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Polaroid unveils Android-based camera with 16 megapixels and 3x zoom

Jan 12, 2012 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

Polaroid announced an Android-based, 16-megapixel camera with a 3.2-inch touchscreen, Android Market access, and Wi-Fi for quick uploads to social networks. The Polaroid SC1630 Smart Camera offers 3x optical zoom, 5x digital zoom, geo-tagging, and automatic face and smile detection — but response time isn't exactly “instant,” according to one preview.

Polaroid's SC1630 combines a point-and-shoot camera with what appears to be a full Android feature set, including web browsing and Android Market access. And because the device offers a speaker and microphone, as well as Wi-Fi and cellular data connections, a Skype call may be possible, too.

Polaroid SC1630 Smart Camera

(Click to enlarge)

The camera seems to be primarily aimed at buyers who want to upload images to the Internet quickly. As with most Android phones, but very few cameras, there are built-in connections to instantly upload photos to major social networking sites.

The Polaroid SC1630 Smart Camera lets users "conveniently capture, connect, and instantly share beautiful HD digital images and video," says Polaroid.

The SC1630's processor or RAM are not detailed, nor is the Android version, suggesting it may even harken back to an Android 2.2 release. The five-ounce SC1630 provides a microSD slot that supports up to 32GB of storage, says Polaroid.

No resolution is listed for the SC1630's 3.2-inch screen, which can go wide-screen with the help of accelerometers. Other features include Bluetooth, as well as a battery that can "last all day on a full charge," according to the company.

Rear view of SC1630
(Click to enlarge)

The camera itself features far more impressive specs, starting with its 16-megapixel CCD sensor. Only a few Android phones have been announced with 12-megapixel cameras, including this week's Sony Xperia Ion on AT&T, and as far as we know, no one has yet hit 16 megapixels. An Altec Leo Android phone that reappeared a year ago as the Aigo A8 made it to 14 megapixels, however.

The Poloroid SC1630 Smart Camera provides 5x digital zoom, and also offers a feature you won't find on an Android smartphone — 3x optical zoom — which should provide for much improved long distance shots. The camera supports images captured at 36mm or full 108mm magnification, and is offered with18 scene modes.

Additional features, such as geo-tagging, as well as automatic face and smile detection, are shared with high-end smartphones. On-board editing features appear to be more advanced than usual, including cropping, red-eye removal, resizing, and color correction. A "Smart Album" feature, meanwhile, automatically organizes photos by date, location, and people, says Polaroid.

Not such an instant camera, says review

Polaroid developed the first commercial "instant camera" with its Land Camera introduced in 1948. Unfortunately, the new Polaroid SC1630's camera action is not quite so instant, according to a hands-on preview by Phandroid.

"First you have to remove the phone from standby," explains reviewer Kevin Krause. "Then the device must be switched to camera mode. Finally a photo can be snapped, but it isn't without delay. The whole process means you might miss your best shot."

An upgrade to a more recent Android build would help somewhat, notes Krause, who demonstrates the process in the video posted farther below. Otherwise, Krause is fairly positive about the device, however.

Stated Scott W. Hardy, president, Polaroid, "The newest member of the Polaroid family, the Polaroid SC1630 Smart Camera unites the beauty of high-end digital images with powerful Android connectivity features."

Polaroid SC1630 Smart Camera hands-on demo on YouTube
Source: Phandroid
(Click to play)


The Polaroid SC1630 Smart Camera will be available in 2012 at an undetermined price. The device can be viewed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in the Las Vegas Convention Center's Central Hall (booth #13613) until Jan. 13. More information may be found at the Polaroid SC1630 Smart Camera product page.

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