updated 08:35 pm EST, Tue January 10, 2012
16MP unit self-organizes pics, runs apps
Polaroid is attempting to bridge the gap between smartphone cameras and regular point-and-shoot cameras with its new Polaroid SC1630, a "smart camera" powered by Android. The 16-megapixel, 3x optical camera features a touchscreen display and built-in Wi-Fi receiver, allowing users to upload pictures to various social networks and geo-tag pictures. The camera also shoots video and has a feature that can auto-organize images in the camera by date, location or faces.
While the camera offers the advantage of higher resolution, more optical zoom, a larger CCD sensor and better lens quality than can be found on most camera-phones, it features a surprisingly iOS-like Android home screen design, complete with "dock" and "apps," some of which clearly borrow from Apple's designs (image below). The camera features 18 scene modes and offers automatic geo-tagging, smile and face detection. It includes basic editing tools such as cropping, red-eye removal, resizing and color correction. It uses a micro-SD card for up to 32GB of storage.
The camera offers 3.2 inch color touchscreen display and the ability to transfer images to computers via Bluetooth, and the company offers an optional 3G data connection. The device also features an ability to run at least a selection of non-camera Android apps, so users can get directions or play a game by buying or downloading apps from the supported Android Market. The specific version of Android the camera is running has not yet been revealed, though it is unlikely to be using the current v4.0.
Polaroid, which is displaying the camera at CES this week, has not yet announced pricing and will only say that the camera will be available sometime this year. While the idea of offering a high-quality point-and-shoot camera that can borrow features (particularly app use) from smartphones is a good one, it's hard to see how this will dissuade users from preferring to have only one electronic device in their pocket -- their smartphone.