A group of six digital-still camera makers and printer vendors, including Sony and Hewlett-Packard (HP), have jointly proposed a new industry standard that allows images recorded by a digital-still camera to be printed without using a computer.

The DPS standard – which is a name, not an acronym – is being proposed by Canon, Sony, HP, Fuji Photo Film, Olympus and Seiko Epson.

Previously, each manufacturer used a proprietary method for printing pictures directly from their digital still camera, making it difficult for users to mix equipment from different vendors.

The first version of the standard is scheduled for release by February 2003, said Nobuaki Sakurada, a Canon representative.

The DPS specifications are expected to be adopted on mobile handsets' digital cameras in the near future, and ultimately storage vendors will be able to develop DPS-compliant products, they said.

DPS, originally developed by Canon, HP, Seiko Epson and Sony, is written for USB (universal serial bus) connections with PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol) as data transfer protocol, they said.

The standard has been designed for scalability and simplicity, using the same interface for all cameras. After a USB cable is connected between a camera and a printer, the user chooses an image on the cameras' LCD (liquid crystal display) monitor. By simply pressing a button on the camera, a printer responds and prints out the image. Advanced functions contained in higher-end cameras can be operated by an extended user interface, Sakurada said.