Polaroid is Back…with the Android-based Polaroid Power
Read that title again. Yes, Polaroid (at least as a brand name) is releasing not one, but actually two smartphones. The two smartphones are the “Polaroid Snap” and the “Polaroid Power”. And while the former isn’t half bad for its $130 entry price point, it’s the latter that is the most interesting. And we’ll get into them in a minute.
But first, a little bit about Polaroid as a company. Obviously, the company behind these two new phones is not the original 1937 company founded by the legendary Edwin H. Land that ended up tanking soon after his death in the 1980’s because of a lack of keeping up with the times. But even a company using “Polaroid” as a branding (in this case, Southern Telecom) has a bit of a reputation to live up to, even if it’s just from nostalgia. Polaroid, historically, really was ahead of its time through much of its operation, and in my opinion was the first “Internet company”, even though it was never actually an “Internet company”, nor did the Internet really even exist in a consumer fashion during Polaroid’s heyday.
Not a Polaroid smartphone. Obviously. As interesting as that would’ve been.
The reason I say that Polaroid was an “Internet company” before there was really an Internet is because Polaroid and its various camera products were all about instantaneous delivery. If you wanted to take a picture of someone, you would pull out your Polaroid camera, take the picture, and then within a few minutes the picture would print out right from the camera. It was a fast, A-Z process, all in one little package–albeit a mechanical instead of a digital one. But this ethos is the very thing that has made the digital/Internet age so awe-inspiring and effective, it’s fast and all-inclusive. So while Polaroid–until now–hasn’t had many dealings with the tech world as we know it today, they definitely had the attitude present into today’s tech industry.
So I find it fitting that Polaroid (at least the brand name) is entering the central hub of business for today’s digital world–the smartphone business–in a very impressive way. While the name Polaroid may not get too many people excited, if Southern Telecom did their marketing right, they could have a hipster/nostalgic winner on their hands, because these phones have pretty good specs, especially for the money.
The Polaroid Snap
Snap is the first of the two new Polaroid devices and it’s about bringing the camera to the very midrange to low-end market. It comes in 5″, 5.5″, and 6″ screen sizes at 720p, 1-2GB RAM coupled with 8-16GB of storage respectively, a MicroSD slot, some unspecified quad-core processor, 4G LTE connectivity, and a 13MP back camera and 5MP shooter on the front with a front LED flash as well. The expected retail price is $129.99-$179.99 depending on the size you get, and I imagine it comes in a variety of colors other than the white picture above. It’s not a bad phone, at all, especially for the price. But the more interesting is…
The Polaroid Power
Power is the second Polaroid phone introduced. It packs slightly better specs: a 6″ 1080p display, 64-bit octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage with a MicroSD slot, 4G LTE connectivity, and a 3000mAh battery — with what seems like an included 8000mAh power bank. There’s a 13MP camera on the back and an 8MP shooter on the front with a flash LED light. All of that can be had for $249.99. That’s a fair price out of the gate for those specs, but you may even get a better price if you can get your hands on a refurbished one on Amazon for likely much less (and buy it with Bitcoin through gyft.com or purse.io). The 1080p screen is great on the already sizable battery, so battery life is probably awesome on this thing. While the camera isn’t anything special which you would hope for from a Polaroid-branded product, again, I think the Polaroid branding is much more about the attitude of instantaneousness, and so it still works in the end. It doesn’t seem to have added much to the Android UI, either, so that’s a bonus, as well. Unfortunately, there’s no set release date.
Viability As A Dark Android Device
Honestly, the Polaroid Power is probably the best ARM-based octa-core processor’d Android phone I’ve seen coming to market. It has good specs, a respectable amount of RAM, and the price is right. And it having the Polaroid branding is kind of fun, especially if you’re the type (like me) that hangs around people that haven’t given up on the stylings and entertainment of the 80’s and 90’s yet (never, really). Also, that Polaroid branding has the potential to give these phones something that every product needs to have longevity and real user control: A community or cult following.
I talk about this often at the Dark Android Project, and it’s what might make these phones viable for a Dark Android-styled setup. If a device you buy has–or is going to have–a community built around it, that means that custom ROM’s like CyanogenMod and others may get developed for it, and that means that your device will have serious longevity (provided that the phone is well-made and is kept in fair condition and not thrown against a wall for some assanine reason). These Polaroid phones have all the fixin’s for becoming cult products, so I think they’re worth it. And while they are coming with Android 5.1 at first, there’s already plans for a roll-out of Android 6.0 for the phones, so there’s even a update schedule for these things…pretty impressive for the price.
While I still recommend the ASUS Zenfone 2 or Zenfone Zoom if you’re wanting a great phone for a decent price, the Polaroid Power with it’s 6″ screen and octa-core processor are hard not to recommend, too if you’re looking for a larger phone with a little extra oomph.