The camera world may have gone digital, but the name Polaroid remains synonymous with instant photo prints. So it's not surprising that Polaroid has introduced the £99 Polaroid PoGo portable printer.
The concept underlying the Polaroid PoGo doesn't differ much from that behind the original Polaroid instant camera - except that this time the printer is a separate peripheral from the camera itself, and you don't have to shake the output to make the image appear.
This Polaroid PoGo printer is the first to use Zink, the zero-ink technology pioneered by Polaroid (Polaroid's parent company has since spun off Zink into a separate subsidiary).
The PoGo's thermal print head activates the 100 billion dye crystals embedded in Polaroid's new proprietary, glossy photo paper (peel away the back and your photo becomes a sticker). Sheets of the 2x3in media are thinner than the old Polaroid print paper and contain three layers of primary colours suspended in the paper itself.
The small Polaroid PoGo printer fits in your palm, although its power pack is almost the same size and weight, and the included rechargeable battery handles only about 15 to 20 prints on a single charge.
Holding up to 10 pieces of paper at a time, the Polaroid PoGo's paper conveniently comes in packages of 10 sheets for around £4. Loading paper is a simple matter of sliding open the unit, inserting the paper into its holder, and closing it up.
Printing was equally easy. Like more-traditional inkjet-based snapshot printers. the Polaroid PoGo is designed to print snapshots from a digital camera or a cameraphone.
The Polaroid PoGo connects to mobile phones via Bluetooth, and Polaroid says that it works with 80 percent of the mobile phone models on the market that are equipped with Bluetooth and a camera - though the Apple iPhone is not among them (Polaroid's website maintains a list of compatible phones). The Polaroid PoGo also connects to PictBridge-enabled cameras via USB. You can connect it to your PC, but an application designed to optimise images for printing from your desktop won't be available until the fall.
We had no trouble pairing the Polaroid PoGo from a Palm Treo 680 phone. We entered the Bluetooth code, the phone found the printer, and we could begin sending images to the printer via Bluetooth.
The Polaroid PoGo printer took less than a minute to print the 640-by-480-resolution image we had snapped with the Treo's camera, but it took several minutes to print images taken with an 8Mp digital camera and stored on the Treo's SD Card.