There’s a great irony happening with pictures: We’re all taking more of them than ever, but few of us are displaying them in the real world. Instead, they sit on Facebook and Instagram collecting likes and digital dust, until TimeHop reminds us of that great day we had a year or two later.
One of the main reasons for this is our habits have changed substantially. For a long time, photos were analog and required going to a store to get them developed. Then, in the digital age, they required a workflow that consisted of: taking the picture, attaching the camera to your computer, copying the photos into a program, hooking up a printer, and crossing your fingers that the thing that printed kind of resembled the photo you took. Add in the headache of having to conserve printer ink and it’s easy to see why we’ve all fallen out of love with having physical copies of our photos. There’s no question that taking a picture in a second, and uploading it to social media with a couple of taps is now the preferred method. Still, there’s nothing quite like holding an actual photo in your hands.
Polaroid wants to mix the best of both worlds with its new printer, the Polaroid ZIP. You can connect to the printer via Bluetooth or NFC, and print photos instantly using Polaroid’s app. The app is capable of printing single photos or mini-collages on 2-by-3-inch sheets of paper. Yes, that’s small, but these are meant to be instantly shareable and stuck on the bottom your computer monitor or fridge, rather than hung on your wall. The idea is to have a small, instant physical copy of the picture you just took. If you’re looking of a neat way to hang your nicer photos on your wall, I’d suggest Fracture instead.
The ZIP has three things going for it that hindered the usefulness of traditional printers: It’s portable, runs on a rechargeable battery, and doesn’t require ink. Portability and rechargeable batteries have become common parts of all modern-day gadgets. They’re still nice features to have in a printer like this, but the ZIP’s inklessness is its most interesting feature. Instead of ink, the ZIP uses heat to burn your image onto a sheet of zink paper. The result is a photo that you can touch instantly without fear of smudging. This is a huge win. How many pictures have you ruined by touching photo paper before it was dry? It also makes this device more kid-friendly, since they’re not used to the mandatory wait time.
Polaroid’s ZIP isn’t the perfect solution for everyone, but it’s trying to bridge the digital and analog divide by giving you some of the best of both worlds. You get a real wallet-sized photo to share with your friends or stick on your fridge before forgetting about it, and don’t have to worry about smudges or toner. The biggest setback I can see is that the paper it uses is proprietary, so you’ll need to buy more sheets of it. Thankfully, they’re reasonably priced and part of the novelty is getting to think about which shots you actually want to print. I could see this being a big hit at birthday parties instead of renting a photo booth.
Source by: Business Insider