Kodak, Circuit City Team on Photo Services

With so many choices for Web photo-finishing and album software, Kodak Co. is setting out to win your favor even before you launch your browser.

Kodak and Circuit City Stores Inc. are announcing on Tuesday a software CD, Print@Kodak Extra Value/Starter, that features album-creation software and a link to a photofinishing service, Print@Kodak.com, cosponsored by Kodak and Circuit City.

Priced at US$39 with the purchase of any scanner or camera at Circuit City, the CD includes Kodak's Auto Album program and a $50 credit for Kodak Picture Pages services. The Picture Pages, durable double-sided album prints you create with the album software, normally cost $6.95 each to print.

Each purchase definitely leads to another. "At the point of purchase [of scanner or camera], Kodak is locking in the customer by having them try the service," says Nancy Carr, vice president of digital and applied imaging division at Kodak.

Once you load the CD, you can use the program to build photo albums that you store on your PC or transmit to the Kodak and Circuit City Web site for processing. Prices start at 49 cents for a 4-inch-by-6-inch print on Kodak paper. You can have your favorite moments captured on T-shirts, mugs, and mouse pads.

Kodak's Auto Album Program supports any JPEG file, so it works with the image-capture and editing software sometimes bundled with a camera or scanner, Carr adds. You can also use the software to organize and store images on your hard drive. Kodak plans to add free Web photo storage to its site's services.

The Print@Kodak CD isn't the first CD Kodak has offered through brick-and-mortar retailers. At Walgreen's and other photo-finishing retailers, you can get your 35mm photos on a Kodak Picture CD along with your prints. Kodak also offers photo-finishing through the CVS Web site.

If a new camera or scanner isn't on your shopping list, you can simply download the 5.7MB Auto Album from Kodak.com. The Print@Kodak Extra Value CD puts the software in your hands before you even connect your camera or scanner to the PC. It's Kodak's attempt to get you to sign on to its photo-finishing services and fend off some of the Web-only photo-finishing competition. You can even animate your images with services such as SmashCast or DotPhoto.com. Of course, Kodak hopes that $50 credit will entice you to try its services, even if you pay $39 for the jump-start.

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