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Tuesday focus: Gadgets

Tue., July 8, 2008

Remember the old Polaroid cameras, which spit out photos moments after the images were captured?

The iconic brand makes that possible again using modern technology.

With the Polaroid PoGo, you can print an image from your mobile phone 10 minutes after taking the device out of the box. And no wires are needed to send the image to this iPod-sized photo printer.

These aren’t 4-by-6-inch prints one makes from home printers. Rather, the PoGo creates 2-by-3-inch prints (about the size of a business card) that double as stickers if you peel the backing off. Even if you don’t, they’re cute enough that you’ll want to share.

The magic of these little prints lies in the fact that the PoGo is portable. You can drop it in a purse or in your cargo pants. It has one button, to turn it on or off, and a USB port to attach a digital camera.

Cameras need to have a technology called PictBridge (most newer models do) and not all Bluetooth-enabled camera phones will work. That includes the iPhone, which doesn’t have the right Bluetooth profile. A list of compatible camera phones – and there are plenty – can be found at

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the PoGo is that it uses no ink. The paper, rather remarkably, is embedded with “100 billion” yellow, magenta and cyan dye crystals that are activated by heat.

It is called Zink, for zero ink, and the PoGo is the first product to use the technology from a company called Zink Imaging. More products are coming, Polaroid said.

If there is a drawback to the PoGo, it is the cost of the Zink paper. Depending on how much you buy, it will cost between 33 cents and 40 cents a print, easily twice the cost of a standard digital print processed by the corner drug store.

Also, the print quality is average. It is better than those old Polaroid instant prints but not as good as professionally processed 4-by-6 prints.

The PoGo is available now at Best Buy for $150 and later this summer from other retailers.

Chicago Tribune


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