Business Wire: Digital Minilabs Will Expand Digital Photography's Appeal By Bypassing the Need for PCs and Printers

According to a new report from InfoTrends Research Group, Inc., a new breed of photo minilabs, called digital minilabs, are poised to play a critical role in the mainstream adoption of digital photography by allowing users to bypass the hassles associated with processing and printing digital photographs themselves.

Conventional analog minilabs process film and create prints, and offer few options for editing images. Digital minilabs, by contrast, digitize film, and also accept digital input such as digital camera storage cards and floppy disks. Having images in digital form opens up a range of new output possibilities. Photo processors will be able to offer thumbnail index sheets, photo greeting cards, enlargements, photo captions, frames, collages, uploading to the Internet, and improved image quality through sophisticated tonal and exposure corrections.

Digital camera and scanner users will be able to easily drop off their digital media at their local one-hour photo processing store and get back photo-quality prints, just as they do with film. Even the most computer-phobic person will be able to use a digital camera because there is no tinkering with the photo editing software, printers, special papers, and inks needed to print an acceptable digital photo. Similarly, users with film cameras can easily explore the digital arena by receiving their processed images on floppy, CD, or via the Internet.

The challenge, according to InfoTrends' research, will be to educate potential customers about the new capabilities that digital minilabs offer, and to encourage photo processors to make a rapid conversion to digital minilabs.

The new report "Digital Minilabs to Spur Digital Photography Acceptance," available immediately, is designed to help digital camera and home printer vendors understand how and when digital minilabs will alter home digital photo processing. The report examines the digital minilab's impact on digital camera market development, profiles vendors' products and strategies, and examines the unit shipment and hardware revenue potential for digital minilabs from 1999 - 2004 based upon replacement rates for current digital minilab installations.