During CES '09, troubled camera company Polaroid displayed its PoGo digital instant camera, a reinvention of a product that made the company famous decades ago.
Polaroid's new PoGo Instant Digital Camera is actually the first of its kind, combining a digital camera with an instant printer for the North American and European market. Just like the classic Polaroid camera, consumers simply push a button and receive an instant picture. However, the company has taken the classic design one step further by allowing the photographer to select images stored on the camera, crop and edit them in less than 60 seconds, and print the image in full color on a 2x3" sheet.
"This is the digital version of our traditional instant camera, which consumers have loved since the 70s," says Jon Pollock, vice president and general manager, Digital Imaging. "With this product, Polaroid will bring the magic of instant photography to a whole new generation. It's what consumers have told us they want – a fun, easy way to use a digital camera to print photos and share their memories instantly."
According to the company, the camera uses ZINK Paper and ZINK Zero Ink, an ink-free printing technology which replaces ink cartridges and ribbons. The ZINK Paper is a composite material with embedded, heat activated dye crystals. The ZINK Paper appears like any other white paper before printing, however the end result is immediately dry to the touch (sorry Andre 3000, "shake it like a Polaroid picture" no longer applies), is durable, smudge proof and water resistant. Polaroid previously used this technology in its PoGo Instant mobile Printer released back in July 2008.
"Unlike traditional instant film, photos from the Polaroid PoGo Instant Digital Camera emerge fully developed," Pollock says. "While many of our most passionate customers tell us "shaking" a Polaroid photo is part of the fun, with any Polaroid photo, the "shake" is totally optional."
Outside 100 percent inkless printing, the Polaroid PoGo Instant Digital Camera features a three-inch color LCD screen for viewing pictures before printing, and weighs only 10 ounces overall (that is, without the battery, memory card, and photo paper). The camera's overall dimensions are 3"H x 4.7"W x 2"D and include a lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Other specifications include 4x digital zoom, a SD slot for expanded memory, in-camera red-eye removal, automatic picture lighting enhancement and more. By default, the fully charged battery will allow the photographer to print over 20 pictures and take 75 pictures using the flash.
Many users of the standalone ZINK-based printer have not been all that happy with it. Their major complaint is about the color quality of images. They also point out that the prints are about business card size, one-fourth the size of a 4x6" picture.
The camera will start appearing on store shelves in March, selling for a suggested retail price of $199. Ten-packs of ZINK Photo Paper retail for $4.99 and 30-packs for $12.99.