Polaroid is planning to launch a "digital modem camera" that can upload images directly to the Internet without a connection to a PC, company officials said. The device "allows you to capture images, plug into any phone line, and upload," said Terence O'Hagan, group marketing manager for consumer electronics at Polaroid, who displayed a prototype at the show. "We're trying to recreate the instant experience in the digital space," he said. O'Hagan also showed a "digital picture frame" which can download images, suggesting that users could, for example, send vacation snapshots over the Net to a relative back at home. Additionally in the lineup, said O'Hagan, are a series of photo printers that can operate independently of a PC. He displayed a model which he said communicates wirelessly with the "digital picture frame" via the IrDA (Infrared Data Association) infrared standard. Future models, he added, will use Bluetooth or other radio signal technology. Analysts say Polaroid is staking its future on the growth potential of digital photography. Gerry Purdy, president and chief executive officer of consulting company Mobile Insights Inc., said, "digital cameras will overtake regular cameras in a year or two. Once you have 3 megapixel cameras you basically have as high quality pictures as you can get with any film camera." O'Hagan did not give any details on the specifications, price, or exact launch date of the devices, but Tim Bajarin, president of consulting company Creative Strategies, said the new camera will be available "in the first part of next year".
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