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Kodak, partners shoot for photo format

Eastman Kodak and computer companies are teaming up to produce a format that will make it easier to manipulate and share digital photographs.

Eastman Kodak and several computer industry leaders are teaming up to produce a new file format that will make it easier for shutterbugs to manipulate and share digital photographs over the Internet, the Associated Press reported today.

Kodak has teamed with Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Canon, and Live Picture--headed by former Apple chief John Sculley--to form a strategy for bringing digital photography to the masses.

The new format, to be unveiled at the next Comdex trade show in June, will make it easier to work with high-resolution images on a computer and across the Internet without requiring additional memory, bigger hard drives, or faster processors, Kodak CEO George Fisher said.

At the same time, Kodak plans to release new digital camera models for under $350. Low-resolution digital cameras from Kodak currently sell for about $600.

Several image file formats already exist, often using compression technology to reduce the digital size of images but at the expense of image resolution. For example, the JPEG format is widely used to compress images before sending them over the Net, but it is not recommended for high-contrast, black-and-white photos. The new Kodak format is reportedly derived from technology used for Live Picture's photo workstations.