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Pre-orders open for Polaroid’s quirky Socialmatic camera

It’s been in the pipeline for a couple of years, but you can now finally get your hands on Polaroid’s quirky Instagram-style camera — the Socialmatic snapper is available to pre-order on Amazon for $299.99, with a quoted release date of January 1, 2015. The device can instantly create prints of your photos, just like traditional Polaroid cameras, as well as upload images to the Web.

The project began life as a concept idea from ADR Studio, and it’s been a long road to get the product to market. Polaroid came on board as an official hardware partner in March 2013 and it looks like the right technology is finally in place to make the gadget a reality. There’s a 14-megapixel lens around the front and a 2-megapixel camera on the back for those all-important selfie shots.

Related: Back to the future, Socialmatic digital instant camera to be branded Polaroid

The camera is also running a customized version of Android which you can operate through the 4.5-inch display, though there’s no cellular connectivity option — that means you’ll need to be in reach of a Wi-Fi network in order to post your pictures to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. The inclusion of Android means you can in theory use any app you like with the device, from Dropbox to Whatsapp, though typing text could be a pain (it’s probably not ideal for managing emails).

Then of course there’s the instant printing functionality for sharing physical copies of your photos, a feature that might tempt you to fork out for the Socialmatic rather than stick with your mobile phone for on-the-go snaps. There’s the option to embed a QR code on the photo, which its makers say helps you to track it online somehow. Bluetooth and GPS are built in and you get 4GB of memory on-board, which can be expanded to 32GB with a memory card.

“The Polaroid Socialmatic is a remarkably innovative and exciting camera, designed to empower people all over the world to instantly capture, print and share life’s moments in ways never before possible,” say the manufacturers. “It offers users a unique blend of vintage Polaroid instantprint camera appeal, along with modern conveniences and must-have digital sharing capabilities. Start by snapping your best shots with the 14-megapixel forward-facing and 2-megapixel user-facing cameras, and then instantly print physical photos and/or share them online via the Socialmatic PhotoNetwork and all major social media networks.”