Mon 5 Nov 2007
Everyone remembers those nifty Polaroid cameras that produced an instant square picture (well, after a minute of “shak[ing] it like a Polaroid picture.”) Those cameras were a novelty indeed, but the Polaroid company failed to enter the digital camera market in time, and like most companies who don’t capitalize on new opportunities, Polaroid died. More specifically, ‘On October 11, 2001, Polaroid Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Almost all the company’s assets (including the “Polaroid” name itself) were sold to a subsidiary of Bank One. They went on to form a new company, which also operates under the name “Polaroid Corporation”. It continues to sell Polaroid-branded products and has extensively licensed the name to other companies.’
What this means to you is that Walmart, and other purveyors of low-quality electronics, now sell Polaroid-branded cheap Chinese imports like LCDs, plasma televisions and portable DVD players. The idea is that you’ll recognize the Polaroid brand and buy the inferior garbage without much inspection or review. Not content with prostituting the name solely to hardware manufacturers, the Polaroid shell company has now begun licensing its name to software vendors. Just tonight I clicked past an infomercial for a Polaroid scrap-booking program.
Don’t be fooled. Polaroid is dead. Any products now baring that name should be evaluated on their merits alone. You’ll not get any guarantee of quality by choosing a familiar name. In fact, the contrary is likely true.