KARYN HUNT AP Business Writer SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Eastman Kodak Co. is forging alliances with telephone and technology companies -- including IBM, Sprint and Microsoft -- in an effort to bring digital photography to a broader audience, boost stagnant sales and update its corporate image.

The new cameras, printers and scanners will enable professional and home photographers to transmit photos around the world just hours after they are taken.

The company also plans to bring a wide range of new products and services to businesses and retail shelves within six to eight weeks.

Among the new services are one that allows the identification photos to be encoded on credit card magnetic slips so sales clerks can detect fraudulent users. Another allows nearly instant transmission of photographs of damaged cars or homes to insurance companies to speed reimbursement.

Kodak's new ventures are centered around digital imaging, which captures pictures on databases, allowing them to be duplicated, manipulated, enlarged and transferred among computers via modem. Once encoded, they can be used on forms, identification cards or personalized mugs and posters, among other products.

``The possibilities and opportunities are just too great for any one company to do it on their own,'' General Manager of digital imaging Carl Gustin said in announcing the alliances.

Kodak is working with Microsoft for the software to process digital images on personal computers and with Hewlett-Packard for low-cost printers. Other agreements are with Kinko's copies for distribution via personal computers located in storefronts and with Citibank for identification images on credit cards.

Kodak intends to bring many of the new products and services down to street level prices to make them available to home users. That would help the Rochester, N.Y.-based company carve a new niche in the market for the 60 billion photographs taken each year for personal and business purposes, Chief Executive Officer George Fisher said.

Kodak tried to get into the digital photo business years ago, but sales lagged.

The new products are in improvement because they form an integrated system that consolidates the equipment, simplifies the processes and connections between computers and improves the color capabilities, he said.

Tuesday's announcements are part of an overall effort to reinvigorate Kodak's stagnating sales and eliminate a heavy debt.

Fisher, who came to Kodak a year ago from Motorola, has made the development of digital technology a priority. He also hopes to move the company's traditional film and paper business into the fast-growing Asian market and other developing areas such as Russia, India and Brazil.

Fisher also sold off Kodak's health care businesses and shifted the focus back to pictures.

Among examples of the new technology are the electronic camera, designed for workers in the field -- such as insurance claims adjustors or photojournalists -- who need to transfer pictures quickly. The photographer can snap an image, download it into a laptop computer then send it over a cellular telephone.

Another is a so-called ``Digital Enhancement Station'' that can scan old photographs into databases then touch them up to get the red out of the eyes or remove dust or scratch marks. The photos can then be reprinted, enlarged or made into items such as mugs, towels and tote bags.

Once stored, photos also can be transferred almost immediately to law enforcement agencies around the world to help identify and catch suspects in crimes or combined with text to make real estate brochures or newsletters.

The company will continue sales of its traditional film and paper.

AP-WS-03-28-95 2057EST

This material is copyrighted and may not be republished without permission of the originating newspaper or wire service. NewsHound is a service of the San Jose Mercury News. For more information call 1-800-818-NEWS.