By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
By the holidays, four digital frame companies will be offering Wi-Fi-enabled models with technology from Frame Media.
The 2006 start-up offers technology to enable Wi-Fi digital frames to accept RSS feeds from Internet sites such as Flickr or personal blogs. Currently, frames from Photovu and Bigeframe support the technology, and wireless models from MediaStreet and Digital Spectrum are forthcoming.
The company also runs the FrameChannel Web site, which aggregates roughly 200 different content sources (AP images, stock photos, etc.) for streaming to Internet-connected digital photo frames. Using the FrameChannel site, consumers can set up personalized content streams, or channels, for their wireless frames.
Digital photo frames have the potential to transcend mere picture viewing to become an "information appliance" — a source of news and personalized content streams, according to Alan Phillips and Jon Finegold, the founders of Frame Media.
"We're creating an ecosystem for digital frames," said co-founder Alan Phillips. The company also offers a series of "desktop widgets" to stream photo and news content from the Web to desktops.
"It's a niche technology right now," Phillips admitted, but as more chipset makers incorporate Wi-Fi, wireless digital frames will be ubiquitous.
"It will cost more to take the Wi-Fi out of a frame than put it in," Finegold said.
In the future, the technology could allow users to reverse directions, uploading images from their digital frame to the Web, Phillips said.
Eventually frames will see greater personalization, Finegold said. Sports teams, for instance, could personalize a team frame that receives up-to-the-minute scores and provides stats, photos and video content related to the team.
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