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Windows Media Photo: Does Anyone Care?

Microsoft debuted Windows Media Photo at WinHEC yesterday.  This new format is apparently capable of squeezing more detail and color into files half the size of today’s omnipresent JPEG format. Moreover, files can be rotated and partially decoded without having to decode, and re-encode the entire file. 

My first reaction?  Sounds a lot like WMA vs MP3.  WMA files do compress to smaller size than MP3, and do sound better than MP3. Just a little.  Not enough that most consumers really care.

The way to sell this format will be to get the device manufacturers on board.  As was pointed out in the CNET interview, the format could result in shorter transfer times and longer battery life on cellular phones, which could be a big deal.

Like so many innovations, this one appears to be looking for a problem to solve.  If Microsoft’s team had been able to increase compression by a factor of 10 without any image loss, it would be a slam dunk.  2x might not be enough to pay attention.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • dell dude May 25, 2006, 8:25 am

    "2x might not be enough to pay attention"

    This format change would seem to have a very favorable impact on the digital photography market. In addition to the benefits mentioned in your post:

    – twice as many files per memory storage device
    – quicker storing of files in camera's internal buffers – better usability of the camera
    – more fps as less data per image needs to be stored in the camera's buffer
    – better quality is always welcomed
    – less overhead for in camera processing (zooming and rotation)

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