Disposable digital cameras

Peterv, Tristan and I, the three mohicans, had lunch together last week and we spent a few cycles discussing the Slashdot entry about disposable digital cameras. The post was about a way to use and reuse those cameras, including software to download the images from the internal CF card. Disposable you said?

But the interesting part of the discussion was really about the success or failure of disposable digital cameras in general. My personal opinion is that it's going to be a commercial flop (passed the first months of interest for a new geeky thing) because of the following points:

  1. the coolness factor: people want to have a digital camera because it's cool to see immediately the photo you have taken, because it's cool to show others that you are looking at the LCD screen of a nice object, because it's cool to erase the last photo you took if the camera is not able to counterbalance the fact you're a lame photographer. But those disposable digital cameras have no LCD screen, then no button to erase the last picture.
  2. the cost. $10 to buy a camera, $10 more to develop the pictures. But there is no chemical process involved any more, the images are printed so where's the price incentive compared to normal photography since even 3.2 megapixels images from a Canon G2 are still far behind in terms of quality?
  3. the cameras have USB but the connector is not the regular USB connector. So average users are not able to download images on a PC.

Imagine Mr Smith. Taking his children to the Zoo in San Diego. Damn, he forgot again the digital camera on the table in the living-room. Ah, cool, he can buy a disposable digital cam. But he needs to print the pictures for $10 to get a CD with the images??? Come on, that's not what he wants, he wants a really cheap disposable camera with a Write-Once-Only memory that he links to his PC when he is back home! And if he really likes one of the pictures, he is going to print it himself or use an online service to get it printed.

I think the disposable digital cameras concept as it is today is bad because it tries to adapt the 24x36 model to the digital world. No disruption.