Kodak may have filed for bankruptcy, but its brand and business carries on. Today, the Kodak Alaris group is launching a new service for mobile app developers, which will allow them to integrate an API into their apps so customers can print their photos to a number of retail locations. At launch, these include Bartell Drugs in the U.S. as well as all Target stores nationwide, while in Europe, it includes dm-drogerie in Germany.
Over time, Kodak Alaris expects to onboard its other existing retailer partners, which combined, have over 100,000 locations worldwide where users can print a variety of photos, plus greeting cards and other photo products like calendars, collages, photo books and more.
Kodak Alaris, for those unfamiliar, is a group that licenses the Kodak name following Kodak’s Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Kodak earlier sold off its patent portfolio for $525 million, and unloaded its personalized imaging business (kiosks, film and paper, etc.) and its document imaging business, which were sold to the U.K. Kodak Pension Plan in a deal that was finalized this September. The Alaris group, headquartered in Rochester, NY, now has 4,700 full-time employees worldwide carrying on the Kodak brand heritage under a new company which focuses on the photo services and document imaging businesses, which includes the print kiosks installed in retailers’ stores across the U.S., North America and parts of Western Europe.
With the Kodak Photo Service, as the developer-facing toolkit is called, developers – obviously those of the mobile photo app variety – will have another option in terms of monetizing their apps. According to Larry Trevarthen, Vice President of Business Development at Kodak Alaris, Kodak will share revenue with developers, though he declined to detail the split. However, he explains there will be two models: one for prints, and other for the photo products with higher margins.
At launch, ten app developers have already integrated Kodak’s free API into their apps: CameraAce (TecAce); Chappters (iEvoke); Chip Photobook (Onpics); Comic Touch (Plasq); Perfect365 (ArcSoft); PicMix (Inovidea Magna Global); pixmix (Pixmix Ltd); PixStack Photo Editor (Recursify); Postify Print (Postify); Watch The Birdie (Albert Frischmann Consulting); and WedPics (Deja Mi).
Target is already accepting orders from WedPics and CameraAce today. Chappters was approved for expedited review from Apple and can accept orders once it goes live. The other apps will be rolled out shortly after.
Other mobile app consumers wanting access to a similar service can using the “My Kodak Moments” iOS app instead, which works with an extended number of retailers, including also CVS/Pharmacies, and Officeworks in Australia.
The idea to offer a print-to-store API is not a new one, but something that could be helpful for developers in an increasingly competitive app store market, where paid apps are on their way out, forcing developers to turn to other means of generating revenue, including in-app purchases and subscriptions. But it’s also good for retailers, who are fighting to get foot traffic to their stores when so many customers today are turning to shop online.
Last summer Walgreens, too, launched its own print API for app developers, with brands like GroupShot, Kicksend, Pic Stitch, Pinweel, and StillShot, involved at launch. (Kicksend also works with Kodak at kiosks through a different service.) Other photo brands like Shutterfly and the startup Sincerely offer APIs of their own, for a print-and-mail option.
Developers can learn more about the Kodak program here.