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Home » Opinion

Cool Link: Engadget – Polaroid SC1630 Android HD smart camera hands-on

Submitted by on January 16, 2012 – 4:42 am 9 Comments

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make CES, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year. Reading the recaps, though, there are two new gizmos this year that I find really intriguing. One of them is Polaroid’s new venture into instant digital photography, the SC1630. It’s basically a Polaroid-branded digital camera with an Android-based smartphone. Engadget.com had one of the best recaps of the new device that I’d read. The link and my thoughts on the SC1630 after the jump. >>>

According to an Engadget story, it’s an update and rebrand of last year’s 14 megapixel Aigo A8 camera phone. As far as camera phones go, the specs say the new Polaroid is a sexy device. For stills, the camera supports a huge 16 megapixel resolution — that’s twice the resolution of the iPhone 4S. It has a 3X optical zoom in addition to any digital zoom software or apps may have. In test photographs I’ve seen, the color was rich and natural. According to Engadget, the camera has proprietary Polaroid compression technology to reduce file size and conserve bandwidth. It’s got a lot of sweet specs. Check out the entire post on Engadget (link at the end of this post).

The device uses the Android operating system, which means users will be able to download photo apps from the Android Market. Although the Android Market doesn’t have nearly the number of photo apps that are available in the iPhone’s App Store, there are still plenty of crossover photo apps such as Magic Hour, TouchRetouch, Retro Camera Plus, Camera360, BeFunky Photo Editor, and Adobe Photoshop Touch. We’ve reviewed the iPhone versions of many of these apps.

I have a soft spot for Polaroid. One of my first cameras as a kid was the Polaroid Swinger. It took muddy black & white photos and because of the chemistry, each print smelled really bad. But the joys of instant photography were as gratifying to me back then as the joys of iPhoneography and apping is now.

Over the years as film sales declined and the company declared bankruptcy, “Polaroid” became little more than an asset — intellectual property to be licensed out without regard for quality in many cases. Many — not all — of the iPhone apps that Polaroid licensed its name or trademarks to were pretty bad and “Official Poloroid Photo App” became kind of a joke.

To me, Polaroid is synonymous with “Instant Photography.” Edwin Land invented it. I want to see Polaroid succeed as a hardware company. Not only am I excited to see that someone in the Polaroid holding company recognizes the connection between mobile photography and the instant photography that Polaroid pioneered so many year ago, but is also being fairly proactive in getting into the game with a device that on paper is a quality instant mobile phone camera. I’m excited to see how this cameraphone performs in the wild.

It’s scheduled to street this April for $299. No carriers have been announced. I won’t be getting one of these — I love my past, current, and future iPhones way too much. But when they street, I’ll definitely be at the AT&T or Verizon store sending an afternoon getting to know the SC1630.

Here’s the link to the post on Engadget. UPDATE 01.16.12: The post has more hands-on photos and specs. There’s also a link to an earlier post of the Aigo A8 with more photos, video, and sample images.

=M=

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Source: “Polaroid SC1630 Android HD smart camera hands-on, is it a cameraphone or a phonecamera?” by Micheal Gorman, engadget.com.

Marty Yawnick

Marty is a self-employed graphic designer in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex. He is an avid Rangers baseball, Chicago Cubs, Packers and Highbury Arsenal fan. In addition to capturing random moments with whatever camera is close by (usually his iPhone), his other interests include coffee, film, music, and traveling in seats 5E and 5F with his fiancé.

  • http://fredstuff.com/blog/ Fred

    Video and sample images @ Engadget — where? All I see is hands-on photos.

    • http://lifeinlofi.com lifeinlofiblog

      My bad. It was a link to the Aigo A8, the previous model, which has hands on video and sample images. I've updated my post. Thanks Fred.

      • http://fredstuff.com/blog/ Fred

        Oh, I see. No biggie.

  • http://maxsiphotos.tumblr.com Max Berkowitz

    Isn’t this what all really want from our iPhones? I posted this to my blog last week with a reference to an iCam not realizing that this Polaroid camera was also an Android phone!

    Like you Marty I can’t see leaving my Apple iPhone for one of these however and perhaps this changes the game and we can expect Apple to push forth with a similar implementation in the upcoming iPhone 5!

    This would really move things forward exponentially. Here’s hoping…

    • http://lifeinlofi.com lifeinlofiblog

      What I would like to see in the iPhone 5 camera is the optical zoom — even a 3X zoom. I did a post a while back on a new lens from Sony (I think) that electrostatically zoomed and wouldn't alter the physical form factor of the iPhone at all.

      I can't wait to see how this actually shoots.

      =M=

  • michael shaffer

    41% more resolution than the iPhone 4s! … only 79% more “detail” than the iPhone 4

    • http://lifeinlofi.com lifeinlofiblog

      I suspect that this raises the bar for the next iPhone. Just an uneducated guess, but now I suspect that the next generation iPhone has at least 14 MPs, possible 16 MPs. Until I saw this, my guess would have been 11 MPs.

      Speculation is fun!

      =M=

      • Miege

        I’d prefer better sensor, larger lens over higher MP.

  • Mar

    Exactly what I was thinking, camera manufacturers need to think outside the box, and allow for quick capture, apping and sharing (even just on wifi). Going PC-free is the only way they can put themselves in the game again.
    On a relevant note, the beloved Lo-Mob app is available on windows phones. No idea how it is doing over there (what with Thumba being the top photography app and all).

    Do you know of other cross over apps to the windows phone platform?