Bonusprint is pushing its online photo printing service by gunning for mobile phone fans. It hopes to woo phone fans with the option of printing out snaps taken using their increasingly capable phone cameras.
From today customers will be able to beam their photos to a laptop and upload them straight to Bonusprint’s online printing shop and then print off the best ones.
More than a fifth of UK mobile phone owners have cameras built into their handsets – five times as many as were estimated to be in circulation a year ago. With digital camera sales slowing, the mobile handset-snappers are being seen as a potentially valuable customer base .
Research conducted by Nokia, whose phones are compatible with the Bonusprint service, found most camera phone users want to print their photos rather than simply storing them on their phones or PCs.
But MMS – the multimedia messaging system whereby users can share their digital snaps with friends – is too pricey to have found favour, with only three percent of customers making regular use of it.
Bonusprint has therefore plumped for GPRS (global packet radio service) as the transfer means between camera phone and laptop. Having downloaded a tiny app to your GPRS-equipped phone, you can save snaps straight to the Bonusprint service on the fly, meaning they automatically begin copying across the ether to your laptop or PC as soon as they’re taken.
Demonstrations based on 15 snaps taken on a Nokia 7610 megapixel camera revealed an upload time of around 25 minutes. Prints cost 12 pence each with a first class postal fee of £1.20. Alternatively, photos or a link to them online can be sent to contacts in the customer’s mobile phone book.
As well as being a cheaper way of sharing your photos, Bonusprint MD Anthony Ward claims it enables users to share full-size photos rather than teaser thumbnails. Ward goes on to say the aim of the service is “to give people with camera phones exactly the same value” digital camera fans enjoy with existing photo print services.
Mobile phones using the Symbian operating system found in many Nokia phones as well as some Siemens and Sony Ericsson handsets are able to use the service. In time, Microsoft’s Smartphone OS and Palm devices will also be supported.
Customers who sign up to the Bonusprint Mobile service (at www.bonusprintmobile.co.uk) will enjoy a 30-day trial, after which they pay £1.99 a month for 100MB of web space in which to store their photo collections.