In Thing: The Polaroid camera

The Polaroid 600 Instant Camera has already won itself a niche in design history alongside other gadgets whose brand names stand as a generic by-word for any of its competitors' clones: the Hoover, the Walkman, the Kenwood. But while these brands capitalized on the ultimate consumer accolade, the Polaroid, after its arrival in the early 1980s, seemed to fall by the wayside. The advent of the video camera in the mid-Eighties offered the same immediacy but with the added novelty of moving pictures, and the instantaneous nature of the Polaroid was deemed a gimmick rather than a trashy virtue.

Fifteen years on, the Polaroid has come of age. It's knocked a few of its corners off - it's even achieved Spice-status - but it's essentially the same old camera. Polaroid are successfully targeting a generation for whom technology needn't mean austere black boxes to be handled with care and patience. You may not dare to take it where you would a pounds 10 disposable camera, but the Polaroid panders to junk-image appetites. You wanna picture? You got it.

Polaroid CL approx pounds 29.99; Polaroid Spice Cam, pounds 44.99

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