The chip giant Intel and application service provider POPcast Communications, Monday jointly launched POPcaster, an on-demand video picture book service.
POPcast will utilize Intel's Easy Web Media software, which allows consumers to splice together audio, video, still images and text to create multimedia picture books. Once the picture books are complete, POPcast publishes them on the Web, where they can be downloaded by anyone with a browser.
"Photo sharing is one of the most popular activities on the Web," said Dave Whitlinger, product marketing manager for Intel's Architecture Labs. "In conjunction with the increasing demand for digital cameras, we think that users will want to evolve from still images to multimedia presentation."
The market for digital cameras rose 202 percent from 1998 to 1999 with 3.1 million units shipped last year, according to International Data. Industry analysts expect the market to grow 62 percent in 2000, with sales projected at 5.1 million units as pricing drops.
Intel said its free, downloadable Easy Web Media software has a five-button user interface that makes it easy to create and share stories.
POPcaster was designed for average consumers and businesses, according to POPcast CEO and founder William Mutual. Consumers can use it to keep in touch with family and businesses can use it for training videos.
Fox Kids, owned by Fox Broadcasting, and Earthcam are the first companies providing POPcaster service, Intel officials said.
The Fox Kids site, scheduled to launch in September, will use POPcaster to let young users to combine images of themselves with cartoon characters. Earthcam TV will allow users to create their own TV programming. In the future, it plans to allow users to host live Web-based shows or chat rooms related to specific video picture books.
POPcast is an application service provider that licenses its services to portals and Web sites. The ad-supported service is free to users.
Intel's Online Services group will handle the Web hosting services for the picture books and its Internet Media Services group will provide caching servers.
Monday's announcement is another in a recent string of deals involving Intel's Architecture Labs. The alliances aim to promote and develop technologies that will encourage users to use the Internet.
Whenever Windows is discussed its name is linked to that of Intel, manufacturer of the vast majority of processors, chipsets and even motherboards inside Windows PCs. Why isn't Intel under threat of being broken up in a similar way to Microsoft? Go with Peter Jackson to read the news comment.