What happens when you ram an Android phone and a digital camera together, losing the calling plan in the process? You get the Polaroid SC1630 Smart Camera, a digital camera with a 3.2” widescreen touch display that runs Android. Announced this week at CES 2012, the Polaroid SC1630 combines low-end digital camera technology with smartphone apps to create an all-in-one place for photo taking, editing, and sharing.
But wait, isn’t that what a smartphone is for? Polaroid is banking on the combination of camera specs that beat what a smartphone can offer with the convenience of a smartphone to draw in buyers for the SC1630. As for that convenience, the Polaroid SC1630 is only Wi-Fi compatible, so you can forget about sharing on the go if you’re out of range of a Wi-Fi signal. The SC1630 does have full access to the Android Market, so you’ll be able to download all the finest photo editing apps available and use those while you’re out shooting. You could download Angry Birds and the like, too, I guess. In theory, you could even use the SC1630 as a phone by using Wi-Fi connections and a VOIP app like Skype, as the camera includes a speaker and microphone. The camera does come built-in with some editing features, like red-eye reduction, resizing, and color correction. Geo-tagging is also a go.
The SC1630 is a high-definition 16 MP camera. 16 MP is an almost comically large number, considering anything past about 5 MP is irrelevant for the vast majority of people who will be using point-and-shoots (unless they are printing out or viewing photos on a massive scale). The camera features 3x optical zoom, which certainly beats a smartphone without optical zoom at all, but places the SC1630 in the low-end of other digital cameras on the market currently. The camera features face and smile detection, and has as much as 32 GB of memory, via a microSD card.
If you’re looking for this kind of a smartphone-digital camera hybrid device, have at the SC1630 – there’s nothing else out there quite like it right now. It’s definitely a step up in terms of photo quality from smartphones. The question is, how inconvenient is it for you to wait until you get home or transfer your photos to another mobile device so you can edit and share your photos? If you’re not a fan of that waiting game, the Polaroid SC1630 is just for you.