Certainly there is a benefit from eliminating film development and from reusing cheap digital cameras. The problem for Ritz is that it can’t prevent consumers from capturing this entire benefit for themselves by buying their own digicams and printers. All that is necessary is for someone to introduce a cheap reusable digicam, which is surely not more difficult to develop than a cheap digicam that is fitted with devices to prevent consumers from downloading their photos on their own. (There are already $20 reusable digicams. Image quality is low, but there is no reason to think price and quality won’t improve.)
I was right, though not quite in the way that I expected. It turns out that the Dakota digicam is already reusable — if you know how to hack it. A guy who does know was kind enough to leave a comment on my old post, with a link to his web site. With just a few simple adjustments the Dakota is capable of making excellent images and can be used again and again. Not a bad deal for 11 bucks. I don’t think it will be long before inexpensive, reusable digicams are widely available commercially. The Dakota is a transition product that will soon be eclipsed.
(BTW, the commenter describes himself as “a recently-graduated electrical engineer looking for work. If you know of any openings for an entry-level EE/CE, drop me a line or feel free to peruse/send my resume.” I don’t know anything about electrical engineering but he seems to be on the ball.)