If you've been wondering whatever happened to the good old Polaroid brand you may have grown up with, we have an answer. The company has reinvented itself in the digital age and is now going strong as it rolls through 2014 with several new imaging products along with an exciting new photo concept retail store.
As it rolls out those stores across the United States, Polaroid is changing consumers' concepts about what to do with their images after they've captured them.
Tech Times recently caught up with Polaroid CEO Scott Hardy to find out what's currently going on with this iconic photo brand and what lies ahead. Part I of our conversation ran yesterday and Part II begins below.
Tech Times: Can you update us on how the Fotobar retail concept is doing?
Hardy: We're very excited about what is happening with our Fotobar retail concept as we are now up to five locations in the U.S., with four in Florida and one in Las Vegas, Nev. We are giving consumers a chance to get very creative with their photo output.
We have also just announced that we have expanded this retail concept as a franchise opportunity. Polaroid Fotobar has embarked on a national growth plan by offering the concept as a franchise. We are seeking single and multiunit operators with a commitment to exceptional customer service and the resources to open their first unit within nine months.
There are a variety of design options for franchisees, including a traditional 1,400-square-foot store and a micro-retail experience. Initial investments will range from $135,000 to $439,000, depending on the type of Polaroid Fotobar concept selected.
The basic idea here remains providing consumers with options for their photos, wherever they reside -- in cameras or smartphones and on Facebook, Instagram and other digital platforms -- to create prints and custom photo products either in store or online.
Tech Times: Smartphones have certainly claimed their place among the masses as a legit image-capture device. Are we at the stage yet where they are going to soon completely replace point-and-shoot cameras?
Hardy: Not quite yet, as smartphones still have some limitations, one of those being they are topping out at a 3x zoom experience for consumers. Weatherproofing is another limitation, so the point-and-shoot digital camera market has continued to innovate in these areas as a result. But yes, traditional digital cameras are becoming a specialized market now and smartphones are improving their imaging capability constantly, so let's see what the future holds here.
Tech Times: There are predictions that close to 1 trillion images will be captured by the end of this year. Based on that number, can you tell us your thoughts on how consumers will organize, store and share their exploding image collections in the years ahead?
Hardy: That's a great question and we agree, consumers need help in this area. They need a better way to be able to document their lives with all the images they are taking today. We are constantly looking at ways to help consumers in this area and we actually do have a big announcement forthcoming on this front, an exciting partnership that we'll be announcing soon. You're correct about this being an issue that needs to be addressed and people are taking more images today than at any time in the past, so solutions here are vital.