Digital Camera Patent

System including a digital camera and a docking unit for coupling to the internet

Digital Camera Patent Abstract

Described is a system having a digital camera and a docking unit which permits the docking unit to receive images over a channel and direct them to a viewable display in the digital camera.

Digital Camera Patent Claims

What is claimed is:

1. A system including a plurality of digital cameras, and docking units, and a service provider, to permit the digital cameras to be coupled to the Internet, comprising: a) the digital camera including: i) a viewable display; ii) an image capture lens; iii) an image sensor for receiving a visual image provided by the capture lens to produce an image signal, a processor responsive to the image signal for producing a digital image so that the viewable display can respond to such image to provide a viewable image; iv) a docking interface to permit the digital camera to be connected to the docking unit; and v) a memory; and b) the docking unit including: i) a connector for providing an electrical connection with the docking interface in the digital camera; and ii) a network connection for interconnecting the docking unit to the channel; and c) the service provider including a memory for storing a plurality of user accounts, each identifying particular content categories previously selected by a particular user, and content information corresponding to the plurality of content categories, and for communicating content information to a plurality of digital cameras associated with the plurality of user accounts, whereby the content information, corresponding to content categories identified in the service account associated with each digital camera, is communicated over the Internet to the plurality of digital cameras; and d) the digital camera receiving the content information and displaying the content information on the viewable display, wherein the memory of the digital camera utilizes a directory structure comprising a plurality of directories including at least a captured image directory for storing captured images captured by the camera at a relatively high resolution, a transferred image directory for storing images transferred to the digital camera from the service provider at a relatively low resolution, and a content directory for storing the content information as files corresponding to the respective content categories.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein the service provider also communicates digital image files over the Internet to the digital camera, and the digital camera receives and displays the digital image files on the viewable display.

3. The system of claim 1 wherein the content categories include at least one sports team selected by a particular user.

4. The system of claim 1 wherein the content categories include at least one stock selected by a particular user.

5. The system of claim 1 wherein the content category includes at least one sports category, a news category and a financial category.

6. A method for providing communication over a channel between a service provider and a plurality of digital camera users, wherein a given digital camera has an associated docking unit, and the given digital camera includes: i) a viewable display; ii) an image capture lens; iii) an image sensor for receiving a visual image provided by the capture lens to produce an image signal, a processor responsive to the image signal for producing a digital image so that the viewable display can respond to such image to provide a viewable image; iv) a docking interface to permit the digital camera to be connected to the docking unit; and v) a memory; and the docking unit includes: i) a connector for providing an electrical connection with the docking interface in the digital camera; and ii) a network connection for interconnecting the docking unit to the channel; and the method including providing a memory for the service provider for storing a plurality of user accounts, each identifying particular content categories previously selected by a particular user, and content information corresponding to the plurality of content categories; communicating content information to the plurality of digital cameras associated with the plurality of user accounts, whereby the content information, corresponding to content categories identified in the service account associated with each digital camera, is communicated over the channel to the plurality of digital cameras; and the plurality of digital cameras receiving the content information and displaying the content information on the viewable display, wherein the memory of the given digital camera utilizes a directory structure comprising a plurality of directories including at least a captured image directory for storing captured images captured by the camera at a relatively high resolution, a transferred image directory for storing images transferred to the digital camera from the service provider at a relatively low resolution, and a content directory for storing the content information as files corresponding to the respective content categories.

