Everyone’s chiming in with CES predictions and mine will be that one of the small LCD partnership companies will introduce a sleek, beautiful WI-FI and Bluetooth enabled digital photo frame that we’ll be proud to hang on our wall for under $500. Phillips? Apple? Sony?
A Wifi digital photo frame does not seem to be such a hard thing to put together, but for some reason it’s taking it forever to hit the market in a usable, marketable format. A plug-and-play system that “Mom can use” is what we need – and when that comes along things will truly heat up. The eStarling system was a major let-down to me and many others, and a bit of a nightmare for ThinkGeek the best I can tell.
The wi-fi digital photo frame will see new uses too. It’ll show family reminders (“Take out the trash!!!”.) Someone will fire up one of those inane trivia games like is shown at movie theatres to keep people happy while waiting. It’ll start showing up at kid’s science fairs and trade show booths. It’ll start decorating lobbies and the insides of hopped up cars. It’ll start showing ads in restrooms and waiting areas. It’ll start displaying ads near gas pumps and on grocery shelves. We’ll see it in store windows and in pharmacy lines.
This technology is needed far beyond the living room wall. I think that someone will rock the world at CES this year with a Wifi picture frame appliance that makes earlier efforts look downright tame.
Photovu has some awesome looking hand-built wifi photo frames and I’m thinking seriously about giving one a try. They just announced Picasa support in addition to Flickr, and already they have what appears to be a technical and aesthetic masterpiece. The price is justified considering how much work’s going into these things, but I have this feeling that this market is about to explode so it’s kind of hard to let go of the $1000. If you need a frame now, and have the money, I would say give those guys a call. These frames look great based on what I see.
Kodak’s new Wi-Fi digital picture frames are now out, also… but I’m not seeing Flickr or Picasa anywhere on their spec list. I simply don’t get it. Why cripple the hardware? Well, it’s so close that I’ll bet there will be some kind of hack within 2 months. When I asked Kodak about this, an email came back stating [unaltered response]:
“You can but not directly to your Kodak Smart Photoframe, you’ll need a
memory card. You can save your photos in a memory card then view it to
your Kodak Smart Picture Frame make sure that the file format in your
Picasa or Flickr is supported by kodak products like jpeg files.”
Huh? I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I’m not couting on native Flickr support anytime soon.