Polaroid Releases First Printer from Gaga’s Grey Label

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Polaroid officially released the GL10 Instant Printer, the first product to market from the new Grey Label, the Lady Gaga inspired line announced at CES 2011. The Grey Label family will include the GL10 Instant Printer and two other already announced products, as well as a “smart camera phone,” software, and a “whole ecosphere” of other items collaboratively designed with Lady Gaga, said Polaroid Chairman Bobby Sager, at a press event in New York City.

“We won’t just think ‘outside the box.’ We’ll crush the box,” Sager contended, in a presentation at the launch event for the GL10 – a small, portable instant printer designed for use with images stored in cell phones, PCs, and digital cameras.

In an interview with PrinterComparison at the launch, Sager later outlined his broader vision for the Grey Line as well as the role Lady Gaga plays in product design.

Helped by a booth appearance from Gaga herself, Polaroid originally disclosed plans for its first three Grey Label products at CES in January. Rounding out the trio are a pair of camera glasses and a digital instant all-in-one combining a printer, digital photo frame, and digital camera in the same device.

Available immediately at Bloomingdale’s flagship store in Manhattan, the GL10 can also be pre-ordered at Polaroid.com. In conjunction with the printer rollout, Polaroid rolled out an Android app (downloadable from the Android Market) for enhancing digital images with borders and special filters before printing.

At a ceremony in front of the store on Thursday, Polaroid and Bloomindale’s mutually unveiled a Bloomingdale’s window display featuring sexy-looking Lady Gaga mannequins and gigantic models of the GL10 printer.

During the interview at Bloomindale’s Sager told me that the Grey Label’s wider ecosphere will revolve around consumer hardware and software for “capturing, sharing, and printing” images. The line-up will “absolutely” include a “smart camera phone,” he revealed. Image editing software is also in the works.

All Grey Label products will need to have “something ‘Polaroid’ about them,” Sager elaborated, pointing to Polaroid’s long-time heritage in instant printing. “Someone will have to convince me that this is a product Polaroid should do.”

Although engineers in Polaroid’s R&D department are actually crafting the consumer products, Lady Gaga is taking a highly active role as a “30,000-foot inspirational person,” the Polaroid chairman told me. “We didn’t want just some kind of celebrity spokesperson.”

The singer participates in and makes suggestions at Polaroid product planning meetings, according to Sager. Polaroid used input from Gaga in deciding on the GL10’s leather-and-brushed metal casing, for example. On another future product, which Sager wouldn’t specify, Lady Gaga has given advice about “colors and where the buttons should be.” Added Sager: “She’s very interested in how to make the products ‘cool,’ and in how people will use the products in their daily lives.”

Sager said Polaroid has already signed on for one three-year contract for Lady Gaga’s service, that he expects to ink her to at least one more three-year contract, and that she might even take an equity stake in Polaroid. Polaroid’s new GL10 printer uses 3 x 4-inch ZINK paper. The ZINK technology is made up of a mixture of CYM dye crystals. The heat from the camera activates the crystals to create photo images.

The new 15-ounce printer is larger than Polaroid’s previous Pogo Instant Mobile Printer, and it prints out much more quickly, producing photos in less than one minute, Sager told me.

Priced at $169.99 for the printer and $19.99 for thirty sheets of ZINK paper, the GL10 will also become pre-orderable at hsn.com stating on May 27. Availability will expand to other “select” Bloomingdale’s stores nationwide starting in late June.

Polaroid plans to spill more details about the Grey Label sunglasses upon releasing the sunglasses just before Christmas of this year. Additional information about the digital picture frame all-in-one will be issued when that product becomes available in the fourth quarter of 2011 or the first half of 2012, a Polaroid spokesperson said at the New York City press event.

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