7. The method of claim 6 wherein the content categories include sports teams.

8. The method of claim 6 wherein the content categories include financial categories.

9. The method of claim 6 wherein the content categories include sports themes.

10. A system including a digital camera and a docking unit to permit the digital camera to be coupled to a channel for communication with a service provider, comprising: a) the digital camera including: i) a viewable display; ii) a lens for providing an optical image; iii) an image sensor for receiving the optical image provided by the lens to produce an image signal, a processor responsive to the image signal for producing a digital image so that the viewable display can respond to such image to provide a viewable image; iv) a memory for storing a plurality of digital images, the memory utilizing a directory structure comprising at least a captured image directory and a transferred image directory, the captured image directory being configured for storing a plurality of digital images captured by the digital camera, the transferred image directory being configured for storing a plurality of digital images transferred to the digital camera from the service provider, wherein the transferred digital images have a lower resolution than the captured digital images; v) a docking interface to permit the digital camera to be connected to the docking unit; and vi) a processor coupled to the memory for providing communication through the docking unit to a channel so that one or more of the captured digital images stored in the memory are transferred over the channel to the service provider and one or more of the transferred digital images are received over the channel from the service provider and stored in the memory, the processor further being coupled to the viewable display so that the captured digital images and the transferred digital images stored in the memory can be viewed on the viewable display; and b) the docking unit including: i) a connector for receiving the docking interface in the digital camera and for connecting the digital camera to the docking unit; ii) a power supply for providing power to the digital camera; and iii) a network connection for interconnecting the docking unit to the channel for transferring one or more of the captured digital images to the service provider and for receiving one or more of the transferred digital images from the service provider.

11. The system of claim 10 wherein the processor further receives content files via the channel and causes information from such content files to be stored in the memory and to be displayed on the viewable display, the content files corresponding to content categories previously selected.

12. The system of claim 10 wherein the channel is the Internet and when the digital camera is connected to the docking unit, the processor automatically causes the connection over the Internet to a predetermined service provider, and the predetermined service provider automatically provides the plurality of transferred images to the channel for transfer to the memory in the digital camera.

13. The system of claim 10 wherein the captured digital images are stored as JPEG files in a first subdirectory and the transferred digital images are stored as JPEG files in a second subdirectory.

14. The system of claim 10 wherein the processor reduces the size of the captured digital images prior to displaying them on the viewable display.

Digital Camera Patent Description

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Reference is made to commonly assigned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/620,890, filed Jul. 21, 2000 and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/620,889, filed Jul. 21, 2000 by M. Krishna Bandaru et al., the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to digital cameras which include a viewable display and, more particularly, to a system that uses such a digital camera to receive and display information from the Internet.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Current digital cameras can connect to a host computer via a dock in order to transfer images to the PC, and in some cases to download pictures and other types of files, such as MP3 audio files, etc. from the PC to the camera. One example is the Kodak EasyShare DX3500 digital camera, which is sold with an optional docking unit. In this case, pictures can be downloaded from the PC to the camera, and the camera can later be used to view the images on the camera's LCD image display in "slideshow" mode.

Current digital picture frame display devices, such as the Kodak Smart Picture Frame sold by Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, N.Y., can connect to the Internet via a phone line. They allow images to be viewed, uploaded for printing, and downloaded for viewing via a display slideshow mode. They also allow web pages with the weather, stock reports, etc. to be viewed. However, such devices cannot be used to capture images, and cannot be used in a portable mode, since they are not battery operated.

The transfer of digital images from a user to a service provider is becoming more popular and more important. Typically, a digital camera user captures a group of digital images that are stored on a removable memory card. These images can be transferred from the memory card and stored, for example, on a hard drive or other non-volatile memory associated with the user's computer. While these images can be printed on a local printer, such as an ink jet printer, it is often simpler and less expensive for the user to have the images printed by a service provider. There are numerous services that can be provided using digital images, such as storing the images on-line, printing the images, or producing digital storage media (e.g. CD-R discs) with duplicate copies of the digital images. These services can be provided at a remote location, typically a location in a different city, by the service provider. When services are ordered from a service provider, the images need to be uploaded using a channel such as the Internet.

Digital images, from digital cameras or scanned photographic film, can be uploaded to a web site for viewing, as described in commonly assigned U.S. Pat. No. 5,666,215 to Fredlund et al. Using a web browser, a group of these digital images can be viewed and selected for printing, for example using the Kodak Photonet Service. The user can select the size of each print to be produced, and the quantity of prints to be made from each image.

Some web sites, such as the site provided by OFOTO at www.ofoto.com, enable a user to upload a group of digital images for sharing with others over the Internet, and for providing digital printing services. This site permits a user to obtain an account using his e-mail address as the account name, and to provide a password and address information. The user can then upload a group of images. After all the images are uploaded, the user can select particular images for printing or sharing with third parties designated by the user. The user can return to this site at a later date, enter their e-mail address and password, and upload or print additional images.

