Easier to use, innovative printers at a lower cost was the theme from Christopher Morgan, HP's Senior Vice President, Imaging and Printing Group, Asia Pacific and Japan, at the company's recent Asia Pacific consumer products launch in Beijing.
HP forecasts that up to 330 billion digital photos will be snapped annually by 2010, so the company is doing what it can to grab the 24 percent (~ 80 billion) of those shots that it estimates will wind up getting printed. These same estimates project about an equal split between photos printed at home and those printed in retail outlets.
Hoping to gain ground in both segments, HP launched its first photo printer with a kiosk-like touch screen display panel, the Photosmart D7360. The company also introduced range-wide a user-friendly graphical interface called Photosmart Express that has quick access to view, print, share and save photos options, as well as a one-touch Photo Fix button that applies image enhancements like sharpening and red-eye removal without using a PC.
The Photosmart Express interface is also used throughout Snapfish, HP's online photo service. Morgan claims that Snapfish holds 50 percent of the US retail photo processing market, with over 30 million registered users producing five million prints per day. Expanding into the retail and online printing space in countries beyond the US is something the company is exploring, but as Snapfish's model is based on partnerships with major retailers -- which in the US includes WalMart, Costco, Circuit City, Walgreens and OfficeMax -- no announcements on Snapfish retail printing kiosks in Australia are imminent.