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Shoebox app turns phones into photo scanners

A new app released by a "memory sharing" site makes converting photo prints to digital a little easier by turning an iPhone into a mobile photo scanner. 

Shoebox, the first app released by 1000memories, gives iPhone users the ability to scan and share large collections of photos and documents on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on 1000memories. 

While it seems like it's impossible there was ever a time when cameras weren't digital, many of us have ample evidence there was such a thing as film and photo prints. Albums — and shoeboxes, as the video below shows — bursting with dusty images remind us that we used to spend time sitting down and reliving those moments with others, rather than solo clicking and commenting.

Not that those times are dead. Plenty of photobooks are available through digital sharing sites, but this app may actually be quite useful for those of us who have been eyeing daily deals for mass photo scanning packages. Using this free app, which will soon be available on Android and other mobile platforms, users can produce scanned 4x6 photos with a DPI of up to 550 (web quality only requires 72 DPI, optimal printing DPI is around 300). The best photos will come through the new iPhone 4S, which will produce scans at 2448 x 3264 pixel resolution. The app will take advantage of the improved f2.4 lens, for lower-light scans to show up in better quality. 

The app will remain compatible with all previous iPhone models, including the iPhone 4, 3G, and 3GS, as well as the iPad.

Shoebox also incorporates cropping and straightening as it auto-detects the edges of a photo. Users who already caption and tag photos taken on mobile phones, Shoebox users can do the same with these scans. The photos are then automatically uploaded to 1000memories, where it can be organized and shared with friends and family.  

1000memories claims your account will never expire, and it has partnered with the Internet Archive "to make your content as close to permanent as possible." To feel a little safe, users can download unlimited copies of their entire photo collections at any time.

Kids today have plenty of videos uploaded to YouTube and a gazillion Facebook albums taken by their parents, but for many of us, our photos are the only physical links we have to our past, beyond the last decade or so. 

Since it has such a keen stake in digital images, 1000memories noted in a blog post that an estimated that 2.5 billion people around the world own digital cameras (also those with mobile phones). If the average person snaps 150 photos this year that would total 375 billion photos this year — a third of them on Facebook.

In an informal poll we conducted, that's where most of you (71 percent) upload to as well. 

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