A problem with the prior art is that capturing, uploading, and conveniently viewing digital images via the Internet requires that three expensive devices be used, a digital camera for capturing images, a desktop computer for uploading the images to a website for sharing, and a picture frame for viewing the images in a convenient location, such as on a nightstand or living room table. Purchasing and using these three devices is expensive and difficult.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to facilitate a user being able to use a digital camera for directly communicating with a service provider.

It is another object of the present invention to permit the user of a digital camera with a display to make use of that display after communication has been established between the digital camera and a service provider, in order to receive and display images captured by others.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a digital camera having a large color image display that is used with a docking unit to provide an attractive looking digital picture frame.

Another object of this invention is to provide a low cost, easy-to-use system for capturing digital image, sharing the digital images with others, receiving digital images from others, and displaying these received digital images and other useful information conveniently.

These objects are achieved by a system including a digital camera and a docking unit to permit the digital camera to be coupled to a channel, comprising:

a) the digital camera including: i) a viewable display; ii) an image capture lens; iii) an image sensor for receiving a visual image provided by the capture lens to produce an image signal, a processor responsive to the image signal for producing a digital image so that the viewable display can respond to such image to provide a viewable image; and iv) a docking interface to permit the digital camera to be connected to the docking unit; and

b) the docking unit including: i) means for receiving the docking interface in the digital camera and for connecting the digital camera to the docking unit; ii) means for providing power to the digital camera; and iii) means for interconnecting the docking unit to the channel; and

c) the processor providing communication through the docking unit so that it receives digital images via the channel and causes such digital images to be displayed on the viewable display.

These objects are also achieved by a-method for connecting a digital camera to a channel such as the Internet, comprising the steps of:

a) providing a digital camera having a viewable display and a docking unit for receiving the digital camera; and

b) providing communication over the channel to the docking unit which directs image data to the docked digital camera that provides viewable images on the viewable display of such camera.

ADVANTAGES

It is an advantage of the present invention to use the same digital camera for capturing and displaying captured digital images, and for displaying images provided by others which have been stored by a service provider and communicated by the service provider over a channel such as the Internet.

It is a further advantage of the present invention to provide a system having a digital camera and a docking unit, to permit the direct connection of the digital camera to the service provider in a cost effective manner, eliminating the need for an intermediate device such as a personal computer.

It is another advantage of the present invention to provide a system having a digital camera and a docking unit which allows the display on the digital camera to be viewable, thus providing an attractive way to store the digital camera when it is not capturing images, and to ensure that the camera batteries are recharged.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts a block diagram of a system that implements this invention;

FIG. 2 is a flow diagram showing the process of capturing images, communicating with a service provider, and displaying images on a viewable display of the digital camera;

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of the digital camera that can be a part of the system of this invention;

FIG. 4 is a block diagram of the docking unit that can be a part of the system of this invention;

FIG. 5A is a front view of the digital camera and the docking unit when they are disconnected;

FIG. 5B is a rear view of the digital camera docked in the docking unit;

FIG. 6 depicts the organization of images and other files stored on the removable memory card of the digital camera;

FIGS. 7A and 7B depict service account information used to determine the content of files downloaded from the service provider to the digital camera;

FIG. 8A depicts the user interface when the digital camera is reviewing captured images;

FIG. 8B depicts the user interface when the digital camera is displaying downloaded images from the service provider; and

FIG. 8C depicts the user interface when the digital camera is displaying information downloaded from the service provider.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In this invention, the digital camera includes a large viewable image display (e.g. a color LCD, Organic Light Emitting Display [OLED] or the like). The camera operates as a normal digital camera to capture images. It also connects to a docking unit, which provides power and network connectivity, for example via a phone line. The camera is inserted into the dock with the lens facing away from the user and the viewable display facing towards the user. The docking unit is typically located in the master bedroom, kitchen, etc., rather than next to a computer in the office or den. The combination of the camera and docking unit form a system that both transfers the captured digital images to a service provider via the Internet, and displays images and other information downloaded from a service provider on the large viewable camera display, thus providing the capabilities of a digital picture frame.

When the camera is connected to the docking unit, the system can automatically upload any newly captured images to a network service provider for storage and/or printing. This can be done using the methods described in commonly assigned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/569,079, filed May 11, 2000 by Parulski et al., the disclosure of which is herein incorporated by reference.

