The IFA Consumer Electronics Fair in Europe this time of year offers previews of hot new items for Holiday shopping. This year’s 5-day IFA event, which started Sep. 4 in Berlin, offered a big debut from an unlikely source – Polaroid – whose new camera looks like a “Snap” for considerable sales this December.
For many in the selfie generation, the only knowledge of Polaroid is from the Grammy-winning Outkast song Hey Ya (which had everyone singing that they were going to “shake it like a Polaroid picture”). But, Polaroid’s new camera, called “The Snap,” could change that and revitalize a brand that for years seemed more likely to show up in trivia games than a gift box.
The Snap marries Polaroid’s renown for instant photography with a pocket-sized digital camera experience, and accessible $99 retail list price. It features a plastic rectangle (in white, black, red, yellow or blue) with a pop-up flash at top. There is no viewfinder or display window on the simply, sleek exterior. Inside, the Polaroid Snap is basically a 10MP digital instant camera with a tiny built-in printer.
Using ZINK® Zero Ink Printing Technology, Snap users can shoot and instantly print full-color, 2×3 inch prints and pass them out on the spot (no shaking or waiting to peel off a back required). Even while the Polaroid Snap is printing, more pictures can be taken. The camera also features a photo booth mode, which takes six quick pictures in ten seconds, and the option of printing with or without the Polaroid Classic Border Logo format. Users can also take the perfect instant selfie thanks to the camera’s self-timer feature.
The Snap does include a feature that addresses one complaint people had about the old Polaroid cameras. In the past, Polaroid pictures were one-time items that could not be copied or enlarged. Unlike old-fashioned film, there were no negatives. The new camera has a Micro SD card that holds up to 32GB of images that can be uploaded onto a computer or social media platform.
The ink-free printing technology uses ZINK Paper®, which is embedded with cyan, magenta and yellow dye crystals and with a protective overcoat. Before printing, the dye crystals are colorless and the paper resembles regular white photo paper. When a photo is taken, the printer uses heat to activate the color crystals to produce quality, long-lasting photo prints without requiring ink cartridges or toner.
“Sharing, instant photography, and the idea of one snap, one print, are concepts that Polaroid developed over 75 years ago,” Scott W. Hardy, President and CEO of Polaroid commented on the brand’s long engrained identity. He added that the Snap puts a modern twist on the classic Polaroid instant camera design by combining digital technology with a minimalistic design at an inexpensive price.
Polaroid – and the latest owner of the name – have been trying to revitalize the brand for decades, with mobile printers and new cameras, the last of which that became remotely popular, however, was in 1999. The company, which was initially dominant in the polarized sunglasses market and then created the first 3D movie glasses, has been synonymous with instant printing cameras for more than 60 years. Its 1970s cameras were massively successful.
Polaroid pictures were the selfies of their times with people taking them and sharing the images hand-to-hand at parties to take home instant reminders. But, the company, much like Kodak, did not anticipate and deal competitively with the digital revolution. They have files for bankruptcy and assets, including the name, sold twice. But the new owners seem determined to turn things around. Judging by reaction to the Snap at its big IFA debut, Polaroid might be in for a solid holiday season.
Written and edited by Dyanne Weiss
Polaroid: Recreate the Magic of Classic Instant Photography with the Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera
Tech Times: Polaroid Is Back In The Instant Photo Game With The Snap (Hands-On)]
Daily Mail: The Polaroid is back! Digital camera can print snapshots instantly using inkless paper
Wired: Polaroid’s Latest Instant Camera Doesn’t Need Ink
Photo courtesy of Polaroid