« New Media at Princeton University | Main | The Lean Forward Moment: Creating Compelling Stories »

Instant Photography: Polaroid Pogo and Dell Wasabi Printers

Instant photography is back! The magic of the old Polaroid instant cameras was the satisfaction of having that physical, tangible photo to show around and save. Showing your digital photos on the screen of your mobile phone is just not that same, and you really can't stick your phone on your wall or fridge for decoration.

The magic behind this is ZINK (Zero-Ink) printing technology, photo paper embedded with dye crystals that "print" from heat, with no ink cartridges or ribbons required. So you can print little 2 x 3 inch borderless photos in about a minute. And these prints are ready for fun: they come out dry to the touch, and are smudge-proof, water-resistant, fade-resistant, and virtually tear-proof. Plus, they have a peel-off sticky back for scrapbooks or decorating. These cost around 33 to 40 cents per print, with 10-packs for $4.99, and 30 packs for $9.99.

So last summer Polaroid introduced the Polaroid PoGo Instant Mobile Photo Printer, which prints wirelessly from mobile phones (by Bluetooth), or from digital cameras using a USB cable (using PictBridge technology).

The printer itself is about the size of a digital camera (a bit larger than a deck of cards, at around 4.7 x 2.8 x 0.9 inches), and weighs 8 ounces. It uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and can print 15 prints per charge. The Pogo Printer is available for $149, in black and red.

And Dell has just announced their version of this idea -- the Dell Wasabi PZ310 Wireless Mobile Printer. It adds a button to reprint the last image, and is available in vibrant pink, black and blue.

Dell is running an introductory promotional price of only $99, with the regular price at $149.

So now you can take some shots with your camera phone, review them on the display, and then choose "Print to Bluetooth" (or similar) to transmit the photo to the printer -- and have a print ready to share in about a minute.

Of course, the obvious next step is to get back to the instant camera, which is exactly what Polaroid announced at the CES conference -- the new Polaroid PoGo Instant Digital Camera, a 5 megapixel camera with integrated instant printer. It has a 3" LCD display, SD slot for expanded memory, and is 4.7 x 3 inches and 10 ounces. It's due in March for $199.

You'll still have to add the white instant photo frame around the picture yourself.

See my Digital Photo Cameras Gallery for more on photo printers and other digital camera accessories

Find the Polaroid Pogo Printer and Pogo Camera on Amazon.com.

Manifest Tech Site