After the images are uploaded, the system then begins to automatically receive and store various types of information, in accordance with selections made by the user when they purchased or configured their system. Examples of this information include digital still or motion images, such as favorite photographs or video snippets stored on the network, either by the user or by a third party which authorizes the user to access this information, and presented in a slideshow type format. The system also stores and displays information provided by Internet web sites, such as the local weather, headline news, stock prices, sport scores, etc, which is of interest to the user. The various information can be displayed on the viewable display either by automatically cycling though the information, or in response to user menu selections.

Once disconnected from the dock, the content downloaded from the Internet (e.g. local weather, etc.) can still be viewed on the camera viewable display, so that the user can more easily read the information, or read the information in a different room, or while on-the-go. When the user selects the camera capture mode, the information ceases to be presented on the camera display, and the camera functions as a digital image capture device.

FIG. 1 depicts a block diagram of a system that implements the present invention. As shown in FIG. 1, the system includes a digital camera 300 which includes a docking interface 322 to facilitate connection with a docking unit 350. The docking unit 350 includes a modem 370 (shown in FIG. 4) for establishing a connection with a network service provider 30, such as an Internet service provider (ISP), to provide a network connection to a channel 36, such as the Internet. The system further includes a content service provider 40, which communicates with camera 300 via the ISP 30. The content service provider 40 receives and stores digital image files uploaded from the digital camera 300, and stores and downloads digital image files and other information to the camera 300. The content service provider 40 includes an Internet server 42 for communicating with the Internet (e.g. channel 36). The content service provider 40 also includes an electronic database 44, which is located remote from the digital camera 300, for storing digital images and other information. The content service provider 40 also includes a billing system 46, which provides bill issuing 48.

The various portions of the content service provider 40 can be located in a single building or complex of adjacent buildings, or can be geographically dispersed over several sites in different cities or even different continents. For example, the Internet server 42, the electronic database 44, and billing system 46 can be provided by computers located in different cities and interconnected via a suitable digital communications network, such as the Internet. Furthermore, the electronic database 44 can itself be distributed over several computers in several different locations.

The system also includes a home computer system 10 which can be used to order and configure the services and information provided by the content provider 40, such as the information (e.g. current stock prices for companies of interest to the user) that is automatically downloaded from the content provider 40 to the digital camera 300. Alternatively, the user can order and configure the services and information via a retail outlet, via a telephone call to a representative of the service provider, via a mail-in order form, or the like.

The home computer 10 includes a CPU motherboard 12, having for example, an Intel Pentium processor as well as RAM memory. The CPU motherboard 12 executes software stored on a hard drive 20, for example, the well known Windows ME operating system software and the Internet Explorer web browser software, both provided by Microsoft Corp. of Redmond, Wash. The CPU motherboard 12 is coupled to a display monitor 14 and a keyboard 16. A mouse 18 permits the user to readily communicate with the CPU motherboard 12. The home computer 10 also includes a dial-in modem 22 for communicating with the ISP 30 in order to connect to a channel 36, such as the Internet. The CPU motherboard 12 communicates with a card reader 24, which can read and write data on a removable flash memory card 330 (shown in FIG. 3) used in the digital camera 300.

The ISP 30, for example, Earthlink Network, Inc. of Pasadena, Calif., includes banks of modems 32, one of which is connected to communicate with the modem 370 in the docking unit 350, or the modem 22 of the customer's computer 10. The modem 32 in turn communicates with computers/routers 34 in order to provide a connection to the channel 36 using equipment and techniques well known to those skilled in the art.

The content service provider 40 communicates with a fulfillment system 50, which is comprised of one or more computers and associated peripherals for producing photo products, such as hardcopy prints, album pages, photo mugs, PictureCD discs, and the like. The fulfillment system 50 includes a computer that serves as a production controller 52, and controls one or more color printers 54, which can produce photo products 66 such as album pages or standard hardcopy prints. The hardcopy prints can be of various sizes, and can be sold in frames. The production controller 52 is also connected to a CD writer 76, which can produce PictureCDs having digital images and application software for using the digital images. The production controller 52 can optionally be connected to devices (not shown) for producing other types of photo products 66 such as t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc. incorporating one or more images uploaded by the user. The production controller 52 also controls a shipping system 70 which controls a shipping label printer 72 to produce a shipping label 74. The shipping label 74 is attached to a shipping container (e.g. a cardboard box containing packing material) that contains and protects the photo product 66 during shipment (e.g. via air express mail, ground carrier, etc.) to the user or the user's designee.

