A New Focus on Sharing
Brookstone’s PhotoShare frame provides a collaborative family sharing effort
BY MICHAEL MCENANEY
There have been quite a few starts and stops in the digital photo frame market over the years. However, the market today is offering much higher-quality products, at lower prices, with more of a focus on sharing, as opposed to merely displaying images.
The category’s market size, according to researchers TechNavio, is poised to grow by $47.19 million through 2023, progressing at a CAGR of over 1% during the forecast period. While not exactly astronomical numbers, the market is currently being driven by the high adoption of smart devices and home automation products. The continued growth in the smart homes market, and more specifically smart home décor products, is a driving force in the evolution of the digital photo frame category. A smart home ecosystem provides the appropriate connectivity for all home décor products, as they can now be controlled remotely using smart connecting hubs. The smart frame is no exception. Which brings us to the new PhotoShare frame from Brookstone, a digi frame product that speaks directly to the aforementioned home décor product evolution. And with this introduction, Brookstone has made a key distinction, as the focus is clearly on sharing, as the name suggests. Countless previous digi frame incarnations put the focus on simply displaying digital images. The Brookstone PhotoShare makes the sharing of digital images central, and they also make it a collaborative effort, as the entire family can instantly send images to the frame at any time. And members outside of the immediate family can also get in on the fun once they add a PhotoShare frame to their household, as the frame also includes a way to send images from frame to frame.
There are three frame sizes from Brookstone in the PhotoShare line – 14-, 10.1-, and 8-inch models – and this review was done using the 10.1-inch frame. On the back of the frame you’ll find the power button, along with a few different connectivity ports: an SD card slot, USB slot, Micro USB port, and the DC barrel port for power. Brookstone also includes a base clip that oddly needs to be put together to allow the frame to stand upright. It’s only two pieces but confounded me for a bit, but I digress.
The real power of the frame is found in the accompanying app, available on both Android and iOS, called “Photo-Share Frame.” The app very simply walks you through the setup process, account creation and such, and once connected to your home Wi-Fi, uploading images to the device is a snap.
You’ll see thumbnails of all the images on your phone in the app and when you want to move an image from your phone to the frame, you click on it and hit send. You can batch send as many as 50 at a time (frame holds 5,000 images). Images can be sent via email, Facebook or Google Photos directly to the frame as well.
Anyone you decide to share the app with can also send images to the frame, providing an easy way for friends and family to send you recent photos without your having to save and upload the pictures yourself. The device also features an on-screen clock that takes over the frame once the lights in the room have been shut off, a calendar, a built-in music and video player and the aforementioned USB and SD card ports for easy transfer of images from devices other than your phone.
The frame is priced at just under $200, but we’ve seen it for as low as $114, which is good news, as consumers have been reluctant to spend much over $100 in this category in the past. And the 8-inch model can be had for under $100, so the category most certainly is getting more affordable of late.
The digital photo frame category was a crowded and confusing space a decade ago, with far too many inferior products making their way to consumers, resulting in a large percentage of unhappy users. The category has rerouted, and is now smoothly sailing along with the mother ship smart home category, and looking at a much brighter future as a result.
THE GOOD: The mphasis with the PhotoShare Frame is on sharing so loading images can be a collaborative family/friends effort.
THE BAD: The prices in this category still need to come down under $100 - but at least Brookstone’s 8-inch model has accomplished this.
THE PITCH: The digital frame category is in step with the current smart home décor product evolution and a smart device that has resurfaced in the minds of the consumer as a result.
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