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Polaroid's new app uses motion to bring your photos to life

The Polaroid Swing app, the result of a partnership between Polaroid and a startup chaired by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, wants to help you shoot "moving photos" and share them with the world.

The app captures one second's worth of motion.

Swing

In an age of GIFs, Vines and Apple's Live Photos, it isn't all that surprising to see still photography take another step away from stillness. That's exactly what Polaroid is doing, with Tuesday's debut of an app called Polaroid Swing that aims to help you create and share "moving photos" on your phone.

Each photo taken in the app is actually a one-second "moment" -- touch the image or give your phone a swing, and the image comes to life, revealing the motion. You can share your moving photos within the Polaroid Swing app, or externally on Facebook and Twitter.

The app is the product of a partnership between Polaroid and Swing, a Silicon Valley startup whose chairman is Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. Stone said the app "has the potential to change the way we think about images, just like Twitter's 140 characters changed how we think about words."

To do so, Swing will need to differentiate itself from the other kinds of moving images and quick video formats that are already popular, as well as image-centric social networks like Instagram and Vine.

Swing co-founder Tommy Stadlen said the app's unique look and feel and the moving images it creates make the difference.

"We capture super-high frame rates and apply frame-blending algorithms to give you a super-smooth, inky, expressive look," he said in an email. "As for feel, being able to reach into the Polaroid picture and alter reality sets this apart."

Stadlen also said he considers a single second's worth of motion as the sweet spot for moving images. "We learned that this time horizon gives you the composition of a still, but with more dynamism and magic," he said."In terms of ambition, we see the Polaroid moving photo eventually moving beyond software to hardware."

The free app is available now for iOS users. Swing's team doesn't have a date set for the Android version's debut but said it's "coming soon."

Update, 8:05 a.m. PT: A comment from Swing co-founder Tommy Stadlen has been added.