Once celebrated for cameras that made their own prints, Polaroid plans to update the concept this year by selling a portable printer for...
LAS VEGAS — Once celebrated for cameras that made their own prints, Polaroid plans to update the concept this year by selling a portable printer for images on cellphones and digital cameras.
And like those old Polaroid instant-film cameras, the new printers should have a wow factor: They require no ink, because they employ a thermal-printing technology from startup Zink Imaging.
The 8-ounce printers, a bit bigger than a deck of cards, are due to go on sale around back-to-school time for about $150, Polaroid and Zink announced Monday at the International Consumer Electronics Show.
Once connected to a phone or camera by Bluetooth wireless or the USB port, the printers need less than a minute to churn out 2-inch-by-3-inch pictures, which can be peeled off a backing and used as stickers.
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Sheets of paper for the device will cost about 40 cents each, less if bought in bulk.
The Zink technology, which uses heat to activate minuscule dye crystals embedded in the photo paper, won raves at the influential Demo conference a year ago.
But until the CES announcement, Zink had not lined up any partners who would bring its technology to market.
Polaroid is a natural fit, and not just because of its photo-printing history. Zink was founded in 2005 by private investors who bought many technologies from Polaroid as it was coming out of bankruptcy protection. Now Zink and Polaroid are based in the same complex in Waltham, Mass.
Zink also announced that Tomy would be its partner in Japan. Prices and availability dates were not disclosed.
Another mobile printer with thermal paper debuted at CES, though it is much larger and designed for businesspeople.
The $300 Printstik from Canada-based Planon Systems Solutions weighs less than 2 pounds but prints in black and white, in the familiar 8 ½-by-11-inch paper dimension.
After connection via USB cord or Bluetooth wireless, the Printstik can churn out paper copies to ease the eyes of people who tire of reading text on the small screens on devices like BlackBerrys.