The concept for Polaroid Socialmatic — a dedicated Instagram camera with the functionality of a Polaroid camera — has been floating around since 2012. In 2014 it will become a real product available on store shelves. The looks almost exactly like the Instagram logo, which is modeled after the Polaroid OneStep. The $40 Polaroid OneStep rocketed to popularity around Christmas of 1977, but can the same concept strike gold 37 years later?
The Socialmatic which is essentially a selfie camera with built in Wifi, Bluetooth and, of course, instant photo printing. While these are relatively novel ideas, will consumers at large go in for an Instagram camera?
A Dslr suitable for a beginner can cost you upwards of $400, but a point-and-shoot camera could deliver a lot of the features of the Socialmatic for half the cost. But that’s not really the point. It’s not that Instagrammers aren’t real photographers, it’s that this camera is designed for a very niche audience.
Instagram is a running contradiction between what’s happening right now and things that are retro. Since its inception, it’s been a source of instant nostalgia. #ThrowbackThursday specifically asks for old photos, especially those taken prior to Instagram being available. #Latergram is a popular tag for a series of photos users choose not to dump all at once. Instead, users load the images gradually to spread the opportunity for likes over time.
Perhaps that permanent state of nostalgia is enough to make users go out and buy this 21st century Polaroid camera. The camera is built on an Android OS, so perhaps when it hits shelves, it’ll be useful for making Vines, YouTube videos or video calls. Time will tell how capable the built in system is for handling the video work-load. Time will also tell if we really need a dedicated Instagram camera.