RealTime IT News

Industry Players Shoot For 'Camera to Printer' Standard

The push for an open industry standard that would enable consumers to print digital photos directly from their printers, bypassing the PC entirely, has gained significant industry support from Hewlett-Packard , Canon, Inc. , Fuji Photo Film Company , Sony Corporation , Olympus Optical Company, and Seiko Epson Corp.

The six digital imaging power players have been major advocates and developers of a proposed standard called "DPS."

DPS was developed to provide compatibility among different brands of digital cameras and printers and enable consumer to continue to mix-and-match brand names while maintaining a streamlined printing process between digital camera and printer.

Currently, each digital camera manufacturer relies on its own proprietary solution for direct printing without a PC middleman. The challenge has been that very few consumers own one single brand and typically rely on a cross-section of brand names for their home/office imaging needs.

Currently in a .9 version, DPS was developed for USB as a physical transport, using Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) as its transfer protocol. PTP was developed by the International Imaging Industry Association as a standard for image file transfer between digital cameras and PCs.

The implementation of the DPS open standard via a USB cable connecting the digital camera and printer will enable consumers to directly print images displayed on the digital camera, print an index of stored images, print part of the image by specifying the clip area, print multiple copies of a single image, or specify the size of the print.

Additionally, printer status information would be displayed on digital camera interface, including printing progress, printer errors, and when the printing process is ended.

"Digital imaging is just now experiencing a boom," said Ramon Garrido, director of imaging and standards technology for HP. "Today there is still an opportunity to get digital camera consumers to print and we want to make it a habit. We need to make it easy for them to behave this way by getting leading industry players to agree on the standard and adopt it in order to make a bigger market impact in the home printing market."

According to Garrido, DPS 1.0 will be released for industry approval sometime in February 2003. To assure that DPS is presented in an open adoption manner, the specification will be published openly on a pre-determined Website where competing companies are encouraged to implement the specification in their products.

Since the companies supporting DPS hold significant market share in the digital camera and home printing space, there is extreme likelihood that DPS will soon become the de factor standard for many digital products, said Garrido.

However, the projected date when DPS-enabled imaging products will show up on the market is still undetermined, said Garrido, although it could be as early as the end of 2003.