When new technology comes along, the transition can be harder on some more than others. Both Kodak and Polaroid were huge names in the era of film-based photography but nowadays there presence in the consumer space is somewhat skewed.
Taking a look at both brand’s presence at CES 2015 highlights why, with Kodak producing a smartphone and Polaroid a pair of tablets, amongst other products.
To the majority of you mobile fans, there’s a fair chance that even with the Kodak name attached the IM5 has remained in relative obscurity throughout CES thus far. In truth, Kodak wants to push the ideal of simplicity that it instils into so many of its other products, but this time into an Android smartphone.
Manufactured by Bullitt, the company previously responsible for the ruggedized smartphones from Cat and JCB, the IM5 isn’t going to be turning heads spec-wise with a 5-inch 720p HD IPS display, a 13-megapixel-rear camera and a 5-megapixel front-facer, Android 4.4 KitKat, 8GB of internal storage, 1GB of RAM and a 1.7GHz MediaTek quad-core processor. But it’s the experience that the company hopes will entice buyer.
Aiming the phone squarely at the ‘baby boomers’ and the smartphone uninitiated, Kodak’s user interface launcher is a far simpler affair than the stock Android experience. Presenting the user with a handful of apps that fill the screen, like the dialler, messages, email and so on.
Being Kodak, the IM5 also lets you print pictures directly from the home screen, which might suggest this is in fact a cunning way to get users to buy more resources for their printers. Of course this would only benefit Kodak if the user in question were already rocking a Kodak printer, so that perhaps is a bit of stretch.
If you want an easy to use phone with some image-sharing skills then the Kodak IM5 is going to hit Europe sometime this quarter for €229 (around £185), when and for exactly how much though, we can’t be absolutely sure.
Polaroid L Series
Elsewhere, amidst the halls of the Las Vegas convention centre Polaroid was showing of its new wares, including a pair of new Android tablets under the L Series moniker.
The smaller L7 is a 7-inch slate while the L10, as you might have guessed packs a larger 10.1-inch screen. Both tablets are specced almost identically, with 720p HD displays,front-facing speakers giving them their media focus, unknown quad-core processors, WiFi and most impressively for budget offerings, Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Whilst the modest pricing of $99 and $149 sound tempting respectively, Polaroid’s past inability to bring its tablets to market may turn the L Series into an empty promise.
Both brands are still in the game, but it feels like neither really known what exactly that game is.