HP has unveiled new photo printing kiosks that let consumers print their snaps at retail stores.
The kiosk comes in two versions. HP Photosmart Express is a standalone unit that prints 4in x 6in photos and burns CDs, while HP Photosmart Studio also allows consumers to design items such as calendars, greeting cards or posters.
The devices also let consumers pick up photos uploaded to the internet using HP's Snapfish online photo sharing and printing service.
The Express stations are set to appear in supermarkets, pharmacies and dedicated photo stores in the US. A spokesman for the company declined to comment on availability in other regions.
The Express kiosk is listed at $15,000 and the Studio at $50,000. Retailers can purchase or lease the units, and HP is offering a revenue sharing option where the manufacturer receives a percentage of the revenues that the device generates.
"With Kodak and Fujifilm already entrenched in the market, HP must carve out a specific niche to gain a strong position," warned David Haueter, a principal research analyst with Gartner.
He added that HP's position as a consumer brand might limit users in accepting the kiosks as a professional photo printing device.
But HP claimed that its appliances take up less space and offer more advanced management and maintenance features.
HP is already the market leader in the ink printer segment, and the kiosks are part of a $1.4bn investment to expand the company's imaging business.
In a meeting with reporters earlier this month, HP's chief strategy and technology officer Shane Robison said that the company is looking to introduce more integrated hardware and service bundles such as the photo kiosks.
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