UPDATE: You can now read the final verdict in our Polaroid Lab review (opens in new tab), where we put the mobile development lab through its paces with color and black-and-white film, and test its augmented reality features.
ORIGINAL STORY: In welcome news to fans of both smartphone photography and retro processing, Polaroid Originals has announced the Polaroid Lab. This is an instant camera product that transforms digital photos into analog prints complete with the retro Polaroid styling.
However, this isn't any ordinary printer. Instead, users select a photo from their smartphone via the Polaroid Originals app. Then, they simply place their phone facing downwards on the specially-designed platform. They then press the red button, which projects the chosen picture onto the film. With a combination of mirrors, light and Polaroid chemistry, the digital photo is then remade as a Polaroid instant print.
• Read more: Best portable printers (opens in new tab)
Oskar Smolokowski, the CE of Polaroid B.V. explains, "Unlimited cloud storage can actually be your memories' worst enemy, causing your digital photos to skyrocket in numbers and end up falling onto a void of oblivion. The idea behind the Polaroid Lab is that it turns your most precious smartphone photos into tangible Polaroid photographs - bringing them into the world as something you can hold in your hand and store on the fridge door rather than in the cloud."
The Polaroid Lab is definitely a new take on the past portable printers that we've seen from the likes of instax and Kodak. We wonder why Polaroid Originals has decided to essentially take a photo of the smartphone screen rather than just uploading the image to the printer via Bluetooth or a wired connection.
Additionally, we're not sure how we feel about the fact that you have to use the Polaroid Originals app, rather than just your native camera app. This seems like a complicated extra step for the traditionally complication-free process of an instant camera product.
However, we're definitely very excited to test this product and see how it performs. As big fans of the analog process, we're crossing our fingers that Polaroid Originals have created a fun product that perfectly bridges the gap between digital and analog. The Polaroid Lab goes on sale 10 October for $130 / £120.