Polaroid—the company that has been teetering on the brink of extinction for a while now—recently came out with a new digital camera powered by Android. I think that’s a good move, but they’re a little late to the game in doing it.
If you remember those old Polaroid cameras, they were all about instant photography and photo sharing. You’d take the picture and it would print out from the camera, right on the spot, and you could share it with a friend.
But somehow, Polaroid missed the shift to digital and stayed with their analog model way too long. That’s why most people don’t own anything by Polaroid anymore.
In reality, Polaroid should have owned digital photography, because the digital revolution was easy to see. In fact, it was here long before the first cell phones. I know this for a fact because I was writing about digital photography as early as 1983. Unfortunately, Polaroid didn’t see digital photography as a hard trend; they saw it as a soft trend. Remember, hard trends will happen; soft trends might happen.
Because Polaroid failed to see digital photography for what it really was, today they’re playing a big catch-up game. And even with their latest release, they still have a lot of catching up to do. Their newest release, The Polaroid SC1630 Smart Camera, features a high definition 16 megapixel camera with built in 3X optical zoom, touch screen display, and Wi-Fi, making uploads to social networks as easy as the touch of a button. But let’s face it…every Android phone has a camera. Every iPhone has a camera. So what they’re really giving us here is a little better lens and a zoom, which the smart phones can do now in a digital way as well.
Do we have a lot of innovation taking place here from Polaroid? No. It sounds good and it looks good. But in reality, they aren’t offering anything most people haven’t already owned for quite a while. It just didn’t have the Polaroid name on it.
So from a technology futurist’s point of view, Polaroid has to stop playing catch up and start innovating if they want to reclaim their spot as the leader in photography sharing.