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How Polaroid is tackling mobile

Mobile and digital has undoubtedly changed the business models behind traditional print photography companies. So, how has mobile shaken up Polaroid, one of the world?s biggest and most iconic companies?

Polaroid?s mobile strategy is based around both mobile applications that let users personalize photos and a range of products including tablets, e-books, cameras and wireless printers. According to the company, the instant quality of Polaroid makes it stand out in the digital space.

?Digital technology for photography is constantly evolving and the introduction of recent Polaroid products including the SC1630 Smart Camera, Z340 Instant Digital Camera and the GL10 Instant Mobile Printer demonstrate that Polaroid can compete in the digital space because we have virtually no other competitors when it comes to instant photography and instant digital,? said Scott W. Hardy, president of Polaroid, Minneapolis, MN.

?Polaroid is forging ahead and redefining instant for the digital age by allowing a whole new generation to experience the magic of instant in a way that only Polaroid can deliver,? he said.

?Mobility is key component of that strategy.?

Instant upload
Polaroid recently launched the Polamatic application, which works on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices and is available for .99 cents from Apple?s App Store.

Consumers can either take pictures inside the app using their device?s camera or upload pictures from their photo album. Users can then choose from 12 different effects to give pictures an older, vintage look and can upload their creations via social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

Users can then save photos to be stored in their device?s photo albums.

The app undoubtedly resembles Instagram, but Polaroid claims that what makes its app different is that it places photos inside scans of actual Polaroid photos. Both Instagram and Polaroid are aiming to evoke the nostalgia behind instant photography, which helps Polaroid brand itself in a digital medium.

Photo sharing apps are a hot trend, and many brands ? including Polaroid ? are looking for ways to both monetize their content and make it accessible to consumers.

For example, Instagram was recently acquired by Facebook for a whopping $1 billion (see story).

Additionally, Kodak, one of Polaroid?s biggest competitors recently rolled out a photo sharing app that lets users share pictures and sign-up for the company?s online Kodak Gallery program (see story).

On-the-go photography
Besides apps, the other big mobile push for Polaroid has been wireless products.

The company recently launched a seven-inch Android-powered tablet that focuses on a built-in camera. However, the tablet also does not come pre-loaded with the Google Play store, meaning that consumers can use Amazon?s App Store to sync with their devices, but it does not include as many apps as Google?s App Store.

Polaroid also has lines of instant digital cameras that let consumers take, share, edit and print pictures without connecting to a computer or printer.

?People can always expect to see new Polaroid products that will deliver the fun, instant gratification and value for which the brand has long stood,? Mr. Hardy said.

?Polaroid and its group of partners are experts in an array of product categories and are able to quickly respond to rising trends in the consumer electronics market,? he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York