Fujifilm app-challenged, says print mag

In a trial of six smartphone apps for photo printing services published in the July issue of leading Australian printing trade publication Proprint, the mobile-to-print apps from Harvey Norman and Big W came fifth and sixth in a six-horse race.

Australia Post offers a custom postcard with a message added delivered anywhere in Australia in four days for $1.99. Printed by Sydney printing company Digitalpress on a Kodak Nexpress 3300.

Australia Post offers a custom postcard with a message added, delivered anywhere in Australia in four days, for $1.99 .($2.99 offshore.) Printed by Sydney printing company Digitalpress on a Kodak Nexpress 3300.

In fact, after the Big W app crashed four times, the trial was abandoned. Not a good look for Big W, photo retail printing, nor the software provided by Fujifilm.

The review looked only at remote ordering from smartphones, rather than wi-fi connection from smartphone to kiosk in-store. It came at the end of a 2000-word feature article by editor Steven Kiernan, looking at the emerging mobile-to-print market (M2P). As the reader who drew Photo Counter’s attention to the article, Garrett Rooney (3TC) noted, ‘interestingly they [the printing industry] seem to see value in the photo business’.

The Big W and Harvey Norman apps are from Fujifilm subsidiary Whitech, along with Fujifilm’s own yet-to-be-released Fujifilm Imagine Mobile app. They are presumably re-badged versions of the same app.

During the course of the article a Fujifilm Cloudnet spokesperson conceded that there is ‘room for improvement’ and it was ‘definitely early days of this technology’.

– So early that Fujifilm’s own version of the app, while notionally available from the iTunes store, is not mentioned on Fujifilm’s online print services website (which in turn is pretty well invisible on the main Fujifilm website).

Blue Screen of Death: The Big W trial was abandoned after four attempts to upload digital files.

Blue Screen of Death: The Big W trial was abandoned after four attempts to upload digital files.

Fujifilm’s strategy over the past five years or so has been to give a big head start to its two largest customers, Big W and Fujifilm, and basically let the devil take the hindmost – and it would appear this hasn’t changed as M2P services begin to be rolled out. Unfortunately, this leaves smaller businesses dependent on Fujifilm/Whitech software even further behind in the race than Fuji’s Big Two.

For the company which the photo industry relies on for innovation in photo services to fall so far behind leaves the door wide open for other businesses like digital printers to move in. On the iTunes store, the Harvey Norman app has a low rating of 2.5 stars, while Big W gets just 1.5 stars.

By comparison, some of the apps coming out of the printing-affiliated providors rate 4.5 and 5 stars.

Retailers anxious to tap into the M2P market but waiting for the Fujifilm Imagine Mobile solution to become available could be disappointed in the length of wait, and the quality of what they end up with.

Kodak has not rolled out a smartphone app in Australia but in the US has an iPhone app which sends orders to Target (US). (Soon for an Officeworks store near you?)

Reader Comment addedJust to put things in perspective, Kodak do have an app for Apple and Android for the transfer of files to the kiosks. Our customers love it, and it works well. The only way we get files off iPhones with Whitech is via a cable and its as slow as hell. –  Alan Logue, Hutt St Photos.

Lifepics (partnered in Australia by Photo Direct) is more advanced in smartphone apps than others focussed on the photo retailing sector, with a ‘white label’ app for both iPhone (3.5 star customer rating) and Android, which points customers towards the nearest Lifepics-affiliated retailer, while Ted’s Cameras has its own branded version of the Lifepics app (although you won’t find it easily from the Ted’s website).

The six apps tested were Moonpig (iPhone, Android), Touchnote (iPhone, iPad, Android), Australia Post Postcards app (iPhone only); Picture Postie (iPhone only) which competes directly with photo retail services and gets a 5-star rating; Fujifilm-Harvey Norman (iPhone, Android just released); and its clone Fujifilm-Big W (iPhone and Android just released).

Touchnote, Australia Post Postcard and Moonpig all offer the user the ability to add a postcard-like message to the printed photo and have a sensibly higher price.

To access the Proprint article, click here.


7 thoughts on “Fujifilm app-challenged, says print mag

  1. Just to put things in perspective, Kodak do have an app for Apple and Android for the transfer of files to the kiosks. Our customers love it, and it works well.
    The only way we get files off iPhones with Whitech is via a cable and its as slow as hell

  2. Alan is right that the Kodak kiosk software initiatives work well in store. In fact a huge success.
    Pretty well there are two options. There is a free app for Android and iPhone which enables users to order specific prints easily. This works with a wireless dongle in the back of the kiosk.
    The other option, which I actually prefer as a retailer, is a direct cable solution where the customer plugs the iPhone in and all of their images come up. This takes a little longer but they order more prints.

    I am amazed that Kodak have been able to continue to develop these initiatives through their current troubles and are clearly world leaders. Whoever is running this part of the business and has driven the updates through should be running the whole thing!

    • Pleased to see the two yellow boys are still yellow 🙂 Now only if Kodak had of got it’s act together their kiosks would run on other than Kodak output systems, like the other majors!

      We did try, had the Kodak kiosk delivered, still have half of it taking up space here!

  3. Yellow boys or not, isn’t it interesting that so far only Kodak has a simple workable solution! Sure it might only be for their own system, and supported equipment, but it’s out there.
    Odd that the great green machine can’t do it, and yet they “supposedly” dominate the industry!

  4. Great article, here in NZ the app from Kodak has been very well received and we are using for phone backups as well as generating print orders. I would be brave enough to say that this has been the best thing come out of Kodak for sometime, keep it up.

  5. 3 years on and both apps are still crap! Can’t get either of them to even open up.
    Feeling incredibly frustrated. Is this why they offer such cheap printing because no one can even get them??!

  6. To Alan, yes you are right…they dominate the Mass merchants offering 9 cent prints! Why they are still supported by the few independents out there i will never know!
    To PG, I agree! Kodak should open their system up to print on anything. They should also introduce a dual input via app or via cable as many cannot remember their apple passwords. Unfortunately Kodak believe that its one whole supply and selling kiosks to opposition stores will not sell paper for them………short sighted as usual…..because it just might!
    What’s that old saying……if you keep doing the same things…..

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