CES 2008: Panasonic has announced development of a wireless camera with the ability to upload directly to Google's Picasa Web Albums. Thanks to a deal with T-Mobile, the camera will include twelve months' free use of the network's HotSpot service which is available in selected Starbucks, Borders, Hyatt hotels and airports. There are currently no details on the hardware aspect nor timeframe for introduction but we shall, of course, keep you up to date with more details as we receive them.

Press Release:

Panasonic and T-Mobile cooperate to enable development of first Panasonic Lumix wireless digital camera with ability to upload to Google's Picasa Web Albums™

LAS VEGAS (CES Booth #9405), Jan. 7, 2008 – Panasonic, the leading brand by which Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (NYSE: MC) is best known, today highlighted the development of a LUMIX digital camera with wireless network connectivity, complete with integrated access to T-Mobile® HotSpot service and the ability to send photos directly to Picasa™ Web Albums, a free online photo-sharing service from Google. Panasonic collaborated with T-Mobile Hotspot and used Picasa Web Albums’ APIs to develop a new and optimal online environment for photo sharing.

After taking digital photos with the new LUMIX, users will be able to upload their photos directly to Picasa Web Albums through the T-Mobile HotSpot service. The LUMIX comes with complimentary access to T-Mobile HotSpot service for 12 months.* After uploading, they can receive an email with a URL link to their photos, which they can then share with family and friends. In addition, users can confirm photos have been successfully loaded to Picasa Web Albums and can delete photos directly from the digital camera, eliminating the concern that photos have or have not been uploaded.

Panasonic has collaborated closely with T-Mobile to enable quick and easy digital photo uploading. T-Mobile HotSpot service provides fast and reliable Wi-Fi Internet access at more than 8,500 public T-Mobile HotSpot locations throughout the country. As the largest carrier-grade, commercial Wi-Fi network in the United States, T-Mobile HotSpot service is available at many Starbucks coffee shops, Borders® Books & Music stores, Hyatt Hotels and approximately 70 major airports across the United States.

"T-Mobile HotSpot service continues to innovate and build new bridges that help people stick together," said Joe Sims, vice president and general manager for Broadband Services, T-Mobile USA. "Through T-Mobile HotSpot, empowering people to share special moments-in-time captured by the LUMIX digital camera is yet another way we’re helping people stay connected to those who matter most."

“The new LUMIX will be the perfect digital camera for consumers who are accustomed to the benefits that wireless connections offer: speed and convenience,” said Tokikazu Matsumoto, director of Panasonic AVC Networks Company’s Digital Camera Business Unit. “Ideal for the active user who is always on-the-go, the new LUMIX with wireless network connectivity, has the ability to upload directly to Picasa Web Albums, making sharing photos with friends and family, as simple as a touch of a button and as seamless as connecting to a wireless network.”

“We want our users to be able to access and share their photo collections however and wherever they’d like,” said Mike Horowitz, product manager for Picasa Web Albums at Google. “We created open APIs to encourage exactly this kind of integration. The new LUMIX camera from Panasonic gives our users a great new way to share photos quickly and easily while they’re taking shots on vacation or at a convention."

“Our collaboration with T-Mobile Hotspot and our work with Picasa Web Albums open programming interface pushes the boundaries of digital photography, said Merwan Mereby, vice president, New Business Development and Strategic Alliances, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “We are in a new paradigm of taking digital photographs, where people want to share their memories easily, while also embracing the immediacy that online communities demand. With the direct upload capability onto Picasa Web Albums through any T-Mobile Hotspot location anywhere in the United States, the wireless LUMIX digital camera makes sharing photographs an easy and seamless experience.”

*One year of complimentary, camera-specific T-Mobile HotSpot service begins from the first time you automatically connect your LUMIX digital camera to the T-Mobile network at a T-Mobile HotSpot location within the U.S, subject to certain limitations, terms and conditions. T-Mobile HotSpot service does not include access to the Internet at any Wi-Fi roaming locations.