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New Android ‘smartcam’ from Polaroid

CES_LogoPolaroid distinguished itself at CES by announcing the ‘first and only Android-powered compact interchangeable-lens smart camera’, the 18-megapixel Polaroid iM1836.

PolaroidiM(This is Polaroid’s second Android camera announcement, but its first,the SC1630 though shown at CES last year, never made it to market.)

While there was a brace of Wi-Fi enabled compacts released, Polaroid was, surprisingly, the only company to come out with a new direct-to-web camera.

The iM1836 camera features the highly-rated Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system (used in Google Nexus 7 tablets, among other smart devices). It comes standard with a 10-30mm zoom lens. Polaroid says it will hit US shelves in the first quarter of the year at US$399.

It bears a striking resemblance to the Nikon J1, and will be manufactured by Sakar International, which also makes inexpensive cameras under licence for brands such as Disney and Hello Kitty.

It certainly is an interesting approach – Polaroid (or Sakar) has run with the Ricoh GXR concept of lens/sensor modules, so the sensor is built into the standard lens. With an adaptor, Polaroid claims all existing Micro Four Thirds lenses can be used with the iM1836. However, while Ricoh is appealing to professionals and quality-conscious enthusiasts, Polaroid is looking at the snap-shooting fraternity.

The iM836 has a 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen LCD display, auto blink detection, auto face exposure and pop-up flash. It captures 1080p HD video as well as stills and built-in HDMI output.

With built-in Wi-Fi and Polaroid photo sharing apps the iM1836 camera lets users instantly upload and share pictures via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flikr, Vimeo and the like. Built-in Bluetooth connectivity pairs the Polaroid iM1836 camera with any Bluetooth-enabled device to upload images and video through a mobile phone, PC or even iPod Touch.

There are two other models available – neither run Android. The iM1232 is $349 and includes the same 10-30mm lens, but trades the touch-screen for a flip-up 3.5-inch LCD. It has Wi-Fi for photo sharing, and offers blink detection and a panoramic mode. There’s also a model without Wi-Fi—the $299 iM1030.

The company also announced a standard point-and-shoot camera in a bridge style body. The iS2433 features a 16-megapixel Sony BSI CMOS sensor, a 24x (25-600mm) zoom lens, and a 3-inch rear LCD, priced at US$199.

There is also a new camcorder, the iD975, which captures 1080p video and features a 10x zoom lens; it can also capture 16-megapixel still images.

If most or all of these products are released locally, distributor Brands Australia seems set for a busy year!

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