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Polaroid launching retail stores to print smartphone photos

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Polaroid's Fotobar stores will allow for the printing of smartphone images and other digital photographs.

Polaroid has not given up on printed photos. The film veteran is reinventing itself in the form of brick-and-mortar stores—Fotobars—where customers can "release their 'trapped' photos and display their cherished memories in the form of premium quality art." Customers can get their photos printed onto canvas, metal, acrylic, wood or bamboo, as well as matted or framed.

The Fotobars are coming at a time when a younger generation has grown up with photography as an instant gratification—many have never had the experience of waiting for film to develop. While Polaroid's Fotobars will not be able to recreate the anticipation of a darkroom, they will turn digital photographs into something tangible enough to hang on a wall.

In its press release, Polaroid spoke of the gap in the market they are trying to fill:

“There are currently around 1.5 billion pictures taken every single day, and that number continues to grow in tandem with the popularity and quality of camera phones,” said Warren Struhl, founder and CEO of Fotobar, LLC.  “Unfortunately, even the very best of those pictures rarely ever escape the camera phone with which they were taken to be put on display around our homes and offices.  Why? Because turning those pictures into something tangible, creative and permanent is neither easy nor fun. Polaroid Fotobar stores are going to change all of that.”

Fotobars will soon be popping up in malls around the country—Polaroid hopes to launch 10 in 2013. This new year is also expected to see the release of an Android-based mirrorless camera from Polaroid at the CES trade show next week in Las Vegas.

Comments

Total comments: 19
MonkRX

Meh. So they're trying to be the "Apple" or "Beats/Bose" of photo printing? In this day and age, I don't think I'd go out to get a picture printed. Perhaps they expect to market to the masses and hope they create a printing craze. I simply don't think the market is there. And those who do print aren't likely to go to what seems to be an overpriced print center.

0 upvotes
fuego6

This is clearly aimed at the 18-28 crowd... the ones who wear their headphones 24/7 dangling into their "phone pocket" - with some disposable income (whether they have it or not) that want to just pop in and grab some prints from their phone... wireless no doubt! I see FAIL written all over this one. Better would be CVS, Walgreens, Costco, etc just offering this service in their stores... that will succeed... this is doomed!

2 upvotes
Doug Pardee

To be picky about a non-photographic aspect: a careful reading of the press release shows that it's Warren Struhl's Fotobar LLC that will be operating the stores. PLR IP Holdings is providing the Polaroid brand name — for a price, no doubt. It's likely that the only thing "Polaroid" about the stores is the name.

1 upvote
Funduro

This announcement caught my attention. Sure the prints will be priced accordingly . Physical stores have store lease, furniture, retail employees and other overhead that online print outfits don not have. But being able to drive home with large prints within an hour does have its benefit.

1 upvote
Timmbits

Phone camera or SLR, this is an awesome idea.
After seeing printers become obsolete, spending money on them, having them break, and the cost alone of ink and paper, I've stopped buying them, and don't even own one right now.
Just think of the possibilities... you're not going there to just get a printout - you're outputting a high quality print, onto a quality medium - of your kid's face, of your friends meetup - to decorate your wall. It's awesome! How many of us can say that they are able to do that right now? Aside from pros, not many! Oh, and I see you can make tshirs too, and all kinds of other stuff.
I hope for them that this is a profitable and sustainably profitable business model, because I would very much like to go to one every now and then.
I think being able to go, would even be an added motivation when doing photography: imagine the anticipation, when you took a great shot - you can't wait to make a print on bamboo with this! (for example)

1 upvote
fuego6

Yeah.. until you see the price to print on bamboo! Then... you quietly pick up your phone and leave the store...

2 upvotes
Wm Karoly

I think a mall is a brilliant place for a photo print business. Think about it, the mall is an ideal location because of the traffic. I imagine they will get more than just smartphone owners.

0 upvotes
Midwest

I don't see it working. IMO phone cameras (and mine is supposedly a good one) will result in rather crappy prints.

1 upvote
GURL

Such a boring place, really?

This could be the reason they show it as an empty place...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Dédéjr

I like it!! It's okay if you never print, just have to consider, digital files will not stand the test of time so no trace of your photos will exist........

0 upvotes
fuego6

Why? Are they suddenly going to go poof!? Have you not heard of backups and moving your items to new technology as it comes out/gets cheaper? Do you still have boxes of faded images in shoe boxes?

2 upvotes
Dédéjr

Aye cos your ancestors will be interested in your photos you have on the cloud of cause maaaaaate.
Suppose like the kids you talk about above, you are just too damn cool to print, soooooooo last century right?!!

0 upvotes
Benarm

Ugh... I guess its not too long until Polaroid follows the destiny of Kodak and auction off its patents.

2 upvotes
siark

I wonder how much it costs to get prints etc?

0 upvotes
tkbslc

I can actually see this working for a small alcove or mall kiosk, but not enough traffic to warrant renting what appears to be an Apple Store.

2 upvotes
thinkfat

That is most absurd. I have a smartphone, the ultimate mobility device, and I'm supposed to walk into a Polaroid store to have my photos printed?

They'd be better off canning their mushroom and selling that instead.

1 upvote
drh681

Think like a fifteen year old girl for one minute.

3 upvotes
tombiondo

Or a 70 year old grandmother :-)

3 upvotes
Timmbits
2 upvotes
Total comments: 19
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