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.
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.