For the last few days, Polaroid has been teasing a new product. The details, known thus far, are few – an image of the familiar Polaroid rainbow logo displayed in an audio waveform style, a sentence announcing that the new “thing” is not a camera, and an Instagram post which cryptically bleeps some Morse code (the code reads “Music in full color”).
It all adds up to… we don’t know.
But when I received the announcement in my email inbox, my mind instantly began parsing the clues. I looked backward, I looked forward, I thought and thought some more, and haven’t really gotten anywhere.
So let’s keep thinking.
Polaroid once made a radio powered by AA batteries or, more aptly, Polaroid 600 film packs (after the images had been shot). Could Polaroid be releasing that again? Seems like a bad idea. People don’t really use FM/AM radios very much these days, and carrying around a radio seems strange when we all have phones.
Could Polaroid be making a Bluetooth speaker? Maybe. They already did that, or still are… (I can’t keep track of what products are actual Polaroid and which are just using their name under license). Either way, you can buy a Bluetooth Polaroid speaker right now, or a waterproof action camera, or like, a Polaroid lamp that I saw at Target once? They make a lot of things with Polaroid written on them these days.
Could it be a Polaroid-branded record player? That’s suitably analog, suitably aligned with Polaroid’s brand image and (I guess) the interests of their primary customers.
Remember that Polaroid talking camera that Sinbad (the comedian, not the sailor) told us to buy about thirty Christmases ago? Maybe they’re making another talking cam- Wait. They said it’s not a camera.
Could it be a podcast? Yes, it could. Sure. That might be neat.
Film that also records sound? That’s happened before. Kodak made 35mm film that records audio. I believe you can still get it, here and there. Though I admit that I don’t know the practical use of stuff like that.
More modern and aligned with Polaroid’s aims is the Fuji equivalent of sound film. Fujifilm’s example comes from an Instax camera called the LiPlay, a camera that can record ten seconds of audio. The physical instant photos that come out of the camera are imprinted with a QR code. This QR code can then be scanned with a phone camera, and the user can enjoy audio from the moment that the photo was taken. Fujifilm peacefully recommended sounds of the ocean to accompany photos made at the beach. That sounds neat, if not a bit redundant in the era of cell phones and live photos. But it’s a technology that Polaroid could easily replicate in their own film (assuming there’s no patent restrictions).
Yeah, so truthfully, we don’t know what’s coming.
But a quick survey of social media shows what people want – cheaper film, film that has ten shots in a pack, more consistency in film quality, special edition films in older formats (SX70), a return to production of Spectra film or, the perennial Holy Grail request, peel-apart film. None of these things are likely, and certainly not likely to be announced by September 21st, the day that the Polaroid “Music in Full Color” mystery will be solved.
Let me know what you think is coming from Polaroid in the comments below. What are you hoping for? Just don’t hope too hard. It’s probably a speaker.
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