Polaroid plans retail Fotobars to print out your pics
Tries 20th century solution to company woes
In a bizarre business plan that had El Reg checking if it weren't April already, Polaroid has announced a plan to open 10 shops in the US this year offering photo printing from customer's smartphones.
Visitors to the retail units, dubbed Fotobars, will be able to upload their photos from cameras and smartphones wirelessly to in-store terminals, where they can be cleaned up by staff called "phototenders". The amended pictures can then either be uploaded to social-media sites then and there, or customers can order a mounted copy on a variety of frames and have them shipped within a few days.
The first Fotobar, a 2,000 square foot outlet in Delray Beach, Florida, will open next month, and the company has plans for 10 more across the US, including branches in New York, Las Vegas, and Boston. The company says it expects them to become "a recreational and entertainment destination in addition to a place to shop."
"There are currently around 1.5 billion pictures taken every single day, and that number continues to grow in tandem with the popularity and quality of camera phones," said Warren Struhl, founder and CEO of Fotobar, in a statement
"Unfortunately, even the very best of those pictures rarely ever escape the camera phone with which they were taken to be put on display around our homes and offices. Why? Because turning those pictures into something tangible, creative and permanent is neither easy nor fun. Polaroid Fotobar stores are going to change all of that."
Or so he hopes – we have our doubts. Given that you can get basic printouts and image manipulation at pretty much any US pharmacy, and home photo printers are cheap and plentiful (Polaroid even sells its own), it's difficult to see what would entice people into the Fotobars in the first place – particularly if you have to wait for your prints.
But rationality is something that's been lacking from Polaroid's management for years. Ever since the company first filed for bankruptcy back in 2001, Polaroid has been passed around fund managers, all of whom have tried new schemes to get the company back on its feet – with a singular lack of success.
While the self-developing photographic cameras that gave the company its initial popularity are no longer made, the company is still in the electronics field. In 2010 the company appointed Lady Gaga as its creative director, a move which failed to ignite sales or tempting new designs. Still it continues to sink into obscurity.
"Polaroid has always been about much more than just taking pictures," said Polaroid president and CEO Scott Hardy. "Polaroid Fotobar retail stores represent a perfect modern expression of the values for which we have stood for 75 years. We are very excited about the opening of these stores, and the opportunities they will create for millions of consumers to have classic Polaroid experiences." ®
Am I missing something?
How is this different than popping to Boots, Tesco's or a million and one other shops and using one of the self service machines, or if less of a rush, using the like of Boots photo services?
Don't think it will work
but they have the right idea.
My parents have physical folders upon folders of pictures of me from my childhood. I believe they are called photo albums. These albums are around 40 years old. They have other photo albums that are closer to 60 years old.
Contrast that with the calls I get all the time, because I'm the techy guy that can usually help, from a family member whose SD card or flash disk has just died, with the last several years worth of digital photos he hasn't duplicated elsewhere, who is horrified to find out he either has to accept they are gone, or try something like an Ontrack recovery that can cost up to £5K.
A service like this is needed, simply because people can't be bothered turning their digital pics into something more tangible either by printing them out themselves, or backing them up. I just can't really see how it can be made profitable tho.
That stops people using insta-sodding-wotsit is good. Now if it makes them pause for a instant (sic) before posting their rubbish on facewotsit then it might stop humanity drowning in its own stupidity.