Zink and Polaroid's inkless printers hit stores this Sunday

After years of gestation, Zink Imaging will finally get its ink-free printers into the U.S. market this Sunday with the launch of the Polaroid PoGo in Best Buy stores.

Zink, whose name means “zero ink,” has talked about its innovative technology for some time. It basically embeds chemical dyes inside paper. It passes the paper through a heater, which melts the dyes in the right places to create images on a piece of paper.

The cool benefit about removing the liquid ink is that it lets Zink create portable printers for things like camera phones where you don’t have to worry about spilling ink. The Bedford, Mass., company spun out of Polaroid years ago. But Polaroid  is the first licensee to get a Zink-enabled printer to market. The Polaroid PoGo goes on sale July 6 in Best Buy and July 20 in Target stores. The device is already selling in some parts of Europe.

The PoGo is a pocket-sized digital photo printer that can make 2-inch by 3-inch prints sent from Bluetooth-enabled cell phones and Pictbridge-compatible digital cameras. Zink envisions a wide range of other kinds of printers. While its licensees will make devices, Zink hopes to make money off paper sales.  Zink bought a Konica Minolta manufacturing facility in North Carolina to make the paper and raised $25 million in 2007.

Investors included the Petters Group. The company unveiled its product for the first time at DEMO in January, 2007.


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