Requiem for Photoshop Touch: an app users loved or hated

Adobe Touch

— by Hans Hartman

Adobe Photoshop TouchAdobe announced here that it will discontinue Photoshop Touch, its comprehensive photo editing app, as part of a strategy to release apps with narrower use cases, such as Photoshop Mix (compositing), Photoshop Sketch (drawing), Adobe Shape (bitmap-to-vector conversion), and the soon-to-be-released Rigel, for retouching.

Customer Feedback
Let’s look at what Photoshop Touch users thought of the app. We did a qualitative analysis of 125 iTunes reviews in March of 2013, back in the heydays of Photoshop Touch for iPad (the iPhone and Android versions came out later), as part of an analysis of the potential for tablet-specific photo apps (although dated, there might still be valuable takeaways in the white paper; you can download it here).

Three things stood out:

  • Photoshop Touch’s overall user ratings were low (3.5), as was the case for some other well-known and not “mobile-first” brands that struggled to make their mark in the app world (Shutterfly for iPad was even lower, at 2.5).
  • “Features” were an important factor as to why some liked Photoshop Touch and others didn’t. They liked the features because there were so many of them – not unlike Photoshop on the desktop. They didn’t like the features because they were hard to master and, most importantly, because retina support was missing at the time. Telling for the perceived complexity of the app was that quite a few reviews blamed Adobe’s tutorials for their struggles, e.g. “The app is fantastic if you know how to use it. But if you do not and try to follow the tutorials, you will just end up confused and frustrated. Please improve the tutorials.”touch postive
  • As one of the highest priced photo apps ($9.99), price was actually an important reason why they liked the app, summarized as e.g. “Are you KIDDING me? I can hardly believe all I can accomplish in this one app. And, seriously, it’s TEN DOLLARS people. The desktop version is SIX HUNDRED.”


Justifiable Strategy
The last point is one that Adobe is not highlighting in its discontinuation announcement. With a slew of excellent, multi-faceted photo editing apps on the market – many of them free and virtually all priced less than $10 – Adobe was simply not in a position to raise its Photoshop Touch price anywhere near enough to that of its desktop program to mitigate cannibalization from the mobile app with many of the same features.

From Adobe’s perspective, the discontinuation of Photoshop Touch and release of single use case apps makes a lot of sense. With its Creative Cloud service in place, Adobe can now offer narrower use case apps, allowing its customers to access their images and continue working on them in different single use case apps and even on different devices.

In addition, Adobe can now afford to offer these apps for free and attract new users to its 25-year-old Photoshop franchise, making the connecting glue – an upsell to a Creative Cloud subscription – the real winner, while killing any cannibalization in the interim.

Hans Hartman is president of Suite 48 Analytics and co-host of the Mobile Photo Connect conference.



Interesting ad approach: Olympus will “cure DSL-ARM”

olympus slr arm

olympus slr arm

in an effort to promote the size and weight benefits of its smaller interchangeable lens cameras, Olympus is lampooning a poor enthusiast picture-taker whose arm has stretched grotesquely due to his SLR’s weight.

“Many people living with DSL-ARM are suffering silently,” the video proclaims, “unaware that there’s a cure… DSL-ARM can only be cured with a smaller, lighter camera. …You’ll get all the power of a DSLR without all the size. Don’t you think you’ve suffered long enough?… Let the healing begin.”

What do you think — a good approach to marketing the completive differences in ILCs?

Here’s the video.

Take a Selfie for Mom

mother selfie NYT

mother selfie NYT

They may often be derided as narcissistic, or simply bad photos — but I think selfies are a very important part of photography today. They get everyone more involved in taking pictures of important or meaningful events, and a shot with yourself in it is a much better memory trigger of, say, that camping trip you took 5 years ago then yet another landscape picture with no one recognizable in it…

In recognition of Mothers Day, the New York Times published an interesting article with another reason for taking a selfie: to capture an image with that family memory keeper who is often behind the camera instead of in front of it.

