If you’ve not heard about Lady Gaga, you need to get a life. She’s the latest in a line of pop culture singers who explicitly use sex to sell their tunes. Gaga’s outrageous costumes sets her apart from her predecessors including Madonna and Britney Spears. At this week’s CES, Lady Gaga appeared in the Polaroid booth as Polaroid’s “creative director” where she hawked her new Gray Label of Polaroid imaging products. They’re all battery powered so this introduction clearly makes Lady Gaga a low-power designer. Let’s take a look at the three new products.
First, there’s a pair of sunglasses with a camera embedded in them. Here’s what the Polaroid site has to say about the GL20 camera glasses: “Merges Fashion With Photography: Never before has the world seen fashion, photography and technology come together in one, singular product. Tells Your Story to the World: Users can instantly capture or upload photos with the built-in camera and then display the images on the glasses’ LCD screens for others to see. Expresses True Artistry and Originality: Only Lady Gaga could create a hybrid that’s part fashion statement, part revolutionary technology and part tool for self-expression.”
The GL20 Camera Glasses will be available later this year, at a price to be announced. Meanwhile there seem to be a few specs missing such as camera resolution, lens focal length, etc. I guess specs aren’t very important when we’re talking about a designer-label fashion accessory. And indeed, that’s the point here. The technology almost becomes irrelevant. People Young Women will buy these things irrespective of the price or the specs simply because Polaroid has attached Lady Gaga’s name to the product.
Next, there’s a 15-ounce, “purse-sized,” battery-powered Bluetooth color printer called the GL10. It uses embedded-dye ZINK “zero ink” printing technology to emit “full-bleed 3×4 photos in less than a minute.” Lady Gaga says “Your images will no longer die a death on your cell phone or digital camera.”
That’s just so sad. Think of all those dead photos.
The GL10 printer will sell for $149.99 when it goes on sale in May. No word on how much the pack of ZINK paper will cost. Also, no word on the printer’s resolution. Again, specs aren’t important when we’re talking about a designer-label product. What’s important? Here’s the Polaroid answer: “Featuring elegant brushed metal and textured surfaces with leather accents, the simple, clean design and straight forward feature set of the GL10 makes instant photo printing effortless.”
Finally, there’s the GL30 Instant Digital Camera. Now like me, you might have thought that all digital cameras were “instant.” Not so. The Polaroid GL30 merges a digital camera with a ZINK printer, like the one in the Polaroid GL10 printer (they take the same 10-sheet paper cassettes) to produce something that looks vaguely like and works like Polaroid’s SX-70 instant analog cameras from decades past. In fact, the GL30 evokes the SX-70 camera’s quirky and iconic industrial design. No published price or specs from the camera, but again here’s what the Polaroid site has to say: “Reminiscent of Polaroid cameras of the past, the GL30 is clearly a significant departure from a typical camera. Designed for longevity, the GL30 is not only for the future, it’s an object of desire.”
Just like Lady Gaga. Sort of.
So it’s great fun to lampoon these product introductions at CES, but there are important tidbits to glean from these announcements. First, they’re all truly low-power designs. Sticking a camera and color LCDs into sunglasses with batteries and making the item still wearable is a feat. A Bluetooth color printer that fits in a purse and weighs less than a pound is truly interesting. And the latest take on creating an instant camera that still delivers Polaroid’s promise of a “60-second excitement” is also worthy of note.
Now, because I know you can’t resist, here’s the video of Polaroid’s introduction at CES with Creative Director Lady Gaga: