There was understandable interest when a much-loved brand from the past announced the launch of three new Android tablets at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Polaroid tends to excite a certain mixture of affection and nostalgia in many technology enthusiasts, although with this particular announcement there is a need to read the small print.
On the surface, there seems to be every reason to get excited about Polaroid’s new Android tablets. They will run Android 4.4 KitKat, be powered by quad-core processors and feature a HDMI out port.
So these Polaroid tablets appear to be devices offering up reasonable specs, and with a suggested retail price of between $129-$179 they are relatively inexpensive Those figures convert to €95-€130 and £80-£110, excluding sales taxes.
Yet as readers may be aware, the Polaroid of today is a very different operation to the company that was renowned for its instant cameras. The current owner of the Polaroid brand is PLR IP Holdings, set up through private equity investment.
Polaroid now offers a wide range of products, from TVs to MP3 players. However, this position has not been reached through a huge investment in research and development, but through licensing the Polaroid brand to other companies.
In the case of Polaroid’s new range of Android tablets, the products will actually be designed and manufactured by a company called Southern Telecom, who have a licensing agreement with PLR IP Holdings. Southern Telecom already offer a range of Android tablets, one of which (a device targeted at the children’s market) carries Polaroid branding.
Southern Telecom market their products throughout North America, via retailers like Kohl’s, Toys “R” Us and Walmart. They also sell using brands such as Emerson, Uniden and Smartab.
Much of Polaroid’s presence in Europe is covered by separate licensing agreements. For example, UK retailer Asda has a deal with PLR IP Holdings which sees it sell a range of products using the Polaroid brand.
There will be three different screen sizes for prospective buyers of the forthcoming Polaroid Android tablets to chose from. The Polaroid Q7 will have a 7-inch display, the Polaroid Q8 an 8-inch display and the Polaroid Q10 will offer a 10.1-inch display.