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For a couple of months, I’ve had a small box sitting on a shelf waiting for me to investigate its usefulness for mobile phones.

This morning, I heard the word bluetooth and it reminded me of this box which contains a small bluetooth device. So I pulled the box out and had it working within 10 minutes. For this week, I’ll consider it my favorite geek device.

It’s called the Polaroid Pogo. Those of us who remember the name Polaroid, know that this company is considered the inventors of instant photography that was so pervasive from the 1950 through the 1970s. While Polaroid no longer makes the film/paper packs, the Pogo instead uses a heat sensitive Zink (for zero ink) paper to produce near instant prints. From what I can tell, Polaroid licenses the Zink technology under its own name to take advantage of the historic instant connotation.

The Pogo is small – about the size of a deck of playing cards. Its rechargeable battery makes it very portable. Its primary means of communication is its hidden wireless bluetooth receiver.

There’s also a USB port for connecting directly to cameras that use PictBridge for printing photos (I didn’t test this feature). The Pogo package also includes a small charger/power supply and a 10-pack of Zink printing paper. Refills are also sold in 30-packs as shown here.

Since I hadn’t used the Pogo before, I plugged it into an AC outlet to charge the battery. The setup is a no-brainer: load the Pogo with a pack of zink paper and power it on.

Using my wife’s bluetooth-compatible mobile phone (a Motorola Droid), I chose Settings and scanned for the Polaroid bluetooth device, setting its PIN to “6000”. Then I was ready to print.

I picked a picture from the Droid’s photo gallery and chose Share. The Droid had a list of different options from which I selected Bluetooth and chose the Polaroid device. The small LED on the side of the Pogo started blinking green (lasting about 70 seconds) and then I heard a faint motor turn on. About 40 seconds afterwards a small photo emerged. Fantastic.
I was pleasantly surprised that all of this worked on my first attempt. The photos are small – only 2″ x 3″. The quality is fair – the colors are neither intense nor saturated. They remind me of photos from the 1960s – a little on the faded side. But what a thrill it is to be able to have a hardcopy of a mobile phone picture so easily in just seconds.

Alternatively to print a photograph from a mobile phone snapshot you would have to send it to your email account as an attachment; open the attachment with your favorite PC or Mac photo software and then print it to an attached photo printer (or send it to you preferred photofinisher). While the Pogo isn’t a solution for everyone, it is both convenient and fun to use.

This is a conventional photo as compared to the small 2″ x 3″ Zink photo shown above.

When I bought it, the Polaroid Pogo package was on sale for $30. Hunting around the Internet today, I found it available for about $40. A refill pack of paper good for 30 prints sells for about $10 so an instant print costs a little more than 30 cents each. I didn’t try it with other devices but I will spend some time with my iPad which also has bluetooth built-in. Let’s see if I can get it to work.

I’d characterize the Pogo as a novelty item. It’s main draw is to make souvenir prints for family events or parties. Since so many mobile phones are already equipped with bluetooth, the Pogo can be ready to use in just a few minutes. I’m still having fun. I’m disappointed that the Apple iPhone doesn’t support bluetooth printing.

 

Written by Arnie Lee

 


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