Polaroid Socialmatic retro insta-print camera slated for reality

Polaroid announces it will turn the Socialmatic concept camera into a real product in 2014, so your social-media images can also be instant prints in the real world.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
Polaroid Socialmatic camera
Are you hip enough to handle this nostalgic digital camera? Polaroid/Socialmatic

LAS VEGAS -- There has always been a certain amount of magic to a classic Polaroid camera, with how the image emerges from a blank space. Polaroid hopes that a bit of that nostalgia will rub off on the Socialmatic camera, which originally appeared as a concept from ADR Studio back in 2012.

The Android-based Socialmatic takes a two-pronged approach to sharing the images captured with its 14MP front camera and 2MP back camera. Built-in Wi-Fi lets you upload the pics to your favorite social media sites. A built-in ink-less printing system also lets you produce 2x3-inch prints with sticker backings so you can plaster your masterpieces all over the real world as well.

Polaroid's Android-powered Socialmatic gives you two ways to share shots (pictures)

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Just like with classic Polaroid cameras, you will need special supplies to make your pics come out. It uses heat-activated Zink paper, which costs about $30 for 80 sheets. It takes under a minute to print out an image. As with old-school Polaroid photos, there is really no need to shake them, unless you just want to for fun.

Polaroid has played with all these ideas before (see the Z340 instant-print camera), but the Socialmatic could have a wider appeal thanks to its hipster-vintage-retro design and the amount of interest the original concept generated. The Android platform and 4.5-inch touch screen add some extra oomph to the package.

Before you get too hyped up about the camera coming out, let's all remember that Polaroid has had a few bumps with bringing its CES-announced products to market, most notably when a Nikon lawsuit wiped out the Polaroid iM1836. If all goes according to plan, the Socialmatic is expected out in the fall of this year, with pricing to be unveiled in the coming months.