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Software for Web photo sales

Using HP's OpenPix on the PowerPics site, customers can preview digital images from different angles and distances before purchasing.

PhotoDisc will begin using Hewlett-Packard's OpenPix imaging server software on its PowerPics Web site, the two companies announced today.

PowerPics sells digital photos via download to Web developers and small businesses who want to add photographs to their Web sites or brochures. Using OpenPix on the PowerPics site, customers can preview digital images from different angles and distances before purchasing. The images are priced between $4.95 and $8.95.

In the past, digital photography has been criticized for requiring overly expensive equipment and lacking practical applications. Software that enables digital photography as a business application is an important first step in the mass acceptance of the technology, analysts say.

HP's OpenPix imaging software allows users to access additional information about digital images on Web sites by zooming in and out of photographs and offering higher picture resolution.

The software has been used previously on an internal Web site for clothing designer Liz Claiborne, to offer detailed digital images of fabrics and garments. The PowerPics application of OpenPix is the first e-commerce application of the software, according to Charles Var, a spokesman for HP.

HP is offering OpenPix server software for free download to Web developers. The software is available in both Unix and Windows NT versions.

"By opening this up to a broader audience, HP is promoting better imaging on the Internet," said Var.