First up: The Polaprinter GL10, a rechargeable instant printer that uses ZINK paper and lets you print over Bluetooth or USB from cellphones, cameras or laptops. It’s essentially an upgrade of Polaroid’s existing PoGo Mobile Instant Printer, but with better print quality, stylish design and a custom app that lets you tweak photos before printing them.
Next is the Polaroid GL30, which again is re-vamped take on their existing PoGo Instant Camera, but this time the device has been built with a cool retro-looking wedge form factor and doubles as a digital photo frame when it is stood on its lens-end.
The piece-de-resistance however is the Polarez GL20, a curious hybrid of sunglasses, camera and digital photo frame that lets the wearer snap photos of their environment and immediately display the resulting pics on the built-in forward-facing OLED displays. Of the three devices that make up this new Grey Label line, none bears the stamp of the Haus of Gaga more than these babies. Will they sell? Perhaps. But not in any quantities that will be significant. Instead, consider GL20 to be marketing tool – a device that is very Gaga-esque and will no doubt get people talking and create positive buzz for Polaroid, but I think it will stop there. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the GL20s make an appearance in Lady Gaga’s next music video.
I’m not sure what’s more impressive: the fact that this iPhone accessory takes a humble cellphone and turns it into tripod-mountable camcorder, or the fact that the team behind it went from concept to fully-finished and available for shipping product in a little over 4 months.
The Bubo is deceptively simple. It’s basically a smooth piece of anodized aluminum that serves as a video platform for an iPhone. iPhones already have a built-in camera and mic, but what they lack is a way to comfortably hold them while you’re shooting, and there’s no way to add things like lens adapters, external mics or lighting units. The Bubo adds all of these features, plus several tripod mounting points.
When the Bubo goes on sale for pre-order on October 27th, The initial price will be $99 … fairly reasonable for what you get: Included with the OWLE Bubo will be a 37mm .45X wide angle lens, a high quality Vericorder boom microphone, and a silicon iPhone case. The price goes up to $129 after the initial launch.
Interested? Check out their light-hearted but informative video here:
and visit them online: http://www.wantowle.com/
Here’s a view of the back of the Bubo:
Don’t get me wrong, I think it was a brilliant move on Apple’s part to take on the wildly popular Flip video line of super-small camcorders today, by instantly turning every new iPod Nano into a portable video studio.
But I was much more impressed by the addition of an FM tuner. Why? Well for one thing, this feature has been missing from every single iPod since they launched the product back in 2000. That’s nearly 10 years of everyone (give or take a few Apple fanboys) telling them that they should add radio capability.
So either Steve Jobs has proven that he can listen to his customers, or he’s realized that the quarter of the media-player market that Apple doesn’t control is dominated by devices that can play FM radio – including the Microsoft Zune.
Speaking of the Zune, the new Nano borrows a trick from Redmond’s baby: While listening to your favourite FM radio station, you can “tag” the songs you like for future lookup and purchase in iTunes. It’s a killer feature, but it requires that the station you’re listening to supports iTunes tagging, which not all of them do.
I’ve tried to find a definitive list of Canadian stations that have this, but have so far come up empty. Drop a comment below if you know of a good resource for this.
But Apple has not only met the Zune in the radio department, they’ve also upped the ante. The Nano’s FM radio behaves more like a satellite radio receiver than a typical FM receiver: as soon as you tune-in to a station, the iPod starts buffering the audio to memory, allowing you to pause or even scroll back and forth along the recorded timeline. PVR users will identify with this right away as it’s the same thing you get when watching live TV with a PVR.
Nice work Apple, now tell us again why we had to wait a decade?
Update: Apple’s Canadian spokesperson, Simon Atkins, tells me that there are no radio stations in Canada that currently support iTunes tagging. Bummer.