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Polaroid bets on mobile photos as art

  • Company opening stores for photos from mobile devices
  • Offers various printing, matting and framing options
  • Polaroid: Digital photos will become 'museum-quality art'
Polaroid bets on mobile photos as art

For many people, smartphones and other mobile devices have replaced traditional cameras. But, can you frame a picture from your iPhone and hang it on the wall? Polaroid is betting a lot of you want to do just that.

The company has announced plans for 10 brick-and-mortar stores called Fotobars. The first one is set to open next month in Delray Beach, Florida.

Customers will be able to wirelessly transmit photos from their mobile devices, or from social networks like Facebook and Instagram, and have them printed, matted and framed. Besides standard photo paper, customers can choose such materials as canvas, metal, wood, acrylic, or bamboo. Polaroid will ship the finished product to you within three days.    

"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," Fotobar founder and CEO Warren Struhl 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. Polaroid Fotobar stores are going to change all of that.”

That assumes, of course, that there's a demand for physical stores to do this. Fotobar already is available online. If all you want are prints, there are numerous home photo printers that are compatible with mobile devices, and Costco members can use the warehouse store's app to upload photos from their iPhones and order prints.

No word yet on what various services will cost at Fotobar stores, but prices online can add up quickly. The cheapest option -- a framed 5"x7" picture -- starts at $15.95. But if you have the photo matted, that bumps it into the next size category, which starts at $29.95. And if you want one of the fancier options, like an 8"x10" photo in thick lucite, that'll cost $69.95. A 24"x30" photo mounted on metal will run you $129.95.

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