Sprint believes its Sprint PCS Picture Mail is the first retail photo-printing service "to be offered directly from the cell phone" rather than requiring customers topictures to a personal computer before printing.
The Sprint service is part of an overall push by all wireless operators to find new revenue sources as the amount of money each earns from voice calls slips due to vicious price wars. That effort, however, has so far met with relatively limited success. Last year, cell phone users generated $86 billion in worldwide revenues by making phone calls but justdownloading games, ring tones and other nonvoice services that carriers offer.
But photography using cell phones has emerged in the last two years as a surprisingly successful new service. Jill Aldort, a consultant with InfoTrends, predicts consumers will print a quarter of the camera phone photos that they take over the next four years.
Sprint is making the service possible by partnering with Fujifilm, which is expanding its move into the mobile phone market. The Sprint deal is just one of several major partnerships the manufacturer has with cellular carriers in addition to handset makers Nokia, NEC and others, Fujifilm said in a statement.