Polaroid's novelty slalom

Polaroid has been showing off a few different products at CES, and not all of them cameras. However, photographically the interest has been in its square-shaped instant camera, the Socialmatic, and the tiny cube-shaped C3 camera. Neither of them is especially a mainstream product, but there are plenty of companies who can succeed in making a go out of the novelty factor. The skill is in marketing a product to which people can become easily attached, at a price that works. Has Polaroid accomplished this? The Socialmatic was announced some time ago; now we're told that we can expect it in the autumn and it'll cost $299. It has a 14 megapixel front-facing camera and a two megapixel rear-facing camera. It is built on an Android platform. It can share images over a wi-fi connection or via Bluetooth. And it can print sticker photos using its built-in ZINK printer. Along with its square shape, that's its killer feature that gives it desirability and the necessary degree of novelty. The question is, would you spend $299 on a novelty camera? Of course it is going to have appeal to some people, but I suspect they'll be limited in number. Continuing to use the smartphone that you already have and linking it up to a (much cheaper) Fujifilm instax SHARE SP-1 printer would make much more sense.

Print your social photos on the go

The C3 cube, on the other hand, seems to hold more appeal. It measures 35mm by 35mm by 35mm; holds a five megapixel camera with a lens that has a 120° angle of view; is waterproof to two metres; and it contains 2MB of internal storage that can be augmented with a micro SD card. There's a button to release the shutter and it'll cost $99. It's perfect for any sort of remote-controlled vehicle, for sticking to a helmet or set of handlebars, or for wedging in a corner. It's still a novelty device, but a more affordable one.