mobile photography technology, culture and community

Kodak reaches out to app developers to push photos from phone to print

The Kodak Alaris kiosks let you print photos straight from your mobile phone.

When Eastman Kodak filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in early 2012, it sold off the remaining profitable areas of the company. The surviving branches of the Kodak brand are now working to remain relevant in an age when photography is rapidly changing.

One of the remaining arms of the Kodak legacy is Kodak Alaris. The photo printing service is now working with app developers to let customers print photos at one of 105,000 photo printing kiosks worldwide.

At the recent Mobile Photo Connect conference in San Francisco, California, I had a chance to speak with the Chief Growth Officer of Kodak Alaris. Darren Johnson started with Kodak in 1997 and has held a wide range of roles within the company since, from research and development to sales. Now, Johnson is laying the foundation for growth as Kodak Alaris looks to the future.

“I like to say that we are a 125-year-old start up,” said Johnson. “We have a new owner, and a new industry.”

According to Kodak Alaris, even though the majority of digital photos taken today are captured with smartphones, most printed photographs were captured with conventional cameras.

There are already over 105,000 Kodak Alaris kiosks worldwide.

Kodak Alaris is focusing on how to get photos off of phones and into prints. While it has a handful of apps for printing photos for every mobile platform, Kodak Alaris has opened up its API so developers can help users print photos from their own applications.

“No one manages memories the same way anymore,” said Johnson. “We are trying to make it easy to enrich, relive and share your memories.”

I had a chance to use the Kodak Alaris kiosk at the Mobile Photo Connect conference. I used Kodak’s WedPics app, a photo organizer for couples to collect photos from their wedding.

After uploading a favorite photo of the Bay Bridge, I used Kodak’s built-in editing tools to apply a filter and adjust the contrast of my image. After I finished, I sent the photo to the demo kiosk. Within minutes, I was holding an 8 x 10 print of my photo. Consumers can find similar kiosks at their local Target or CVS stores.

While Kodak's apps are certainly capable of printing to its kiosks, the editing tools and templates leave a lot to be desired. Instead of trying to compete with the developers of popular mobile apps, Kodak Alaris is reaching out to them, encouraging apps to include a “print to Kodak” option. The hope is that the apps will increase the use of Kodak's kiosks. The developers, in return, get a cut of the printing fee.

“We can never be as innovative as the app developer community,” said Johnson about Kodak’s decision to release its API.

For over a century, Kodak has been a self-contained company that had a hand in every part of the photographic process. Now, Kodak Alaris is specializing, focusing solely on printing kiosks while other manufactures make the cameras and app developers create the software. Instead of trying to do everything, Kodak Alaris is offering retailers more foot traffic, app developers a new revenue stream and users an opportunity to easily print their smartphone photos.


Total comments: 16

Interesting that they have 105,000 kiosks worldwide. Maybe they are actually on to something.

Edited 36 seconds after posting

People who remember that photos can be printed are rapidly dying off. The market is dying off with them. See Canon giving away their photo printers with their cameras, and even offering rebates if you take a printer too (obviously they want to live off the ink).


The market is dynamic, and consumers constantly need to be reminded of things...otherwise they forget! Why do you think Coca Cola constantly spends millions on advertising every year, even though you'd think they wouldn't need to! It's because people need to be "reminded", lest they "forget." In the case of printing, Kodak obviously needs to re-market printing to "remind" consumers that it exists. In other words, printing photos needs to be marketed, just like any other product or service or can of Coke.

As for home photo printers, that's a very different proposition than a print kiosk. Home photo printers are a pain and hassle to own and operate, they take up valuable desk space, they're always clogging, and the ink is atrociously expensive. It's no wonder people have soured on home photo printers.


Lots of photos are still printed. The advertising reminding people to see if the stores around them have Kodak printing as opposed to Hewlett-Packard or some other no name. Of the big US chains Target and CVS use Kodak Kiosk.


“No one manages memories the same way anymore,”

Correct. Many years ago it took $25 and a wait at the one-hour lab, (or $3 and three-days for mail order) before you could gleefully flip through a stack of the latest shots.

Most of those snaps really didn't qualify for print, but it was the only way to see them.



I never paid more than $10 for 1 hour and usually closer to $5.


1990 dollars, when it fist came out, in the pro shops I used. $3/roll for 3 day wait was the Kmart pricing.


in 1990 minimum wage was $3.80


Are people still printing 4x6's? I haven't printed 4x6's in over two years. I only print 8x10 and up now. Granted, my sons are now 20 and 18 years old so there are less family snaps these days, but they both have Nexus 4 smartphones and the younger one "borrows" my DSLR a fair bit too. Not once have they printed a photo at any size. Everything goes straight to the web.


Teen and 20 somethings don't print anything. Though 20 and 30 somethings print a lot when they have little kids. Parents of small child is a viable market for printing.


"...even though the majority of digital photos taken today are captured with smartphones, most printed photographs were captured with conventional cameras."

Thats because cellphone camera pics are only decent when viewed on a small screen that exaggerates saturation and contrast.. the only way to get them to look decent when printed is to highly stylize them and call it "art".

Edited 40 seconds after posting
Simon Joinson

Oh man Jogger, wake up, it's 2013 not 2008.


I think Jogger just crawled out of a cave or something.


You mock Jogger, but can you actually show me a compareable picture? no.
why? simple physics .

You are still on earth and sensor size and lens quality (which improves by size - yes even today), do matter A lot.

so yeah I use my Galaxy 4 to take snap shots.
I also do large format printing and I actually did a few 50X70 cm enlargements from an Iphone 4s !!

but the quality is bad, everything looks patchy because of the massive noise correction (that`s because of sensor size , and lens MTF).

so it`s ok for facebook.

But I wouldn`t compare .


A 4x6 can be stretch for my iPhone's photo taking ability. Having an iPhone is like carrying one of those stupid keychain 110 cameras from long ago... it goes everywhere so i take more pics.

Total comments: 16
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