Random Thoughts – Randocity!

Rant Time: Polaroid Zip and App

Posted in botch, business, california, fail by commorancy on January 5, 2019

polaroid-zip-printerI haven’t ranted in quite a while and it’s time, especially considering this is the new year. Polaroid is the target of my tirade today. Let’s explore.

Polaroid Zip

The Polaroid Zip is a small pocket photo printer priced around $99. You can sometimes find it on sale. But, don’t go out and buy it before you read this article!

There are a number of these small pocket Zink paper photo printers available such as the Polaroid Zip, the HP Sprocket, the Canon IVY, the LifePrint, the Kodak Mini2 and even the not-so-pocket-sized zInk Happy photo printer. Every one of these printers depends entirely on an app designed by the company selling the printer. In fact, without this app, the printer device is an entirely useless brick… they don’t support Airprint!

Useless is exactly what Polaroid Zip has become when Polaroid updated its software with a major update in mid 2018. The formerly working app, which was a just a slight bit rough around the edges, worked to produce high quality prints. This latest 2018 app version is a piece of trash the size of Mount Everest, once you toss all of these now useless Polaroid Zip printers into a mound at the landfill.

The updated app is entirely junk!

The Dangers of Portable Devices with Apps

I have no idea what compelled Polaroid (C&A Marketing) to toss out the older, completely working app and replace it with a broken piece of junk. However, it completely spells out the danger of buying into these app enabled devices.

In yesteryear, we used to buy printers which had standard printer drivers that would simply just print from any app capable of printing. On iOS, these are known as Airprint printers. With the introduction of the Polaroid Zip and similar devices, this is no longer a concept in the printer industry. Now, you must using a single proprietary app to funnel and print your images. If the app breaks, you can’t print.

I’m not sure WHY this standardization change made its way out of the printer industry, but I don’t like it one bit. It makes the devices far less flexible than their distant printer brethren and it makes printing images far more complicated than it needs to be. I don’t want to have to always use your stupid little app just to print an image. I want to be able to print from any app on my phone. Being tied to and dependent on your stupid little app is not only an asinine requirement, it’s insanely stupid. Please, just open your printer up to iOS as an Airprint device. Let us use whatever app we want to use. I don’t want to be dependent on your stupid app that you can hack up and break at the drop of a hat.

Polaroid as a Poster Child

I’m sorry that I have to rail so hard against Polaroid, but they made their bed and now they must lie in it. It’s their app and they ruined a perfectly good printing device by producing such a crap app to go with it.

The older app was at least functional, had semi-intuitive tools and simply just worked. This new app requires jumping between multiple screens, has tools buried in several different places, is more complicated to use, they removed “magic” enhancements designed to print images correctly on Zink paper and overall hobbled the printer.

Worse, now you have to waste tons of paper because you have to tweak and retweak the image OUTSIDE of the app to get a decent print out of the printer. The Zink paper is expensive and wasting sheet after sheet just to get a print is stupid and costly! With the old app, I never wasted one sheet. What I saw on screen was what I got out of the printer (pretty much). This new app provides no such predictable output. What you see on the screen is definitely not what you’ll get out of the printer… and this is why this newest 2018 update is such a #FAIL on Polaroid’s part.

Get With The Program, Polaroid

Polaroid, do the right thing! Pull that crap of an app from the store and revert to the older app version. Let your new developer update that crap app to the point where it is at the same level as the older app. That might take 6 months to 1 year. Whatever it takes, just do it.

For now, remove that app from the store and put the old one back. This new one sucks hard and doesn’t work. Right now, my printer is a useless $99 brick. Polaroid, do you want to reimburse me my money?

Class action lawsuit anyone?

If you’ve had a similar experience with your pocket photo printer from another brand, please leave a comment below and let me know.


5 Responses

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  1. clay rush said, on August 13, 2020 at 12:25 am

    I’m with you on this one for sure! I mean what kind of asinine flipping idiot thought it was okay to just leave us with this crap app that is so difficult to use that I just want smash the thing after printing a whole pack of pictures only to have a pile of photos all shifted off the side, perfectly dancing around the actual part of the picture i am trying to frame. All the stupid little stickers only show up some of the time and many more flaws I am so glad i bought a bunch of film for this crap app to fudge up. Thanks Polaroid. I will never buy another polorid product again because of my dissatisfaction with this app. I would possibly consider trying a new product if they fixed this retarded app or at least opened its use to others.
    Note: I’m running the app on a galaxy note 10


  2. Sandra Gray said, on June 27, 2020 at 8:51 am

    Having the same issue. It keeps telling me I have to update the firmware and when I do it downloads something but then when I go back to print it tells me I still have to download it. Can’t print anything on my polaroid zip now.


    • commorancy said, on July 3, 2020 at 5:38 am

      Hi Sandra,

      Thanks for your comment. Whomever is managing the app for this device doesn’t have a clue and honestly they don’t care about those of us who paid for the printer. If someone could reverse engineer the software on this device and then produce an alternative application for it, many people be grateful.


  3. Kelly Oliver said, on July 20, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    Yes, complete piece of junk.
    Should be a civil suit for sure. What a rip off. Never worked well, doesn’t work at all now.


    • commorancy said, on July 21, 2019 at 2:23 pm

      Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for commenting. I’ve had to abandon using the app and the printer device. A shame too, because I have a fair amount of paper left over. So, yes, there should be a lawsuit against Polaroid for wasting so much consumer money and ripping consumers off. Companies that make these negative changes need to be taught hard legal lessons that will resonate through not only that company, but through the industry as a whole. Basically, these lawsuits need to drive this point home… “If a company screws up an app and renders a device useless, that company can be brought up on charges.” There should be an implicit legal agreement that any company selling a product must agree in order to do business with consumers. The agreement is that a company that relies on an app to drive their hardware product must provide a working product for the entire life of the product. If they fail to uphold this agreement, they are in breach of this agreement and, the FCC and other consumer protection agencies must step in to help the consumer.

      I might suggest a class action suit. Unfortunately, class action suits don’t really drive this point home. The problem with class action suits is that they end up being settled for pennies on the dollar. Consumers get a pittance (usually under $5 in credit). The only money made from a class action suit is by the lawyers. They can reap a million dollars or more. But, consumers effectively get nothing… and sometimes actually get literally nothing.

      However, I will also state that the device did work at least reasonably well with the previous software version. The software was clumsy and buggy in places, but the output print quality at least remained what was promised. Unfortunately with the latest version, the software is not only even more clumsy and buggy, it can’t even produce a quality printed image at all. It’s effectively dumpster material.

      Unfortunately, the US government climate is so pro-business, particularly with Trump in charge, that there’s no way any lawsuit filed against a company like Polaroid could win. That could change after the 2020 election, but that change is likely to be very slow in coming as the government will be too busy mopping up after Trump’s mess to work on helping consumers.


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