Polaroid?s United States office has confirmed press reports that the company is exiting the film business as it focuses on digital photography and flat-panel televisions.

Amateur Photographer (AP) magazine’s photo-science consultant Geoffrey Crawley described the news as ?the end of an era?.

However, Polaroid Europe is still to release an official statement on the news that Polaroid is pulling out of the instant film business and closing plants worldwide.

The reports, verified by a US spokeswoman this afternoon, suggest that Polaroid has enough instant film to last into 2009.

?It plans to license the technology to third party companies for diehard customers,? add the articles, the first of which appeared in the Boston Globe newspaper at the weekend.

Confirming that the reports were factually correct, the US spokeswoman told us: ?Due to dramatic technological changes in the photographic industry, Polaroid is transitioning from its analogue instant film business into new and innovative digital instant photography techniques.

‘The company looks forward to creating instant memories for customers, with exciting new digital instant and consumer electronics products.?

Production of Polaroid consumer-level instant cameras ceased in 2007, a year after commercial-use instant camera production ended.

The firm will shut its large-format film facilities in Norwood and Waltham, Massachusetts, axing 150 jobs by the end of March.

Production of film in Mexico and the Netherlands will cease by the end of this year, resulting in 300 job losses.

Polaroid’s European offices declined to make any immediate comment following widespread reports, which emerged on Saturday, that Polaroid is ending instant film production.

We understand that Philippe Kalmbach, senior vice president and general manager of Polaroid Europe, was due to brief Polaroid?s UK management on the matter this lunchtime.

Despite numerous calls to Polaroid?s UK office we were told that no comment would be forthcoming until tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon, when Kalmbach will personally call AP?s newsdesk.

Amid the confusion Polaroid’s global website crashed this afternoon.

The Polaroid Corporation was set up in 1937.