In addition to receiving and storing digital images produced by digital cameras, the content service provider can scan photographic film using appropriate equipment (not shown), or receive digital images produced by scanning film by a different service provider, to produce digital images that can be stored in the electronic database 44, as described in commonly assigned U.S. Pat. No. 5,666,215 to Fredlund et al., the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

The electronic database 44 provides information describing numerous photo products that can be provided by the fulfillment system 50, as described in commonly assigned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/576,288, filed May 23, 2000 by Parulski et al., the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. This includes information describing photo product options, for example, album features such as providing various background colors or textures, page numbers, page captions, image captions, etc. The album pages can be bound in a cover, or can include holes to permit the pages to be inserted into a standard binder, such as a three-ring binder. These album feature options can be demonstrated via software programs, for example, JAVA applets, MPEG or QuickTime movies, or Shockwave files, which depict the functionality of features that the customer can choose.

The electronic database 44 includes information describing each customer account, including user billing information, a user profile for providing information content to the user, and user image storage information. The billing information can include a payment identifier for the user, such as a charge card number, expiration date, and user billing address. The user profile indicates the types of information that the user wants to receive from the Internet when their digital camera 300 is mated with the docking unit 350. The user image storage information includes a list of images uploaded by the user and stored in the electronic database 44. The electronic database 44 also provides long-term storage of the uploaded images for each user. In this embodiment, stored images are accessible (e.g. viewable) via the Internet by authorized users, as described, for example, in commonly assigned U.S. Pat. No. 5,760,917 to Sheridan, the disclosure of which is herein incorporated by reference. The electronic database 44 can be contained on the same computer as the network server 42, or can utilize a separate computer, or can be distributed over several computers at the same physical site, or at different sites.

On a regular basis (e.g. monthly) or alternatively whenever a photo product 66 is purchased by the user, the electronic database 44 communicates with a billing system 46 to verify that the payment identifier (e.g. credit card or debit card number) provided by the customer is valid, and to debit the account for the purchase or the monthly service fee for providing information to the user and storing user images. As shown in block 48, the bill is issued. The customer's account that is debited can, of course, be located at a remote financial institution.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing the digital camera 300 in more detail. Electrical power for all of the circuits of the digital camera 300 is provided by rechargeable batteries 346 via power supply 344. The rechargeable batteries 346 are recharged via power supplied by the docking unit 350 to the docking interface 322. The digital camera 300 produces digital images that are stored on the removable memory card 330. The digital camera 300 includes a zoom lens 312 having zoom and focus motor drives 310 and an adjustable aperture and shutter (not shown). The zoom lens 312 focuses light from a scene (not shown) to provide an optical image focused on an image sensor 314, for example, a single-chip color CCD image sensor, using the well known Bayer color filter pattern. The image sensor 314 is controlled by clock drivers 306. The zoom and focus motors 310 and the clock drivers 306 are controlled by control signals supplied by a control processor and timing generator circuit 304. The control processor and timing generator 304 receives inputs from autofocus and autoexposure detectors 308 and controls a flash 302. The analog image signal from the image sensor 314 is amplified and converted to digital data by the analog signal processing (ASP) and analog-to-digital (A/D) converter circuit 316. The digital image data from the A/D converter 316 is stored in a DRAM buffer memory 318 and subsequently processed by a processor 320 controlled by the firmware stored in the firmware memory 328, which can be flash EPROM memory.

The processed digital image file is provided to a memory card interface 324, which stores the digital image file on the removable memory card 330. Removable memory cards 330 are known to those skilled in the art. For example, the removable memory card 330 can conform to the Compact Flash interface standard, such as is described in the CompactFlash Specification Version 1.3, published by the CompactFlash Association, Palo Alto, Calif., Aug. 5, 1998. Other types of removable memory cards, including Smart Media cards, PC cards, SD cards, or Memory Stick cards, and other types of digital memory devices, such as magnetic hard drives, magnetic tape, or optical disks, could alternatively be used to store the digital images.

