CES 2011: Lady Gaga Introduces Polaroid's New Product Line
CREDIT: Stuart Fox
LAS VEGAS - Rumors that she would soon be arriving had circulated through CES 2011 all morning, and as the clock for Polaroid's Grey Label (GL) product launch presentation counted down to zero, the crowd around the stage had grown to more than 100. Then, up on the dais, beside a golden mannequin and Polaroid chairman Bobby Sager, Lady Gaga emerged to unveil what could well be the future of instant photography.
Sure, there was the new line of Polaroid instant cameras, the GL20, whose black shell and boxy frame recalled the company's classic offerings. But it was the small printer that Sager and Gaga claimed would change the game. The cell phone, they both conceded, was the camera of the future . With the G10 printer, a device small enough to fit in a tiny handbag, anyone could transform their non-Apple mobile phone into a Polaroid instant camera.
"To innovate, we can't just think outside the box, we need to crush the box," Sager said.
The printer prints three–by-four-inch pictures in 40 seconds, and uses an ink-free process. The G10 printer will come out in May, and will retail for $149.
As Gaga demonstrated the device, candid shots of nubile hipster girls and androgynous hipster boys snaked around the stage, each one rendered with a 1970s rec room style so grimy they could double as outtakes from an American Apparel photo shoot. But the display wasn't the only area where Polaroid basked in nostalgia for its earlier days. The G10 printer itself honors that history by giving users the option of printing their pictures with Polaroid's trademark white border, instead of using the default full-frame print.
"Now I will take a picture of all of you. Smile, you're so f---ing famous," Gaga said as she trained her BlackBerry's camera on the excited crowd. "Wait, uh, I just took a picture of the Canon [camera company] sign."
And what about that gold mannequin? Across its face sat a pair of chunky sunglasses that constituted the third element of the Grey Label line. Inspired by the notoriously light-averse but publicity-hungry Gaga, the GL30 sunglasses contain a camera — which can be used for still photography or video — embedded within the frames. The user can snap photos of whatever they see, and then transfer the pictures via Bluetooth, or through the USB plug located in the earpiece.
Time has not been kind to Polaroid, as any digital camera from upscale SLRs to junky lenses on the back of a prepaid cell phone can replicate the pictorial instant gratification that built the company. But with the Fame Monster herself in their corner, along with a potent mixture of retro style with futuristic technology, the Grey Line could be Polaroid's ticket back to relevancy.