“After my mom died, the funeral home said that we needed photos to make a memory board,” the article begins. “Mom did take a lot of photos over the course of my two sisters’ and my lifetimes… But while I found plenty of photos of myself that I had forgotten existed, I found relatively few of my mother either by herself or with me. It was then that I realized that she had been behind the camera for so many of the photos I had treasured over the years…

“I realized then that I was not going to repeat this pattern. When my daughter was born just a few months later, I began to take photos of us together. It did help that we had a digital camera and thus clicks were cheap and instantly rewarded. I not only wanted to capture my daughter’s life, but also our life together.”

Here is the full article.

Photo Cloud services, Watch out – Flickr is on a roll

flickr logo

— by Hans Hartman

new flickrIt took a while and a few false starts, but Flickr has not only caught up with the leading photo storage and syncing providers — they’ve actually steamed ahead and left others in the dust (for now) with the release of ambitious new photo organizing and syncing features, as well as an overhauled user interface for its website, apps and desktop software.

Flickr now fully syncs the user’s photos and videos across devices, auto-uploads them from smartphones, features a timeline browsing interface, automatically tags and categorizes photos by image content, and enables users to search for photos and retrieve them thanks to Flickr’s advanced image recognition technology.

That’s quite a bit. And all for free with one terabyte of cloud storage.

If I were Apple, Dropbox, Lyve, Mylio, or any other vendor in the photo syncing/storage space, I’d be concerned.

As we discussed last year at Mobile Photo Connect, deep learning-based image recognition technology is a promising approach to solving the consumer photo-organizing problem. All major photo storage and/or syncing vendors have either acquired image recognition startups or are working on building image recognition technology in-house. A few, notably Google+ Photos and Microsoft OneDrive, have already released image recognition features to their end users.

Flickr, leveraging the expertise brought in-house from several image recognition startup acquisitions, has now joined this exclusive club.

So, going forward what does this mean for Flickr? For eleven years the company has been a photo publishing and photo browsing platform focused on the advanced hobbyist. Now it has a real chance of becoming a major “any device” consumer photo organizing and storage platform.

However, just offering one terabyte of free storage two years ago apparently didn’t do the trick.
– Consumers want to be able to find the photos that matter with close to zero effort.
– Consumers want any-device access to their photos with close to zero effort.
– Consumers want photo backup with close to zero effort.

Flickr is now offering all of that. Probably not all perfectly yet, but they’re certainly focused on pushing the envelope.

What about those who don’t trust the cloud or feel they can’t rely on any one storage vendor to be around for decades to come? Flickr now enables users to bulk-download thousands of their photos in a single zip file – assuming they have a big enough hard drive to download them on!

You can hear more about Flickr’s strategic objectives from Rajiv Vaidyanathan, Flickr Head of Products, at Mobile Photo Connect, September 29 in San Francisco.


hans hartmanHans Hartman is president of Suite 48 Analytics, and co-host of the Mobile Photo Connect conference.

PMA CEO Georgia McCabe responds to Bloomberg Business “Fastest-Fading Business” article


PMA CEO Georgia McCabe

It is interesting that on April 30, Bloomberg Business posted an article entitled Twilight of One-Hour Photo, America’s Fastest-Fading Business. Of course, those of us who live in the photo business know that far from being, dead, consumers today are taking more pictures than ever before. In fact, just last year consumers captured and shared more than 10 times the number of personal images than were taken at the peak of the analog photo business, back in the early 1990s. Clearly the consumer’s “love for photography” today is stronger than ever. Personally, I believe that the opportunities in photo are actually greater now than they were back in the late 1800s, when George Eastman first evangelized photography to the mass market. Eastman had to educate the consumer about the value of personal photography. Today, that is a given – and photography pervades all aspects of everyday life. Posted personal images are by far the largest source of traffic in the exploding world of social media. Our challenge is to make it possible for consumers to enjoy connected photography and at the same time, preserve and celebrate their special images with a wide variety of exciting digital photo output products. The problem has been that while many of the new players in digital photography understand the tremendous appeal of personal imaging, they often have little knowledge or concern for the responsibility of capturing and storing those most important moments of everyday life. That is what real consumer photography is all about.

