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

The DPS standard (DPS is a name, not an acronym) is being proposed by Canon, Sony, HP, FujiFilm, Olympus and Epson.

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

The first version of the standard is expected to be released by February next year, said Canon's Nobuaki Sakurada at a news conference in Tokyo today.

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

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

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) screen. 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.