Imaging company Kodak has announced the launch of the Kodak Ektra, a new Android smartphone specifically designed for photography enthusiasts. The handset will launch in Europe for £449/€499 (around U.S. $547) this December with the possibility of a release in the United States depending on market demand.
Kodak enlisted Bullitt to manufacture the Ektra handset which is clad in leather, glass and metal materials. Bullitt is known for making the CAT S60 Android smartphone. The handset distinguishes itself by having a curved grip at the bottom and a dedicated shutter button to make the handset look and function like a traditional camera. This makes the handset quite thick at 9.69 millimeters.
The circular camera lens on the back is huge, but it’s only housing a small 21-megapixel Sony IMX230 sensor. That is a bit of a letdown considering that this is primarily aimed for photographers. It would have been more impressive if it had a 41-megapixel sensor like the ones found on the Nokia Lumia 1020, as pointed out by ArsTechnica. There's also no support for interchangable lenses which will be bummer for a lot of photogs.
What the Kodak Ektra camera has is an f/2.0 lens, 6-axis optical image stabilization, phase detect autofocus with support for HDR and 4K video recording. Up front, it has a 13-megapixel camera that has an f/2.2 lens.
On the software side, Kodak made an effort to bring in a lot of features for its own custom camera app. There’s a Scene Selection Dial which allows users to change photography modes. It looks like a digital version of mode dials found on DSLR cameras. The camera app also has Snapseed integrated into it, allowing users to add filters and make edits right on the app itself.
In addition, the Ektra will have a widget on its home screen with Kodak’s recommended photography apps like VSCO, Prisma and Adobe Lightroom. There’s also Kodak’s Prints app which allows users to order physical prints of their photos.
As for the smartphone part of the Kodak Ektra, it comes with a 5-inch full HD display, MediaTek Helio X-20 processor, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The handset also comes with microSD card support for 128GB cards and a quick charging 3,000 mAh battery.
The handset runs near-stock Android 6.0 Marshmallow experience. No word yet if it will get Android 7.0 Nougat update, but Bullitt said that it would deliver timely security updates from Google, according to Engadget.
The Ektra is Kodak’s second attempt at capturing the smartphone market; the first being the IM5 which was released back in 2014. The problem with this new handset is that there are numerous other smartphones in the market with pretty capable cameras and more affordable price tags. Perhaps Kodak is hoping to draw in the photography crowd by offering an Android smartphone that looks and feels like an actual camera.
Although Kodak will only launch the Ektra in Europe this December, a U.S. launch is planned but will depend on market demand. The company is hoping for a U.S. launch for spring 2017, according to Fstoppers.