Kodak has drawn inspiration from its 1940s Kodak Ektra camera to launch the new photography-focused Kodak Ektra smartphone.
The rise of smartphones hasn't been kind to Kodak, but the company is now drawing on its legacy in film and photography to cash in on the device that nearly killed it.
As with the first Ektra camera, an advanced device launched by Kodak in 1941, the Ektra smartphone is aimed at today's photography enthusiasts who might appreciate a retro, camera-like finish and a more tactile photography experience. Kodak even has a range of leather accessories that mimic classic camera cases.
The centerpiece of the Ektra is a 21-megapixel (MP) main camera with f2.2 aperture lens. Like a real SLR camera, it features a physical wheel for scene selection. The wheel offers several pre-set options, as well as a Smart Auto mode and manual mode to adjust exposure, ISO, focus, white balance and shutter speed.
On paper, the Ektra appears to be a solid smartphone, featuring a MediaTek Helio X-20 10-core processor, a 13MP front-facing camera, 3,000mAh battery, 3GB RAM, 32GB in-built storage, and a USB Type C charger. It will ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
The Ektra is actually made by UK electronics firm Bullitt Group, which licenses recognizable brands and designs products to capture 'the DNA' of the firms it works with. It designed the rugged CAT-branded smartphone and is making a smartphone and accessories for Land Rover due in 2017.
This approach puts the new Kodak camera in the same class as the forthcoming Nokia-branded smartphones, another once-giant brand with a heritage in photography, for which smartphones brought disaster.
Regardless, if Kodak Ektra has any chance of attracting photography fans in meaningful numbers, the camera and software will need to be seriously impressive given the competition with the iPhone, Samsung's Galaxy phones and now Google's Pixel.
At least running Android, the Ektra won't be dragged down by a dying operating system, as Nokia's Symbian-powered 808 PureView was.
According to Kodak, the Ektra will be available in Europe later this year for €499 and £449, or about $550 or AU$720.
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