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It’s retro: Polaroid prepares Fotobar store for printing photos from smartphones

Polaroid has managed to exist long after the instant film camera went out of style. Now the company finally has the opportunity to return to its forte. Polaroid is preparing to launch retail stores, called Polaroid Fotobar, that will allow people to edit and print photos from their smartphones.

The company plans to open ten of the Fotobars over the course of 2013 with the first set to open its doors to the public next month in Delray Beach, Florida. The concept is to essentially allow passers-by to walk in, wirelessly send photos from their phone or access them from their social network accounts, and make edits like red-eye removal or adding a filter on the desktop workstations, and print off the finished product.

One of the biggest selling points of the Fotobar is the amount of options available on each step of the process. Sources for images can range from the camera on a mobile device to the photos stored in apps like Instagram and Picasa or shared on Facebook. Editing options will allow for customization in contrast and brightness, along with other means of image manipulation. The picture can be printed on various material like metal or bamboo and then can be framed in any variety of ways. Finished products are shipped out from the Fotobar within 72 hours of completion. Not quite as instant as the original Polaroid cameras, but we’re betting it looks a little nicer.

Plans for the Fotobar don’t seem to stop just at printing pictures. Polaroid appears to want the stores to function as a sort of an analog-style art resurgence, with fine art hanging on the wall as inspiration, an extra studio room for classes, and experts in store to offer tips to customers during their photo development.

While Polaroid is still a notable name in photography, it’s been awhile since the company has really been relevant. Perhaps the Fotobar, along with its new digital cameras, will be its first step back into the mainstream, as we’re sure the company isn’t surviving on hipsters buying vintage cameras from thrift stores.

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