But don’t just take my word for it; here are excerpts resulting from discussions with knowledgeable imaging industry analysts.

Hans Hartman, President of Suite 48 Analytics and Chair of Mobile Photo Connect, sums it up rather succinctly:

hansheadshot 081712original

Hans Hartman

Really it’s quite simple:

  • Thanks to smartphones…people take more photos than ever before
  • Thanks to smartphones…people are engaged in photography at an earlier age than ever before
  • When offered innovative photo products and easy apps, smartphone photographers often order photo products. Major photo retailers, such as Shutterfly and Walgreens in the US, and CeWe and Photobox in Europe, all report double digit percentages of their orders coming from…smartphone users!

Frank Baillargeon, President of F/22 Consultants offers his own unique take:

Frank Baillargeon

Frank Baillargeon

We are living at a time during which mass market photography has gone from the occasional (8-10 times per year) purchase of a roll of film and a bag of prints, for those with the means, to an ever-present part of the lives of virtually every adult on the planet. Photo is central to the business models of the new titans of enterprise (Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon, etc.). As consumers, we capture with ease and no cost, share instantly with family and friends, edit creatively as we choose, (increasingly and most importantly) save and organize our precious images in the cloud to enable us to create and order fabulous new products from online retailers, and, yes, from tens of thousands of traditional brick and mortar photo retailers as well.

And then there is this statement, from Vint Cerf, Google VP and “father of the internet” (really!):

Vint Cerf of Google

Vint Cerf of Google

Our life, our memories, our most cherished family photographs increasingly exist as bits of

information – on our hard drives or in ‘the cloud.’ But as technology moves on, they risk being lost in the wake of an accelerating digital revolution.

I worry a great deal about that, you and I are experiencing things like this. Old formats of documents that we’ve created or presentations may not be readable by the latest version of the software because backwards compatibility is not always guaranteed.

And so what can happen over time is that even if we accumulate vast archives of digital content, we may not actually know what it is or where to find it.

Photo printing is far from dead. It is staging an exciting rebirth, born on crests of both product and manufacturing innovation, advances in mobile technology, and software innovations that connect us instantly and intuitively with create and order capabilities directly from our connected devices to product solutions from scores of retailers, both online and in-store. Simply stated – printed photo output matters to all of us. Not the bag of prints that were our only way to preserve and share, but exciting and valuable new products that tell and preserve our stories in a richer, more personalized fashion. The end of film processing is hardly the end of the photo output story. It was simply an important chapter in the continuing effort to preserve and share what’s most important to all of us.

As Mark Twain so aptly said, “the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Those of us who have spent our careers in photography refuse to break our sacred pact with the consumer…this is a challenge that we at PMA understand well, and intend to continue to make good on.

Georgia McCabe


No signs of Selfies slowing

hans selfie

hans selfie

They’re not splashed all over the media as much anymore — but everyday people are still snappin’ plenty of selfies.

In fact, “selfies continue to gain popularity among all age groups and have become an ingrained use case for how today’s smartphone photographers retain and share their visual memories,” Suite 48 Analytics reports.

The research firm surveyed 1,021 North American smartphone photographers to determine their selfie taking, enhancing and sharing habits on handheld smartphones, smartphones attached to selfie-sticks, action cams, drones, and digital cameras.

The study found that taking selfies is a widespread phenomenon among all age groups: 84% of the respondents took at least one selfie with their smartphone in the last 30 days. Tellingly, taking selfies was similarly broad across age groups: 88% among respondents under 25, 83% among 25+ respondents, and 80% among 35+ respondents.

