Kodak, the iconic camera company that famously failed to adapt to the world of digital and smartphone cameras, has unveiled a smartphone with a high-powered camera aimed at photography fanatics.
The company has teamed up with Bullitt, a Reading-based manufacturer that specialises in building unconventional handsets, to release the Ektra, a premium phone to go on sale this year.
The two hope to carve out a niche in the brutally competitive smartphone market by focusing on camera obsessives, rather than trying to challenge Apple, Samsung and Google directly. It is aimed at those who may already own a DSLR but want the convenience of having a quality camera with them at all times.
The Ektra – named after Kodak’s ground-breaking 1941 camera that ushered in an era of accessible photography – claims to far surpass the cameras on mainstream smartphones.
It features a 21-megapixel camera, advanced menus for tweaking shots and Google Snapseed, a detailed editing app, as well as a dedicated shutter button and styling more reminiscent of a retro photography age than the glass and aluminium designs of modern handsets.
21MP f2.0 main camera with optical image stabilisation and 4K video
12MP f2.2 selfie camera
32GB memory with expandable storage
Runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Deca-core processor with 3GB RAM
Camera dial between modes such as sport, close-up, bokeh and panorama
Advanced Manual Mode to adjust exposure, ISO, shutter speed, white balance
Super 8 Video recorder for retro videos
The Ektra, which will cost £449 when released in December, is going on sale first in the UK and Europe, with Bullitt holding off on a launch in the US where sales are dominated by mobile networks. The company is in discussions with a number of retailers and operators about selling the device.
Kodak, which had failed to adapt to the rise of the digital camera and then the smartphone, declared bankruptcy in 2012. It sold its portfolio of patents to a group of technology investors including Apple and Google for $525m and re-emerged a year later.
Jeff Clarke, Kodak’s chief executive, said: “Kodak has a rich history in imaging technology and the launch of the Kodak smartphone today demonstrates our ongoing commitment to bringing the latest advances in photography to consumers.”