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Polaroid debuts pocket-size photo printer

The photo company pairs with Zink for wireless, inkless picture printing aimed at tech-savvy teens.

The PoGo inkless printer produces wallet-size pictures that can be turned into stickers. James Martin/CNET

Polaroid, the company that brought the world the iconic snap-and-print camera, is ready to introduce a new instant-photo product fit for the Digital Age. The PoGo, a mobile, inkless printer with a cute name, is small enough to fit in a pocket and prints wallet-size pictures that can be turned into stickers.

The company--which continues its attempt to transition from an analog past to a digital future--hopes the Polaroid-on-the-go will revolutionize instant photo printing.

PoGo in pocket
The PoGo is small enough to fit in a pocket. James Martin/CNET

Polaroid showed the little 8-ounce PoGo to CNET on Tuesday. The product receives images via Bluetooth from a camera cell phone or through a USB cord from any digital camera. Then it uses inkless Zink technology to heat up the photo paper and bring out the colors embedded in the paper's dye crystals.

Without ink heads, printers can be smaller and save money on ink. However, the Zink paper will still cost extra--an average of 35 cents per print. Future plans include larger prints that rely on the the same mobile, inkless concept.

Jon Pollock, vice president and general manager of product planning and new technology at Polaroid, said the product is aimed at teens and young adults who want to print from their cell phone cameras and get instant access to their shots.

The back side of the photos can be peeled, turning pictures into stickers--perfect for slapping on an unsuspecting victim's back, but ideally used for decorating or making collages.

Although Polaroid sells digital cameras and other gadgets, it almost missed the digital wave. Pollock admitted the company suffered about five years ago when it still dealt with analog cameras, but it appears ready to climb back to the top of the photography world. By 2009, the classic instant Polaroid camera will finally fall by the wayside. Pollock said the PoGo is its replacement.

Polaroid's PoGo will be available at Best Buy on July 6 and in most department stores by the fall. The printer retails for $149.