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BRIEFS: November 11

Lifepics gets in your Facebook
Lifepics is continuing to make itself useful around the place, with the introduction of a Facebook Ordering app.

The app allows Facebook users to print off any of their Facebook photos, including photos they are tagged in, through their favourite Lifepics lab.

Although still at the Beta stage the app has been extensively tested over the past month and ‘is proving to be a robust system’.

Facebook’s recent announcement that its users can now choose to upload higher resolution photos than the site previously allowed (the new limit of 2048 pixels is up from the previous limit of 720) means new Facebook images can be sufficient to print 8×10 prints, which expands the pool of images (and margins!) available to photo retailers.

(The Facebook move has not been without its detractors, however, with users almost universally panning the first iteration of the beefed up photo service.)

‘The Facebook app has two big benefits as on the one hand it directly links into the world’s largest repository of images, while on the other it encourages a significant number of younger consumers who aren’t in-store kiosk users to now print their photos straight from their phones,’ noted Tracey Lints, marketing manager with Lifepics Australian associate, Photo Direct.

The new app can be accessed here:

A better paper clip

Verbatim is launching a the Verbatim Store ‘n’ Go Clip-it USB Drive – a storage device with added functionality as a – wait for it – paper clip!

Verbatim’s Clip-it USB drive is available in a range of bright colours and storage capacities of 2GB and 4GB.

Verbatim says that the new drive is so light there’s no extra cost for postage.

The new Clip-it USB drives will be available around about now and will have an RRP of $16.95 for 4GB.

Kodak grows inkjet revenues

Eastman Kodak reported that revenue from its digital businesses grew 10 percent in the third quarter, spurred by its consumer and commercial inkjet products, packaging solutions and workflow software and services. Overall, 3Q sales were US $1.76 billion, a 1 percent decrease from the year-ago quarter.

Kodak reports its consumer inkjet printer and ink revenue grew by 26 percent in 3Q 2010 while revenue from its digital commercial printing businesses grew by 13 percent, which includes 23 percent growth in commercial inkjet printing. In fact, the company stated that profits from its digital portfolio showed year-over-year improvement for the fourth consecutive quarter.

Revenue from conventional film and sensitised paper products declined by 25 percent.

Kodak’s earnings from continuing operations, before interest expense, other income (charges), net and income taxes were US$58 million, a US$139 million improvement compared to a US$81 million loss in 3Q 2009.

Feeling deflated

Gerry Harvey told the Australian Financial Review last week that AV products (including digital cameras) have begun to deflate and as long as the Australian dollar remains high, pressures on bricks-and-mortar retailers will keep intensifying.

‘All retailers selling AV products have a huge problem at the moment because we’re selling them for so much less than we were before,’ Harvey said.

‘You now have to sell twice as much as you did two years ago to get the same dollars so it’s impossible.

He predicted that 2011 would be a tougher year than 2010: ‘There’s no doubt about it, the way things are going in that product category.’

Back to base

Fujifilm seems to havechanged its manufacturing arrangements with Noritsu.

The latest Frontier LP5500R and LP5700R models (announced at Photokina) are both manufactured by Fujifilm, whereas Noritsu has ben manufacturing minilabs for Noritsu for several years.

Likewise, the new Frontier DL600 Dry Minilab, featuring a 5-colour (C/M/Y/LB/K) dual mode Epson inkjet print engine, is also being manufactured by Fujifilm, while previous dry Frontier equipment was from the Noritsu factory. What does it all mean.? Who knows!

Mega-framer created

US frame-maker Larson-Juhl Inc has announced the acquisition of Megawood Mouldings, one of the leading suppliers to framers in the Australian market.

Over the coming months, Megawood Mouldings and Larson-Juhl Australia will merge into a new company, Megawood Larson-Juhl Pty Ltd.

‘We are excited to join these two businesses which will give Megawood Larson-Juhl the ability to provide an even higher level of service, quality and product to the Australian picture framer,’ said Steve McKenzie, Larson-Juhl President and CEO.

Megawood Mouldings began operations over 25 years ago, and has been under the leadership of the brother and sister team of Alex MacDonald and Sue Stephens for the last 15 years.
They will continue with the company as co-managing directors of Megawood Larson-Juhl.

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