Ixla offers free digital camera to entice users

Digital photography is the wave of the future. It's certainly getting cheaper and easier to snap, download, and post pictures to the Web.

Digital photography is the wave of the future. It's certainly getting cheaper and easier to snap, download, and post pictures to the Web. Nevertheless, a lot of people still haven't quite caught on. Whether it's unfamiliarity or simply an unwillingness to accept a new photo medium, most consumers prefer the traditional route.

Perhaps this trend will end soon. Ixla, based in Australia, has introduced an affordable digital imaging software suite that includes a free digital camera. Yes, free.

OK, so the camera isn't even close to megapixel quality (resolution is around 500-by-300), but the idea that a consumer can get everything she or he needs to get started with digital photography for less than $100 (£60) is brilliant.

Along with the Tekom 320 MiniPix camera, the package includes Digital Camera Suite, Web Easy and Explorer software that lets the user do everything from creating family picture albums to making photo-centric websites. Novice users can also use Artist, a watered-down version of Adobe Photoshop. In addition to the easy-to-use software, the suite includes a library of 50,000 images and clip art -- sort of like the Print Shop of the late 1990s.

In addition to the camera/software package, Ixla also has introduced its Internet portal, PhotoHighway.com. Devoted to all aspects of digital photography, it will act as the online source for beginners and experts alike. Such devotion is a good sign for photography enthusiasts, conventional as well as digital.

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