At this year’s Oscars, Billy Crystal took the time to point out that the assembled magisterial Hollywood elite were packed into the “Chapter 11” theater — a jab at the fact that Kodak had recently filed for bankruptcy. The company, one of the pioneers of modern consumer photography, has been having a rough patch, and that’s why it was a surprise to see such them release such an innovative social Android application last week.
The best way to describe the application, called “Kodak Gallery” is to give you a case study. Imagine you’re at a concert and you have a bunch of friends there. You get split up because the band is crazy and you’re not interested in being in the AAA mosh pit near the front of the stage — you stay back and snap a few pics. At a quick intermission, you all load up Kodak Gallery and upload your photos, and you guys are all in a private social network where you can share your different experiences of the show. It’s a good idea.
The application is actually a port of an iPhone version of the app, which has been reasonably successful. The question is whether the application will get traction in the face of competing photo apps on Android. On the iPhone, the big competitor is Instagram and Kodak still managed to get 500,000+ downloads, and seeing as how Instagram isn’t available on Android yet, this may be a great opportunity for Kodak. That said, Instagram does some amazing work with photos that Kodak’s gallery does not, while Instagram also has social features. Success for Photo Gallery will depend on Kodak’s ability to evolve.