the new Kodak-branded devices that make it easy to share and print images. The smartphone is expected to appear in 2015 and will be followed by the launches of a 4G smartphone, a tablet and a connected camera -- the other devices are expected to launch in the second half of 2015.
The ambiguity in the announcement indicates that the first handset may not be 4G, as the feature is only mentioned with regard to the second phone. The absence of 4G is a huge negative for the tech savvy, though Kodak and the Bullitt Group state that they're aiming at another demographic -- still, 4G is the future for every group.
The Bullitt Group says the devices target photographers who want high-quality mobile devices that have accessible apps and user interfaces. The software for taking, storing and printing photos will also include remote support so that friends and family members can offer users help in operating the devices.
The Kodak-branded smartphones and tablets bring to market a simplicity that doesn't compromise their effectiveness, addressing a sector that been underserved so far, according to Bullitt Mobile CEO Oliver Schulte.
"By giving customers easy access to printing and sharing services while still offering the latest Android OS and features found on high-end smartphones, we will appeal to a large audience of users who value ease of use and stylish design as highly as they value functionality," says Schulte.
Kodak also is introducing at CES a 360-degree action video camera, batteries, a new baby monitoring system, and a line of headphones and earbuds as well as a line of Kodak PixPro digital and video cameras.
It's assumed that Kodak will have a lot of say and sway in the specifications of the devices produced under its brand, though neither it or the Bullitt Group offered details on the licensing agreement. But Schulte says the Bullitt Group understands that Kodak is one of the most well-known brands in the world and his company intends to respectfully build on the company's heritage.
"We've taken that heritage and used it to inspire a range of beautifully designed devices that will let users take great pictures and edit, share, store and print them in an instant," says Schulte.
Nokia and Foxconn recently came to terms on similar deal, in which the former's brand recognition would be leveraged to promote a series of tablets created by the later. After Microsoft, which completed its $7.2 billion purchase of Nokia's handset business in April 2014, began to forgo its rights to use the brand name on phones, Nokia issued a license that enabled Foxconn to do so -- the product was the 7.9-inch Nokia N1 tablet.