This story popped up on Reuters earlier, and reports that Kodak are aiming at digital cameras that are easy-to-use and can deliver 4x6 and 5x7 prints (2.1+ megapixel surely). To my eyes it's about time Kodak did something and came out with some new product. We've seen nothing new from them for over six months and even their top of the range consumer digicam the DC290 was just a spruced up version of the old DC260...

Kodak pushes harder on low-cost digital cameras

NEW YORK, March 23 (Reuters) - Photography giant Eastman Kodak Co. (NYSE:EK - news) is moving more aggressively in the lower-priced, digital camera market as activity in the area increases, company spokesmen said Thursday.

``We are moving increasingly aggressively at the lower-end of the price range with cameras that deliver 4X6 and 5X7 prints and easy-to-use cameras,'' said Joe Runde, a Kodak spokesman.

The company's stock has been hovering near its 52-week low. Its shares closed off 1/16 at 56.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the company is shifting its digital stragegy, is planning to sell less expensive, lower-quality cameras and is rethinking its pricing structure for online services.

Runde noted that the Rochester, N.Y.-based company has been selling digital cameras for the last two years and it is not changing its strategy but rather continuing its push in the area. Kodak, which has been trying to raise the profile of its digital business, holds the No. 2 spot in digital camera sales,

But several other players are becoming forces in the digital camera market and the number of lower-cost, easier-to-use options is growing from competitors such as Polaroid Corp. (NYSE:PRD - news) as more consumers adopt digital cameras.

``Competition has always been hot. I don't think it's getting hotter. I think people expect more and we want them to do that. As this product moves into being more of a consumer product, you are going to see more activity in that space,'' Runde said.

He added that Kodak plans to soon launch two new cameras but declined to comment on whether they would be in the cheaper, easier-to-use market.

``It's a very significant market selling those (cameras) to kids that use them at (the) entry level, e-mailing (pictures) to friends. That business is an area that makes sense for Kodak to be in,'' said Alex Henderson, an analyst at Prudential Securities. He noted the company's plans to move a camera manufacturing plant from Japan into China and said that would be able to serve the market on a more cost-effective basis. ``I think it's a good tactical move on their part.''

Kodak said it continues to look at its pricing structure.

``We are constantly looking at pricing structures because there are a lot of business models out there,'' said another Kodak spokesman, adding that the company was not, however, considering a free model.

As digital camera use grows, film usage does go down but company officials said that as more people use digital cameras, it provides Kodak with an opportunity on the printing and processing side of the business.

``I think our digital business has been progressing and we are pretty happy with where it is. We play in all areas of the markets -- in the Internet capture and scanning part, community part and storage part of the market,'' the spokesman said. If we can be strong in all areas, we will be successful on the Internet. Right now we are at the very beginning of some of these services like 'You've Got Pics' with AOL (America Online Inc. (NYSE:AOL - news)); it takes time to catch on with consumers."