Kodak used to be a global brand when it comes to photography. But recent years have seen the company go through a series of struggles. About three years ago, it fought through possible bankruptcy, essentially refusing to throw in the towel as its film business becomes less and less relevant in the age of digital photography. But now, it is venturing into smartphones, but never forgetting that the brand is still all about cameras.
After releasing the IM5 in 2015, Kodak is introducing Ektra this year. The smartphone is actually named after Kodak’s 1941 rangefinder, as well as the 110 film camera range that became popular in the 1970s, and is designed to resemble a camera, well, those old school types anyway. Its rear side is covered with a dark, artificial leather material, with a grip that curves a bit to one side, plus a dedicated shutter button on the top section. There is also a protruding lens on the back, which actually houses a 21 megapixel Sony sensor (IMX230) underneath.
Now to the specifications. The Ektra is fitted with a MediaTek Helio X20 2.3 GigaHertz chip, aided by 3 gigabytes of random access memory (RAM) as well as 32 gigabytes of built in memory, expandable by way of a micro SD card slot. Apart from the 21 megapixel camera on the rear side mentioned earlier, Kodak’s latest smartphone offering also offers a 13 megapixel camera on the front side. Other features include USB Type C compatibility, a 3,000 mAh battery, and Google’s Android 6.0 Marshmallow mobile operating system.
Back to the camera -- Kodak knows cameras best and it certainly wants the Ektra to attract users who are into photography. But this should prove challenging, considering that most high profile smartphone releases of today typically come with very high quality camera specs. To deal with this, the company has acquired the services of none other than Bullitt, a sort of mobile device maker for hire. The result is that the Ektra comes with a camera mobile app that offers a digital Scene Selection Dial feature that provides users access to various photography modes such as Manual, Landscape, Sports, Macro, and more.
Kodak is looking to release the Ektra in the European market before the end of this year. The company has not confirmed yet if or when the smartphone will be coming to the United States, but a spokesperson for Kodak has hinted that it may all depend on the demand. Realistically speaking, the Ektra will not be giving iPhones and Galaxy devices a run for their money, but it may be able to drum up interest from hardcore photography enthusiasts familiar with the brand.
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