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Polaroid splashes into action-cam market

Polaroid C3 waterproof video cameras are shown at the Polaroid booth at the International Consumer Electronics Show on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

WASHINGTON — Action camera GoPro faces new competition from an old, familiar name: Polaroid.

The company famous for its instant camera decades before the digital boom is back with a tiny cube-sized camera that can clip onto bikes and tripods and could even be stuffed into a pocket.

Polaroid unveiled its cube, the C3 during the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. Since then, the camera-maker has improved the product, according to petapixel.com.

The 35mm square camera now features six megapixels, instead of the original five, and offers 1080p HD video instead of 780p. It also comes with a wide-angle lens and built-in microphone.

The cube features Polaroid’s ubiquitous rainbow stripes, which may remind you of block parties and neighborhood water balloon fights in 1984. They’re offered in various colors and come with several different mount options, including a helmet mount and one that resembles a monkey complete with a curling tail.

Magnets on the top and bottom of the camera allow it to be attached to any metal surface without a mount.

The water-resistant camera accepts Micro SD cards, and Polaroid promises the battery life will last through 90 minutes of continual filming.

According to the investing advice company Motley Fool, the cube could challenge GoPro, the current king of the action-camera market, by providing a cheaper alternative that can match or beat GoPro’s features.

After a successful initial public offering in June, “(GoPro’s) biggest weakness is that competitors can easily launch similar wearable and mountable video cameras,” Motley Fool says.

In addition to the cube, Polaroid announced two other action cameras in January.

“Polaroid is all about capturing fun, in the moment images and video from the user’s unique point of view and that is what this fast growing sports action camera category does the best,” the company’s president said at the time.

The $100 cube is not yet available for purchase. But photography gear site photojojo.com is taking presale orders now and promises to ship the cam beginning Sept. 20.

And in case any photographers miss the days of the instant Polaroid, the iconic camera and film are also available for sale.

Follow @WTOPTech and and @WTOP on Twitter.

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