So, the idea of an Android-powered camera with a swappable lens intrigues you, yes? Well, last night we got a chance to play with such a device, the Polaroid iM1836... and moral of the story: execution, execution, execution. Polaroid, we think, got it wrong. While we were playing with a pre-production model, I can't help but feel Polaroid took a half-decent idea and managed to totally flub it. First, the video.

Even after a few short minutes with the iM1836, we were able to assemble a formidable list of problems with the device. First, the actual image sensor for the camera is located inside the lens. As you may know, pretty much all cameras have the sensor inside the body - that's kind of the point of having swappable lenses in the first place. Just change the glass, and you're good to go. With Polaroid's solution, you'd have to buy (almost definitely) a Polaroid lens with a built-in sensor. And that sounds expensive. Why have more than one sensor for a single camera? Polaroid's argument is that most consumers are lazy (OK, I'm on board with that) and they'll get the sensor dirty by not covering the body properly when the lens is detached. Maybe there's some logic to this idea, but I know we aren't the only ones who have questioned it.


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Next, the software. Now, this is a pre-production model. I always try to remember that, and temper my sluggishness-rancor in these situations. But the slowness wasn't the issue - the camera app didn't work. Oh boy. The Polaroid PR person told us the camera had been pretty "beat up" throughout the day, but come on - at least make sure your demo unit is functional in the way people are actually going to want to test. We'll take another look at it on the show floor and see if things have improved.

The quality of the housing seems questionable, too - I had to stab at the on/off button maybe three to five times every single time I wanted to turn the display on or off. And the whole thing just felt sort of cheap - which is exactly what you don't want a still-relatively-pricey consumer camera to feel like.

Oh well, maybe next time Polaroid. Maybe next time.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    This thing is getting terrible reviews, at least in its pre-production version. Huge Polaroid fail.

    • Tomi Golob

      I agree ... Polaroid, more like Failaroid am i rite? ?? *crickets' sound in the background*

  • Michael

    Love the Galaxy camera in the background

  • Cherokee4Life

    I will NEVER understand this concept... ever

    • Tomi Golob

      It's the twilight zone

      • Cherokee4Life

        Is it just me or does the red camera look like Wall-E?

  • pint

    One could assume that Polaroid is desperate to fade from the market... first the kid's android tablet, and now this?! I wonder what's next.

  • smeddy

    Love the Galaxy Camera ... so Polaroid could have had a buyer here... But this looks badd...

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=600092244 Wil Alarcon

    I said it before and I'll say it again: Polaroid = crap 99% of the time!

    • Grant Shearer

      Yeah, I vowed never to buy another polaroid product after getting two duds and no customer service for two different products.

  • Tomi Golob

    Every time somebody uses this camera a kitten is punched in its tummy by ninjas...don't buy this crap! Save teh kitteh!

  • McNamaraReport

    This is just another in the continuing line of Polaroid "Concept" products (like 2012's Polaroid Android camera) that will never, ever make it to market. It's purpose is to convince investors that Polaroid is still a viable camera company. And Polaroid even claims it's compatible with 4/3 system lenses (using an adapter). Oh, is the adapter going to include the sensor? Not.