Believe it or not, the latest entrant into the Android smartphone market is Polaroid. Yes, you read that right. And if you were thinking that its phone would resemble a digital camera, you were right.
The Polaroid SC1630 Android HD Smart Camera (the mouthful-names seem to have infected absolutely everyone now) is basically half-smartphone, half-camera. It’s got a 16 MP sensor, and optical zoom. In fact, this is interestingly just a rebranded and slightly upgraded Altek Leo, a (then) 14 MP Android smartphone we saw once about a year ago, then never heard of again. Until now.
It will be interesting to see if Polaroid’s effort will have the same fate. Whatever will happen in the future, one thing’s for sure: the company is proud of this device. So proud, in fact, that it’s showcasing it at CES.
The SC1630 has a 3.2-inch WVGA touchscreen, 512 MB of ROM, 512 MB of RAM, and a 1,020 mAh battery. Those hardware specs are nothing short of mediocre these days, but the biggest problem is clearly the battery. Such a small unit wouldn’t be able to make a regular Android device last through a day. When you factor in the SC1630′s optical zoom mechanism, you pretty much get the impression that you’ll need to keep this thing plugged in at all times.
Thankfully though, Polaroid seems to be aware of this issue and is apparently working on a fix. Though what that could be save for a bigger battery is unclear. Yet shoving a bigger battery in there will make an already thick (18.5 mm) smartphone even thicker, which may turn many people off buying it.
Then again, most of those who do, will probably end up doing so for the camera part, and not necessarily for the smartphone. Speaking of which, the Android HD Smart Camera comes with quad-band GSM support, tri-band HSPA (850/1900/2100), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, FM antenna, microSIM slot, and micro USB connectivity.
The camera module has 3x optical zoom, a maximum shutter speed of 1/1400, and ISO 3200. It comes with geotagging support (obviously), as well as some anti-shake tech, and can shoot 720p HD videos.
The Polaroid SC1630 will apparently be out in April for $299, though it’s not clear if that’s going to be a subsidized price or not. The company is in talks with carriers to bring this device to their lineup (yet with those HSPA bands, we’re wondering who these carriers-plural may be other than AT&T), and it hasn’t completely ruled out adding LTE support either.
Overall, this is an interesting niche offering, but we’ll be more excited when (or if) it actually ships. Until then, we’re just expecting to see the Altek Leo again at CES 2013 with some other brand splashed on it.
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