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Get photos off your camera phone

Alltel's new PhotoCopter service saves photos to your home computer and online photo services.

Though carriers have loosened some of the reins in the last couple of years, it still can be a tricky process to get photos off your camera phone. The most common method, sending your snaps as a multimedia message to an e-mail address, costs money. Sure, you can offset individual messaging fees with a messaging plan, but that too will add a few dollars to your monthly bill. A Bluetooth file transfer is a better (and free) option, but you'll need Bluetooth on both ends. Also, up until recently some carriers restricted Bluetooth use so they wouldn't lose out on messaging fees.

But while the restrictions are no longer the case, we're always fans of more choice and Alltel yesterday announced a new option for managing your camera phone photos. Select Alltel phones now will offer a new service from Ontela called PhotoCopter. When you take a photo, PhotoCopter will automatically save a copy of the image to your home computer and online photo albums such as Photobucket, Flickr, Blogger, and Snapfish.

Sound convenient? Well, it is in a way. If you're an avid shutterbug and love to save your snaps for posterity, PhotoCopter can save you a bit of work. According to Alltel, it requires 100 keystrokes to transfer 10 pictures to a computer. That may seem to be a bit of a trivial comparison, except then you're talking about a hundred photos.

It might even save you money as well. Though PhotoCopter is $2.99 per month, that's three dollars less than Alltel's cheapest messaging plan for 300 messages a month. While you can always transfer photos with cell phone syncing software and a data cable, that method sort of defeats the purpose of being wireless.

We have to gripe that PhotoCopter is available only on the Motorola Razr2 V9m, the Motorola Rokr Z6m and Alltel's versions of the aging Razr V3. That leaves out nifty handsets such as the LG Glimmer. Hopefully, we'll see support for more models soon.