Polaroid's mobile photo app is all about moving snapshots

Swing offers a clever take on photography, but is it enough to spark a revival for the camera brand?

To say that Polaroid missed the boat on mobile photography apps would be an understatement. The original Instagram logo was based on a Polaroid camera, and the company's main answer was to build a camera that looked like that logo. However, it's ready to give smartphone apps a proper shot with Polaroid Swing, a social photo service that promises a fresher take on the endless image feed. You're capturing 1-second videos that become moving photos (think Apple's Live Photos or HTC's Zoe shots) -- the "Swing" comes from using either phone motion or your finger to control them. The app is only available on iPhones right now, but an Android version is "coming soon."

I've given the app a try, and it can be fun to flick through shots (although you may want a steady hand to avoid moving pictures involuntarily). The interface is simple, and it's easy to sign up, find your friends and share your creations. The challenge, I'd say, is convincing people that Swing will do something they can't already do somewhere else -- Instagram's Boomerang already fills a similar role, and a 1-second clip in Vine or Instagram itself might be enough for most people. Polaroid's app has the backing of Twitter co-creator Biz Stone, who's serving as chairman behind the project, but it'll only grow if people believe that leaving their existing photo services is worth the effort.