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The Globe and Mail

Polaroid camera-sunglasses could give anyone a poker face

Lady Gaga set the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, abuzz late Thursday, unveiling Polaroid's new line of cameras and accessories - designed under the creative direction of the avant-garde pop musician.

Rumours abounded at CES earlier in the day as attendees speculated about when, where and whether the award-winning author of hits such as Poker Face and Telephone would make an appearance at the show.

The performer, alongside Polaroid chairman Bobby Sager, revealed three new products at the photography brand's booth at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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The three products in Polaroid's Grey Label line: Fashion-forward PolarEZ GL20 visor-style sunglasses that take photos and video, shown to others through 1.7-inch OLED screens in front of both eyes, and that can transmit photos via Bluetooth wireless networking or a USB connection; the GL30 camera, reminiscent of a classic Polaroid camera but that lets users preview a photo on a flip-up screen before printing it out of a slot in the front of the camera body; and the Polarprinter GL10, which accepts photos by Bluetooth for printing on "zero-ink" Zink paper.

"They will be available broadly in some of the most renowned photography channels and resellers," Polaroid president Scott Hardy told The Globe and Mail immediately after the press conference. "It will be available on a global basis. The sunglasses will be available this summer." Mr. Hardy did not disclose pricing for the sunglasses or camera but noted that he expected the printer would sell for around $150.

"These are something I envisioned many years ago," Lady Gaga said, noting that she had made a pair of video glasses using iPod screens for use in her live performances. "I thought, 'Wouldn't this be wonderful if they were functional?' So we created the first ever camera sunglasses that were functional.

"The glasses are very exciting they bring fashion and technology together, we're creating something that's innovative and also functional," she said.

The unveiling, scheduled for 5 p.m., nearly went awry twice when technical glitches kept the increasingly irritated crowd waiting for half an hour, and then again when Lady Gaga announced that the pocket printer was compatible with all Bluetooth-equipped cellphones but not Apple's iPhone - news met by boos and jeers. The musician quickly explained that the exclusion was Apple's, not Polaroids.

Lady Gaga closed her portion of the press conference with a message to Polaroid's chairman: "As a musician and as an artist I want to thank Bobby Sager personally for treating me not as a spokesperson and not as a face for the brand, but they honoured me as a woman, as a creative director, and they really let me put my hands in there and design this s-- myself."

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