Sony's Malcolm

The proliferation of digital cameras caused the photo-sharing and photo-processing Web-based services to sprout like mushrooms after the rain. The number of photo-processing self-serve kiosks at the retailers' stores has yet to catch up, but they certainly help increase the popularity of digital cameras. This is good news—it means more sales of the digital imaging products for retailers, more photo-sharing and processing choices for consumers and more partnerships between the online photo services and retailers to provide photo-processing services through kiosks and at the retailers' Web sites. For consumers, processing online includes many perks, such as free delivery, next-day processing, special offers or compatibility with

Today, consumers have embraced digital cameras, and it's not just the instant-gratification factor to blame. As the technology matures, prices go down and opportunities for digital-image printing and sharing increase. "Consumer acceptance always depends on consumer expectations," said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president, digital imaging, Minolta's Consumer Products Group. "For digital still cameras, much like any type of image capture device, expectations are predicated on the intended application." Today, he said, consumers are better informed about the capabilities of digital cameras, inkjet printers are now able to produce photo-like prints, and "popularly priced" models in the 2-megapixel range provide good image quality. "The expectations curve

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