However, age was found to have a significant impact on how frequently smartphone photographers take selfies. Those under 25 take more than twice as many selfies with their smartphone as do those who are 25 or older.

Most tellingly: the study’s respondents report they’re actually taking more of them than they did as recently as six months ago. This increase is most prominent among the younger respondents.

The full report, “The Selfies – A Maturing Use Case study” is available here.

selfies study

30 million wearable cameras to ship annually

Abstract tech vector design

Abstract tech vector design

By 2020, wearable camera shipments will surpass 30 million units annually, projects market researcher Tractica — up from 5.6 million in 2014.

The firm adds that GoPro is driving momentum in sports applications but consumer, enterprise, and public safety applications are not far behind. “In many ways, wearable cameras are an extension of the smartphone camera, enabling hands-free functionality that allows users to capture both planned and spontaneous moments from unique perspectives, by using body or head mounts, or simply clipping the camera to clothing. Wearable camera adoption will be strongest in areas where there is a clear and specific use case or context in which the camera is used”

Other areas noted include consumer “lifelogging” cameras, public safety/body-worn cameras for police officers, and enterprise uses such as user experience research in retail and hospitality.

Tractica says its “Wearable Cameras” report analyzes the global market for wearable cameras, providing an assessment of market drivers and barriers, technology issues, and key industry players. The study provides detailed forecasts for wearable camera shipments and revenue across application markets including sports, public safety, consumer, enterprise, industrial, and healthcare.

There’s a free executive summary here.

Nerds fly drones legally, “protect homeowners from rogues”



“According to the new FAA proposed rules, drone operators need permission to fly over private property,” says Albuquerque-based Nerds Limited LLC. And so their iOS app Legal Flyer “aims to bridge the communication gap between drone pilots and worried citizens.”

The app provides drone operators a permission slip to fly, and a property release to allow videographers and photographers necessary permission to fly and film, the company says — and “protect homeowners from rogue drones.”

The Nerds say their app “is a tool for drone operators to get necessary permissions, as well as, inform and educate the public on their privacy rights. We hope through informed consent more citizens feel comfortable with drones, while more videographers are able to fly homes.”

The $10 app not only complies with FAA rules, but also more relevant FCC rules and privacy laws, the company adds. “Many citizens have concerns of privacy and most individuals are unaware they own the airspace above their home” up to 83 feet.

There’s more information here.

legal flyer


Facebook sued for faces



Using facial recognition, Facebook automatically identifies people in pictures, and asks if you’d like to tag them.

Now a class-action lawsuit filed April 1 says it violates users’ privacy, Newsweek reports. “Facebook’s facial recognition technology is able to identify friends in pictures by scanning their faces, isolating their facial features and comparing the information against its database of faces. Lead plaintiff Carlo Licata of Illinois’s Cook County claims that by collecting users’ facial data and secretly amass[ing] the world’s largest privately held database of consumer biometrics data, Facebook is violating Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act of 2008.”

What do you think – must Facebook get permission from each and every user before applying face recognition across the board?

Newsweek’s full article is here.

Moms challenged to “Get in the Picture”



On April 11, NBC Universal’s 24-hour preschool network Sprout will campaign to “inspire Moms to get in front of the camera and back in the picture with their kids — and to commemorate all of life’s perfectly imperfect moments.”

The 2015 #MomIsHere campaign kicks off with a 30-day social media challenge, the company says.

An added wrinkle: Sprout is emphasizing “#NoFilter30,” and inviting moms “to share the real beauty of being a mom by posting one candid, “#nofilter” photo of themselves and their children every day for the 30 days leading up to Mother’s Day.” Those who successfully complete the 30-day challenge will have the opportunity to win a grand prize worth $2,500.

“As a mom, I know how easy it is to stay behind the camera and take pictures of my kids,” says the network’s host. “The #MomIsHere #NoFilter30 challenge is a great way for moms like me to challenge themselves to get in the picture and capture the many beautiful moments that we so easily miss by being behind the lens.”

Here’s more information.