The processor 320 performs color interpolation followed by color and tone correction, in order to produce rendered sRGB image data. The rendered sRGB image data is then JPEG compressed and stored as a JPEG image file on the removable memory card 330. The processor 320 also creates a smaller size digital image which can be created as described in commonly assigned U.S. Pat. No. 5,164,831 to Kuchta et al., the disclosure of which is herein incorporated by reference. This smaller size image is stored in RAM memory 326 and supplied to the color image display 332, which displays the smaller sized, processed digital image for the user to review. The color image display 332 provides a viewable display, and can use an LCD display, an OLED display, or other types of display technologies.

The digital camera 300 is controlled by user controls 303, some of which are shown in more detail in FIG. 5. The user controls 303 include a shutter release (e.g. a capture button) 380, which initiates a picture taking operation, up/down buttons 382, left/right buttons 384, and select button 386. The graphical user interface displayed on the color LCD image display 332 is controlled by the user interface portion of the firmware stored in the firmware memory 328. The camera user interface also includes microphone 333 which connects to an audio amplifier and A/D converter 335, to provide a digital audio signal to the processor 320. The camera user interface can also include a digital-to-analog (D/A) converter and audio amplifier 337, and a miniature speaker 339, which plays back the recorded audio, and also makes audible sounds when a new picture is taken, or when the user changes modes or advances to review the next stored image. The digital camera 300 can also include a video output driver and connector (not shown) for displaying the captured images on a TV (not shown).

The JPEG file stored on the removable memory card 330 uses the so-called "Exif" image format defined in "Digital Still Camera Image File Format (Exit)" version 2.1, July 1998 by the Japan Electronics Industries Development Association (JEIDA), Tokyo, Japan. This format includes an Exif application segment that stores particular image metadata, for example the date and time the picture was captured, the lens f/number and other camera settings, and image captions or comments that can be selected or entered by the camera user.

The Exif image files, containing the JPEG compressed main image, thumbnail image, and the image metadata, are stored on the removable memory card 330 using a directory structure conforming to the so-called "DCF" rules defined in "Design Rule For Camera File System" version 1.0, December 1998 by the Japan Electronics Industries Development Association (JEIDA), Tokyo, Japan. An example directory structure recorded on DOS formatted removable memory card 330 by the camera 300 is depicted in FIG. 6. Three directories are recorded under the root directory 400, MISC directory 410 containing a file 412 named AUTPRINT.MRK, DCIM directory 420 which contains subdirectories 430 and 440, and a CONTENT directory 450. File 412 is a Digital Printer Order Format (DPOF) file, which specifies images to be printed, as will be described later. Subdirectory 430 is named 100_DCAM, to conform to the DCF rules, and contains four JPEG compressed Exif image files, PIC.sub.--0001.JPG 432, PIC.sub.--0002.JPG 434, PIC.sub.--0003.JPG 436, and PIC.sub.--0004.JPG 438. Files 432, 434, 436, which have been captured by the digital camera 300.

Subdirectory 440 is named 101_XFER to conform to the DCF rules. The purpose of subdirectory 440 is to provide a known location for the digital camera 300 to store image files on removable memory card 330 which are downloaded from the content service provider 40 when the digital camera is connected to the docking unit 350. The files stored in subdirectory 440 include three JPEG compressed image files, file 442 named IMG.sub.--0001.JPG, file 444 named IMG.sub.--0002.JPG, and file 446 named IMG.sub.--0003.JPG. There JPEG files have been previously downloaded from the content service provider 40 and can be displayed on the color LCD image display 332, as will be described later in reference to FIG. 2. Instead of JPEG image files, other types of image file formats, including TIFF, GIF, JPEG2000, and the like, could be used. The size of the image files stored in subdirectory 440 can be significantly lower resolution (e.g. can have fewer lines and fewer pixels per line) than the images captured by the digital camera, since they are only used to provide a displayable image but are not used to provide prints. As a result, a large number of downloaded images can be stored on the removable memory card 330. Because the full resolution images are retained by the content service provider, high quality reprints of these images can be obtained by transferring the full resolution image data stored at the content service provider 40 to the fulfillment service 50 to produce photo products 66.

Subdirectory 450 is named CONTENT, and provides a known location for image processor 320 to store content information (e.g. stock quotes, weather reports, and the like), downloaded from the content service provider 40 when the digital camera is connected to the docking unit 350. Subdirectory 450 contains a number of files, one