January 11, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Anyone in the mood for an Android-powered camera? Polaroid has one in case the mood strikes. The Polaroid SC 1630 is a new smart camera that harnesses Android to improve the experience of capturing and sharing photos or videos. Smaller than the current range of Android superphones, the device is designed to be compact but still capable of recording quality images.
The SC 1630 caught me off guard as I browsed the CES halls this morning. The device is running a customized version of Android 2.x, but it’s still Google-certified and will have access to the Android Market when it launches this spring (April is the target date I heard from someone on site, and the company is working on getting the other Google apps like Gmail loaded as well). Before you go crazy about the outdate software, keep in mind that this device is not supposed to compete with the up-to-date smartphones out there; it’s supposed to compete with the old model of point-and-shoot cameras by enhancing them with some of the same apps available on phones.
Polaroid loaded a 16 megapixel camera with a 3X optical zoom and 5x digital zoom into the SC 1630. There’s a fast shutter response, tap to focus, 32 GB microSD slot, and the presence of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and USB to upload images. I’m told that there’s even room for a SIM card so users can pop in a PAYG or regular SIM and be able to upload photos on the go. With the presence of Android apps and the on-board software, someone can take a photo, edit it, post it to Facebook, and have it online instantly. The same convenience that you get from a smartphone experience becomes available in the smart camera, which has better optics.
Price and release date information have not been finalized. A couple of photos and a hands-on video are below.