Technological trends are always driven by the needs of the marketplace. Mobile hardware has become more and more popular over the last several years, leading many manufacturers to scrap plans for large devices in favor of smaller innovations. And for some older companies, these strategy changes are absolutely necessary to keep their doors open. That’s the situation Polaroid finds itself in. At one time it dominated the photography market. But film is dying a quick and noisy death, and even high-tech Polaroid cameras that swiftly print a hard copy of a photo are more a conversation piece than anything else. That is not the case with their upcoming release, the iM1836. Set to retail for just under $400, this brand new Polaroid camera actually runs with the power of the Android operating system.
Polaroid has attempted to launch a game-changing unit before with mixed results. But this removable lens camera should appeal to those with more than a casual interest in photography. The image sensor is a full-bodied eighteen megapixels. And one unique approach to the design is that the sensor is actually a part of the lens. According to representatives from Polaroid, this design choice was made with the consumer in mind. In standard cameras that switch out lenses the image sensor is exposed when you remove the lens. That means dust or something worse can get in there and ruin your photos. With the iM1836 all you have to clean is the outside of the lens itself. That ease of use should help novice photographers get over any concerns they have about stepping up to a device like this.
So what exactly is an Android-powered camera capable of? The current model comes standard with 4.1 Jellybean, and future upgrades of Android will seamlessly improve the interface. The Google Play app store also comes built into the camera, as well as some pretty powerful software. One stock app will even allow you to edit any video clips you shoot with the iM1836. It’s very easy to use, with all of the features accessible through the 3.5-inch touchscreen on the rear of the device. You will find some fine tuning options available through the use of a dial on the top. But the goal is for the same simple operation you have become used to with your Android smartphone.
While anyone can pick it up and point-and-shoot right away, if you look deeper you’ll find some fantastic built-in features that will immediately improve your final images. The camera can actually detect blinking in a family photo automatically, alerting you when a picture needs to be retaken. And the pop-up flash has a face detection feature, meaning the people in your photos will really pop out of the background. The current lens is a 10-30mm, which is a great start. Polaroid hasn’t yet announced what the additional lenses may be, but you can expect them to be high quality.
Another strength of the Android system is how simple it is to share photos. With a Wi-Fi connection your pictures can be up on Facebook before you’ve even slipped it into your camera backpack. It can’t yet use 4G service, but you can send photos from the camera to your smartphone thanks to Bluetooth technology. In the end, it’s a great option for those who want a better camera than what comes in their smartphone, but aren’t ready to step up to a professional model.