Ultimate Electronics files for bankruptcy protection

Bloomberg reports Ultimate Electronics Inc., Thornton, Colo., the operator of 46 home-entertainment and electronics stores, filed for bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware.  The company listed both assets and debt in the range of $100 million to $500 million. An affiliate, CC Retail LLC, also sought protection.

Sony to launch dual-camera PSP

Sony PlayStation Portable

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., Tokyo, Japan, announced its next generation portable entertainment system  — codename: NGP — will  debut at the end of the year 2011. The device will offer both Wi-Fi and 3G network connectivity, and will have two cameras.

Sony PlayStation Portable

New Sony PlayStation Portable sports two cameras

NGP incorporates a multi-touch 5-inch OLED as the front display and a high-performance CPU/GPU to offer “striking graphics.” The new system also incorporates a multi-touch pad on the rear, and together with the front touch display, NGP offers new game play allowing users to interact directly with games in three dimension-like motion, through “touch, grab, trace, push and pull” moves of the fingers.

For the first time, a portable entertainment system will feature two analog sticks, which enable a wider range of game genres to be brought into the portable experience.

NGP will also come equipped with two cameras on its front and rear, as well as three motion sensors, gyroscope, accelerometer and electronic compass, all of which are designed to enable users to enjoy the world of entertainment that is linked with real life experiences.

Canon profit drops for quarter, but full-year profits are up

Canon Inc., Tokyo, Japan, reported quarterly profit declined 12 percent. Net profit for the October-December quarter was 54 billion yen ($657 million). Quarterly sales rose 11.9 percent year-on-year to 1.07 trillion yen, thanks to steady global demand for laser printers and high-end digital cameras.

For the 2010 calendar year, Canon’s net profit increased 87.3 percent to 246.6 billion yen with revenue up 15.5 percent at 3.7 trillion yen.

In memoriam: Hedy Gaetano

Hedy Gaetano, wife of Ralph Gaetano of Think Inc., West Mifflin, Pa., died Jan. 24 after battling cancer. She passed away at a hospice in Bradenton, Fla., where she and  Ralph, her husband of 50 years, spent the winter months. She was 73.

Gaetano was born in Munich, Germany, where she trained as a tailor and apprenticed in her father’s shop. Afterward, she went to work for the Simplicity pattern company, traveling throughout Europe designing outfits for fashion shows.

Gaetano is survived by her husband; sons Ricky, Ralph and Mark; daughter, Linda Lytle; and six grandchildren.

A funeral is being held at noon Monday in St. Germaine Church, 7003 Baptist Road, Bethel Park.

Memorial contributions can be made to Family Hospice and Palliative Care in Mt. Lebanon or to Tidewell Hospice in Bradenton, Fla. Condolences may be sent to Ralph Gaetano at 7033 Dumbarton Place, Bethel Park, PA 15102.

Lockerz purchases Plixi (formerly TweetPhoto)

Lockerz, Seattle, Wash., a members-only social commerce website with nearly 18 million members worldwide, announced the acquisition of Plixi (formerly TweetPhoto), a service enabling users to instantly share photos via mobile devices and the Web. With this acquisition, now-rechristened “Lockerz Photos” will create a preeminent media sharing platform and content destination, leveraging combined traffic of more than 31 million unique visitors per month, the company claims.

“We share Plixi’s social approach to media sharing,” says Kathy Savitt, founder and CEO of Lockerz. “The acquisition enables Lockerz to offer its millions of members the most social and easy-to-use photo sharing experience, as well as introduce millions of Plixi customers to Lockerz’ interactive, engaging and rewarding site features, including e-commerce, music and videos.”

Lockerz is backed by Liberty Media Corporation and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

On the DIMAcast: HP’s new way to put pictures on your wall

At the DIMA Annual Conference last year, HP’s Vyomesh Joshi spoke about new applications for prints, including HP’s  customizable wall paper. HP released the first product in this line in November, featuring characters from Nickelodeon, like Spongebob, iCarly and Dora the Explorer. On this episode of the DIMAcast, Benjamin Matlock, product manager, HP Imaging and Printing Group, talks about the new product as it is today, and how HP will develop it further — including an option, coming soon, for consumers to create wall paper from their own images.

Fujifilm returns to profit in third quarter

Fujifilm Holdings Corp., Tokyo, Japan, reported a net profit of 18.10 billion yen during the fiscal third quarter ended in December, compared to a loss of 1.58 billion yen in the prior year.

Sales fell 1.5 percent to 462.63 billion yen from 469.45 billion yen, but cost reductions enabled operating profit to grow nearly sixfold to 36.60 yen billion.

CPI enters wedding market with Bella Pictures acquisition

CPI Corp., St. Louis, Mo., acquired substantially all of the assets of Bella Pictures Inc., a San Francisco, Calif.-based provider of branded photojournalistic-style wedding  photography and videography services. Bella Pictures offers services in most major U.S. markets, CPI said, through a network of nearly 1,000 certified photographers and videographers.

“We are very excited to enter the $6 billion dollar wedding photography and videography industry and significantly expand our mobile photography operations,” says David Meyer, chairman, CPI. “CPI’s strong digital capabilities and infrastructure combined with Bella’s outstanding customer service skills and extensive wedding experience will allow us to provide exceptional value to brides across a wide spectrum of offerings and price points.”

In memoriam: Stanley Nycz

Stanley Nycz, International Camera Repair Ltd., Toronto, Ontario, passed away on Monday. He was 75. He leaves his wife, Kathy Lidia; son Robert; siblings Joe, Mieczyslaw, John.

Nokia announces 2010 results

Nokia of Espoo, Finland, announced sales of Euro 42.4 billion (US-$ 58.1 billion) for 2010, a 4 percent increase compared with the previous year. Sales of the company’s Devices & Services business increased to Euro 29.1 billion (US-$ 39.9 billion), a plus of 5 percent, while net sales of NAVTEQ increased 50 percent to Euro 1.002 billion (US-$ 1.37 billion), and sales of Nokia Siemens Networks reached Euro 12.7 billion (US-$ 17.4 billion), a plus of 1 percent.

According to a press release, Nokia’s operating profit reached Euro 2.17 billion (US-$ 2.84 billion), a plus of 73 percent compared with 2009, resulting in a net profit of Euro 1.343 billion (US-$ 1.84 billion), compared with a profit of Euro 260 million (US-$ 353.5 million) in 2009. The Board of Directors will propose a dividend of Euro 0.40 (US-$ 0.55) to the company’s Annual General Meeting. The company’s net sales and profitability benefited from improved economic and financial conditions following the significant deterioration in demand during the second half of 2008 and 2009, the company said. Intensified competition, however, had a negative impact on Nokia’s Devices & Services business, which was also affected in the second half of 2010 by shortages of certain components. Sales of mobile phones declined by 5 percent to Euro 14.35 billion (US-$ 19.67 billion) in 2010, while the turnover with converged mobile devices including smartphones and mobile computers increased 17 percent to Euro 14.8 billion (US-$ 20.3 billion). In terms of volume, Nokia sold 352.6 million mobile phones in 2010 (- 3 percent) and 100.3 million converged mobile devices (+ 48 percent). The company’s market share declined from 34 percent in 2009 to 32 percent in 2010.