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Logo courtesy of Sprint, modified by Shawn Barnett Sprint PictureMail manageable from Sanyo MM-5600
(Sunday, February 27, 2005 - 15:59 EST)

We don't spend a lot of time on camera phones here at Imaging Resource, but every once in awhile a company does something we recognize as interesting, and relevant to the digital photography industry overall.

Sprint PCS's expanded PictureMail online service is just such a product, offering easy organization of not just photos taken with the camera phone, but all digital photos on a user's home computer. The integration goes further, with EPSON joining in to provide a print-at-home solution.

To enable this functionality, Sprint has placed the Samsung MM-5600 as the central hub, because it integrates a camera that is both video and still picture capable, offers a processor that can handle both streaming video and streaming MP3 music, and offers a web browser for managing PictureMail online print content. This phone's feature set is impressive, with voice recording, a miniSD card, Walkie-talkie and Speakerphone capability, voice activated dialing, a 320 x 240 color TFT screen, and a stereo headphone jack. Perhaps most impressive for people like us, however, is its USB port. This allows the MM-5600 to do far more. It's a flash drive (saving to the miniSD card), a media player (voice, music, and video), and it connects directly to a PictBridge printer.

Have a picture on your phone you want to print out? Go to the nearest PictBridge printer, connect your cable (which you have to have with you) and go for it. Have a shot you took with your higher quality digital camera that resides on your PictureMail account on the Sprint server? You can download and print that too, if you have enough space, or else email it to someone direct from your phone. They snapped a photo of me at PMA and had it printed in about a minute via direct PictBridge connection to an EPSON PictureMate. It was pixelated, but not bad at all.

The MM-5600 actually has two color screens, with a 1.1 inch viewable without even opening the device. Assign a photo with a person's caller information, and their face will appear when they call.

Despite all the functionality, we're not going to say that the 1.3 megapixel camera is a digital camera replacement, and we doubt Sanyo or Sprint would assert anything like that. The real news is their major strides in making the pictures we snap with our camera phones that much more usable and accessible.

A USB port on a cameraphone. It's about time. Managing and viewing our online collection of pictures from a phone that can display them with reasonable clarity and color? Not a bad idea at all.

Original Source Press Release:

Sprint PCS Vision(SM) Multimedia Phone MM-5600 by Sanyo Captures High Honor by Digital Imaging Marketing Association

CHATSWORTH, CA. - 02/24/2005

The Sprint PCS Vision Multimedia Phone MM-5600 by Sanyo was selected out of the hundreds of digital products on display at the Photo Marketing Association 2005 Convention and Trade show in Orlando, Fla, to receive the prestigious DIMA (Digital Imaging Marketing Association) Innovative Digital Product Award. The award is presented by DIMA based on a comprehensive evaluation by a blue-ribbon panel of digital imaging editors and writers.

An Innovative Digital Product of PMA 2005 was defined by the judges as a product utilizing new technologies and/or applications in such a way as to make it either unique or the first of its kind. The MM-5600 by Sanyo was introduced in the United States as Sanyo's first 1.3-megapixel camera phone with flash, digital zoom and macro setting for capturing close-ups, and a video camcorder for catching special moments. The device comes packaged with a 16MB removable miniSD memory card and adapter, and USB cable for printing photos directly from the phone to any PictBridge-enabled printer.

The miniSD card enhances the many features of the MM-5600 by offering a simple, portable way to store high-resolution images, video clips and music files. The files on the card can be easily downloaded to a PC for backup. With the included adapter, the miniSD card can be used to easily exchange data with select SD-compatible devices, such as card readers, photo kiosks, digital cameras and other devices.

The built-in 1.3-megapixel camera with flash, digital zoom and macro settings for snapping close-ups captures photos with resolution quality to make very good 4 in. x 6 in. prints. The MM-5600 by Sanyo features a QVGA-resolution TFT LCD screen. The 260,000-color screen and 240 x 320 resolution provide sharp detail of objects when viewing videos, photos, games and other images on the phone.

In accepting the award, Andy Kodera, group vice president and general manager of Sanyo Fisher Company's Wireless Communications Division, commented, "In today's highly competitive digital photo marketplace, it is a tremendous honor that the MM-5600 is recognized as an innovative digital imaging product." Kodera added, "This is a third prestigious award for our handsets in recent months." Sanyo ranks "Highest In Overall Customer Satisfaction With Wireless Mobile Phones", according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2004 U.S. Wireless Mobile Phone Evaluation Study(SM)*. In addition, the Sanyo MM-7400 Multimedia phone was named an Innovations 2005 Design and Engineering Showcase honoree in the Wireless Communications category. Innovations 2005 is the Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) prestigious competition that honors product excellence in Design and Engineering.

*J.D. Power and Associates 2004 U.S. Wireless Phone Evaluation Study(SM) is based on responses from 13,458 U.S. households that have owned their current wireless phone for less than two years. For more information, visit www.jdpower.com.  

About Sanyo
Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. (NASDAQ: SANYY) is a $24 billion manufacturer and distributor of consumer and commercial electronics, including multimedia and telecommunication products. Based in Chatsworth, California, Sanyo Fisher Company (a division of Sanyo North America Corporation, a subsidiary of Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.) markets PCS phones, audio systems, portable and mobile electronics, televisions, DVD players/recorders, dictation devices, digital camera/camcorder combinations, home appliances, LCD projectors, security video equipment and air conditioning systems.

For more information, visit Sanyo Wireless Communications online at www.sanyowireless.com.  

About Sprint
Sprint offers an extensive range of innovative communication products and solutions, including global IP, wireless, local and multiproduct bundles. A Fortune 100 company with more than $27 billion in annual revenues in 2004, Sprint is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying state-of-the-art network technologies, including the United States' first nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network; an award-winning Tier 1 Internet backbone; and one of the largest 100-percent digital, nationwide wireless networks in the United States. For more information, visit www.sprint.com/mr.

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