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Drugstore begins selling disposable camcorder

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From Cnet:

By  Reuters

CVS on Monday began selling a disposable digital camcorder which the No. 2 U.S. drugstore chain hopes will boost its photo lab business and be as popular as the single-use film and digital cameras.

The $29.99 pocket-size camcorder was developed by Pure Digital Technologies, a San Francisco-based start-up company.

Jonathan Kaplan, chief executive of Pure Digital, said the camcorder's launch made CVS the nation's first retailer to offer such a camcorder but it would eventually be distributed widely as other retailers sign up to sell it under their own store brand.

The camcorder weighs under 5 ounces and holds 20 minutes of digital video and sound. It features a 1.4 inch color playback screen and an ability to delete video, and it saves video on a memory chip instead of tapes but it has no zooming capability.

"Not only is this product for the average Joe, but more importantly, it's simple and easy to use even for someone who has an expensive camcorder they don't want to bring to their fishing trip," said Kaplan.

After shooting, customers have to return the recyclable camcorder to their local CVS stores and its contents would then be transferred onto a DVD disc to view and share for a $12.99 processing fee.

CVS, based in Woonsocket, R.I., said the camcorder debuted at more than 1,400 stores but its availability would be boosted to more than 4,500 stores by June 26.

Single-use film and digital cameras have been cited by analysts as among key drivers of repeat visits to stores, helping traditional photo processors like drugstores and supermarkets mitigate the effects of a declining film market.

The camcorder is manufactured in China and the memory chip is supplied by Samsung Electronics, the world's largest memory chipmaker.

The one-time-use camera category has grown to 218 million units annually and is expected to account for 38 percent of total film volume in the United States this year, according to Mike Wolf, director of digital photography trends at market research firm, InfoTrends/CAP Ventures.

"A simple and affordable one-time use digital camcorder," he said in a statement, "could spur growth in the digital video market in a similar way."

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