Eastman Kodak and UK-based Bullitt Group yesterday announced a new smartphone which capitalizes on image-making. The 21-megapixel Kodak Ektra comes with a 6-axis optically stabilized f/2 front camera which sports a 26.5mm equivalent lens and uses a 1/2.4-inch Sony Exmor RS IMX230 sensor.
The phone's physical design evokes old manual film cameras. The Ektra is covered with a dark leatherette and features a prominently placed two-step shutter button with Kodak's iconic "K" etched into it. Its software user interface, on the other hand, is patterned after something today's smartphone photographers will likely be more familiar with: a DSLR mode dial. The touchscreen dial has haptic feedback and includes the option to switch the phone into manual, as well as a bokeh mode.
The Ektra's secondary front-facing camera has an aperture of f/2.2 and a resolving power of 13 megapixels. The phone sports a 5-inch IPS screen with 1920x1080 resolution, a 3000 mAh battery, 3 GB of RAM, a Helio X-20 Decacore processor, and 32 GB of built-in memory. Memory can be expanded via microSD cards.
The phone is charged via USB-C 3.0 port and powered by Google's ubiquitous Android operating system. It runs Android 6.0 without modifications except for a Kodak camera app in place of Google's stock application and will be upgradeable to newer versions. The Ektra's camera app also integrates Snapseed image editing software and Kodak ordering software for photo prints. The phone shoots video in 4K resolution. Kodak includes filters to simulate Super 8, vignettes, and the grain and looks of some of its classic films.
Pricing and Availability
Priced at €499/£449, the Kodak Ektra will be available in Europe by December. A U.S. launch is planned for the spring of 2017. Available accessories for the phone include a leather bag reminiscent of the Eveready cases that were sold for mid-20th-century film cameras in either black or brown (priced at €70), and a leather slip case (€35).
It stands to reason that Kodak hopes its Ektra camera phone will do better than both its first foray into smartphone design, 2014's lackluster IM5, as well as its 1940s namesake 35mm camera: despite pioneering technical innovations, such as a parallax-compensated finder and lever film advance, the 1941 Ektra, priced at a stout $700, failed in the marketplace and proved to be an unreliable design.