CES 2013: Polaroid teases new Fotobar retail strategy

After a rough few years, Polaroid is hoping to make a comeback through retail. At last week’s CES in Las Vegas, the American company gave attendees a glimpse into its new Fotobar venture - a service that will allow customers to print digital photos at storefronts across the US.

"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," Warren Struhl, founder and CEO of Fotobar, said 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,” Struhl added.

The new strategy will see the launch of 10 brick-and-mortar Fotobars, where users will be able to wirelessly upload photos from their smartphones, tablets, and social networks to the stores’ workstations, where they can then edit and print the images with the help of expert ‘Phototenders’. Users will be able to print their images onto materials, substrates, and frames as varied as canvas, metal, and wood. The final products, which the company complains will be ‘museum-like’, which will be handcrafted and shipped worldwide within 72 hours.

“Some of the most beautiful moments of our lives are "locked" on our phones or computers. Polaroid Fotobar offers a very easy, simple and cost-effective process to transform your favorite digital photos from your phone, computer or camera into extraordinary, cherished pieces of art to personally display in your home or office or to give as specials gift to friends and family,” Polaroid said.

There’s no word yet on pricing or specific details about store locations, but the company let slip that the first Fotobar will open in Florida next month, with additional storefronts set to follow in Boston, Las Vegas and New York.

Also at CES, Polaroid teased its forthcoming iM1836 Android-based camera, an interchangeable lens model with an 18-megapixel sensor built into the lens.