Kodak released a phone at the CES and we’re somehow not surprised. Kodak has a history of dabbling in technology that the company didn’t really start out to do. For starters, the Kodak DCS Pro 14n in the early 2000s, which was basically a Nikon DSLR with a Kodak badge. Later on they were big on $100-200 devices that shoot and upload videos and photos straight to social media websites like Youtube, Myspace and Facebook. Although the brand recognition is huge, they have never developed a premium product of their own. And they still haven’t with the new Kodak IM5 phone.

The new mobile device is made by Bullitt, a UK company that develops smartphones. In this day and age, when Android is the most used mobile software and it’s free, it’s open source, and sourcing parts is easier than ever, Kodak chose to go with a 3rd party manufacturer. An unknown in the global scale of the mobile market for that matter. There are literally hundreds of manufacturers in China that make very good smartphones, it seems Kodak, with its multi billion dollar budget couldn’t come up with one. It’s true, their main business is still photo printing. They make this obviously clear by putting a printing option in every device they make, and the Kodak Phone is no exception.

The UI of the Android device is heavily modified, to appeal to beginners in smartphone use. The icons on the front screen are big and fixed. There’s little in way of customization. Such rudimentary functions as flashlight are right on the home screen and useless functions for most users, like printing app for example.

Under the hood the Bullitt built device features a set of uninspired parts. From the Octa-Core 1.7 GHz processor to the 13 Megapixel camera, there’s nothing outstanding here, and these specs can be found in sub-$200 phones from various Chinese manufacturers. The is made by Mediatek. It’s the MT 6592, that’s been on the market for a long time. Even worse, they’ve only put 1 GB of RAM in, which is insufficient for most casual users, the apps being more power hungry by the day. Facebook now demands a separate app for messaging. That additional app alone can clock 130MB of your ram, that’s nearly 15% of your usable ram. 8 GB of internal storage is a clear statement that profits are much more important than actual brand recognition, and the fact that storage upgrade trough additional microSD is limited to 32 GB, further proves this is an old phone with a new badge. The 13 megapixel camera we hope redeems this phone in some way, the biggest name that manufactures this size sensor is Sony, and they have a good reputation for mobile sensors. Kodak being a sensor manufacturer as well, it would be a shame if they didn’t try to make their own mobile sensor, but we would be really surprised if the chip isn’t actually made by Sony. The nail in the coffin is the sub-par 720pixel screen on the device. Everything about this device reeks of old technology.

We want to believe Kodak will once again be an exciting brand for consumers. We actually appreciate their efforts in the early 2000s to make a full-frame digital camera that takes Nikkor lenses, a thing which Nikon didn’t do until over half a decade later. We really hoped this phone could have topped Nokia Lumia’s legendary status for amazing photographs, HTC’s innovative sensor technology and Sony Xperia’s notoriety for high megapixel snappers. Unfortunately the Kodak Phone is just another gimmick that is bound to end up in the discount bin of supermarkets in the western countries. Devices bought by grandparents to the disappointment of their eager grandchildren, like the cameras that uploaded straight to Youtube, the cheaply made point and shoot cameras that took shameful photos. Once again, Kodak proved they are just a printing company, that sometimes dabbles in consumer electronics, very unsuccessfully.

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Mark Jonathan

Mark Jonathan

Since the early years of the internet Mark has been a pioneer in online publications. With his experience in web design and a passion for photography he has developed Photo Tribune to be a reliable source for photographic news.