Sunday, July 5, 2015

Polaroid Swinger and Other Game-Changers of Yesterday

Today's New York Times has an article about the popularity of the Polaroid Swinger "instant" camera, which debuted 50 years ago--and became a game-changer in the mass-market for cameras.

Before the Swinger, instant photography was expensive and geared to relatively affluent adults. The Swinger was designed and priced specifically for baby-boomers who were, at the time, in their teens and early twenties and eager to conveniently snap photos of daily life.

Remember the Flip digital video camera? It, too, was a game-changer, pocket-sized and affordable and easy to use without having to insert tapes or other media. Point, shoot, and upload. Once Cisco Systems bought it, however, its life was limited because the new parent really didn't understand the consumer product world. The product was discontinued in 2011 and support was discontinued in 2013.

Not fads, the Swinger nor the Flip, just handy, timely, and innovative products for the mass market. Both achieved rapid adoption after they were launched and both were successful in their day, if short-lived. Now they're only memories because of advances in technology and changes in consumer behavior.

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