How many pictures are stored in your cell phone? It’s a rhetorical question, but I can speculate that there are a bunch. Camera phones aren’t new, but until recently the picture quality, well for lack of a better description, sucked. Three years ago I took a picture of Bill Cosby and not one single person who I showed it to could tell it was him.
Still, I do take pictures with my camera phone and I have been searching for a better solution. I tried posting the photos on the phone company’s site, but that required me to have to go to their web address to view them. One day, I went to see my pictures and they were gone, timed out. Next, I tried emailing them to myself (and others) and while that worked, I was paying the phone company for the privilege of sending myself an email of pictures to store or print. Of course the photos sucked anyway, so why even bother?
Nowadays, the cameras in cell phones have improved and the pictures aren’t half bad. In fact, there are some of us in the technology community who think someday your phone and a good camera will be the same device. Still, getting those pictures out of your phone is a challenge.
Until now, I haven’t been happy with any solution… yes, I still use my camera phone because many times it’s the only camera I have on me. As a seeker of solutions, I was optimistic when Teleprint sent me the LG VX9900 with Verizon service. It’s one of the newer phones that house a decent two megapixel camera. Teleprint is a service that presently is only available to Verizon customers and they have a relationship with Walgreens. With the Teleprint option you can send the pictures to Walgreen and they develop/print them.
So, I’m walking around with the VX9900 and taking pictures. Now, I am ready to send them off to Teleprint. I open the menu and go to an icon that says “Get it Now”. Then, I scroll down to the Teleprint icon. The welcome screen opens and I have the choice of sending the pictures to the Walgreens nearest me, or to have them printed and sent back to me, friends or family through the mail (US postal service). The next screen has the main menu and from there you have “New Order”, address book settings and Teleprint credits. Teleprint credits costs $1.99 each and that’s the cost of sending the pictures, no matter how many. I asked Teleprint the reason for this cost and it is twofold. They charge a fee up front because they have operating charge and also to cover themselves in case the pictures aren’t picked up.
Next choice is “Print Destination.” You can either pick up at Walgreens or have the pictures mailed. After that, I select the images I want to print and how many prints per shot. Then I pick the Walgreens location where I want to pick-up my pictures and I send them off.
Having done that, I wait the required hour and head out in the pouring rain to pick them up. They weren’t ready, but the store had received the email. I was told that they would be ready in three hours and to come back then. When I came back three hours later they were ready, so I paid .19 cents a picture plus tax and they pony up my pictures. I must admit, it has been awhile since I’ve picked pictures up from the drug store, but the prints were fine. The quality of the 4×6 prints is defined by your camera phone and what settings you use. If you take them at 1280×1024, you’ll get a print at that same resolution. Besides taking pictures on the phone there is another option, importing pictures to your phone. If you have a memory card slot then you can import any pictures to your phone and then send them to be processed.
Sounds pretty straight ahead so I’m thinking, what are the cool apps for this service? Let’s presume you’re traveling and you want to use the camera phone as your vacation camera. You can take a bunch of pictures and when your memory is full you can send them off to be developed. Once sent you can delete them and free up your phone’s memory. Then, you can have them mailed to your house or pick them up. Assuming you have a good camera in your phone this could be a very efficient way to cut down on equipment and the chargers that we take with us. At this point, this is only a snap shot solution but it could develop into a good thing.