I noticed the following posting on Gizmodo – the author is looking for an electronic picture frame, but doesn’t like the Ceiva frames because they need to be plugged into a phone jack to download images, and can only pull images from the Ceiva server. The author points to a new electronic picture frame from eStarling which can pull images from RSS feeds (like Flickr or others) and supports WiFi (see image below).
Sounds great, right ? – perhaps the price is a little steep (~$250), but there’s something else that bothers me about this… Who, typically do you purchase an electronic picture frame for? – your friends and co-workers all probably have PC’s, laptops, Smartphones, PocketPC’s (perhaps event a Mac), probably have wired and wireless networks at home, maybe even have a Media Center PC – so these people have all the technology needed to consume your Picture RSS feed and display images on a number of devices around the home or on the move.
I would suggest that the typical user for an electronic picture frame might be parents or grandparents who you want to share photo’s of your kids, pets, vacation etc… these people may not have a home network, probably wouldn’t know how to setup a WiFi connected picture frame (anyone interested in setting up the WEP or WPA settings for the frame over the phone?). The Ceiva frame solves this problem by using a simple phone jack to get images – the limitatiion of the Ceiva frame is that it needs to be close to a phone jack, and uses the Ceiva servers to store images.
Perhaps it would be interesting to build a picture frame that uses Cell technology to get images from your favorite picture RSS feed – in this case the frame wouldn’t need WiFi, wouldn’t need a dedicated phone jack – you simply need to plug in power and enter the name of the feed you are interested in consuming – the frame would take care of connectivity.