You know how a traditional photo lab works, right? You go into a red room with your film negatives and treat them with developer, stopper, fixer, and clearing solutions until you get a visible, accurate result. Well, what if you want to develop and print a photo taken with your phone? It's simple: buy Polaroid's $130 optical scanner-printer called the Polaroid Lab.
Ah yes, Polaroid - once a major force in the world of photography is now just a brand name slapped on random products (like home security cameras and TVs). Back in May, the company was sold again to another group of investors. But it looks like the new owners are happy to continue Polaroid's current product lines, as two new phones and a tablet were just announced.
Believe it or not, Polaroid does still exist. The company is no longer the entity it once was, living on now as a shell to license the brand and forge hardware partnerships. Still, Polaroid has something new at CES you might find interesting; a new line of 4K TVs with Google Chromecast built-in. They start at just $499.
Polaroid is one of many dead brands used to sell mediocre electronics, including smartphone and tablet lineups running Android. C+A Global, with a license to use the Polaroid brand, revealed the Polaroid Hoop security camera at CES today.
Claiming to adhere to the 'Polaroid brand DNA elements,' the Hoop is your run-of-the-mill home security camera. It has a 1080p camera with a 140-degree lens, can be mounted to walls, and runs off battery packs or AC power. Additionally, the Hoop has a "weatherproof construction," so it should be able to withstand usual outdoor conditions.
You would be excused if you saw the name "Polaroid" in any news title and glossed over it. The company isn't nearly synonymous with hip and cool technology anymore and it rarely, if ever, makes the Android news cycle. But Polaroid isn't going down easy, it wants a piece of that sweet mobile photography pie that other manufacturers are tossing around like last night's stale pizza. So it's back at CES this year, not with an Android-based camera, but with actual smartphones. Unlocked and decent smartphones, at least on paper.
Snap is the first of the two new Polaroid devices and it's about bringing the camera to the very midrange to low-end market.
The current era may be captured by smartphones, but the previous one was caught on film by Polaroid. The company's cameras printed out photos just after they were captured, with photographers shaking the results to help them dry (a gesture Polaroid says can actually damage the picture these days).
A poorly-named successor aimed at hip, young smartphone users—the Socialmatic—has been in development to introduce this functionality to a new generation. Polaroid announced the Android-powered camera at last year's CES. This year it will soon be available from Polaroid (eventually), Amazon (January 15th) and Photojojo (end of this month) for $299.99. Polaroid sent out a press release today saying the product is now shipping, but none of the sites above have been updated to match this information.
Making Android-powered cameras isn't something new for Polaroid, but that doesn't mean it's the first company to come to mind when thinking of capturing digital photos (and for good reason). On the other hand, the company's old instant printing cameras call upon an altogether different set of memories. So now the company is shaking things up by re-introducing the premise it's known for. Not only can the Socialmatic instantly share pictures to social networks like any other Android-toting camera out there, it can instantly print them out to a 2"x3" sheet of paper.
To be fair, Socialmatic isn't being developed by Polaroid.
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.
Not to be outdone by Nikon and Samsung, Polaroid has taken the wraps off of its previously leaked new Android-powered camera, the iM1836. Past its super-clever and easy-to-remember (not really) name, this offering weds an 18.1MP mirrorless body, 3.5" display, and built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with Android 4.1 for an out-of-the-box hoot of a good time.
While there's no tentative release date for the iM1836 right now, the camera is already tagged with a price of $399, which includes a 10-30mm lens. That's a pretty reasonable price for a mirrorless compact, especially considering its versatility over the competing offerings from Samsung and Nikon.