Three years ago, almost to the day, I was anguished to find Kodak, the once-great photography brand, slapped atop some random selfie sticks. Now, walking through the same IFA halls in Berlin, I find Polaroid’s name emblazoned on some dreadful laptops. These two companies — or, rather, whatever vulture capitalists have taken ownership of their names after their businesses went bust — are engaged in a miserable race to see who can put their name to the worst possible product. Today’s example from Polaroid is truly an eye-searing disaster. Just one of a group of plasticky, creaky, and underpowered “Polaroid” laptops with washed-out screens, this particular specimen ships with Windows 10 (the good), but only 2GB of RAM / 32GB of storage (the bad), and an ancient Intel Atom processor (the ugly). Whatever brand goodwill Polaroid used to enjoy back in its heyday, this batch of laptops should finally erase it. Polaroid and Kodak used to be great photography brands. Both made globally recognized products and changed the way we use technology. But today they’re mere bywords for cynical commercialism and deliberate consumer misdirection.
The Verge is an ambitious multimedia effort founded in 2011 to examine how technology will change life in the future for a massive mainstream audience.
Our original editorial insight was that technology had migrated from the far fringes of the culture to the absolute center as mobile technology created a new generation of digital consumers. Now, we live in a dazzling world of screens that has ushered in revolutions in media, transportation, and science. The future is arriving faster than ever.