Picture Business & Mobile Lifestyle recently had the opportunity to sit down with Royce Hong, CEO and chief designer at IPEVO, a San Jose, Calif.-based company that bills itself as a manufacturer of “devices that extend and enhance the overall Internet experience.”
One such product, and the one that caught our attention, is the Kaleido R7—a wireless digital frame with some nifty download and Internet features along with a very cool app for the iPhone.
The digital frame product is also one of the first imaging products to begin showing up in the mobile retail channel and Hong had some interesting thoughts on the product/service evolution happening there as well.
PB&ML: Please tell our readers about the Kaleido R7 and some of its features.
Royce: The Kaleido R7 is a uniquely designed digital frame that features a raised “floating” display mounted on a special bi-directional hinge with orientation sensors, which allow the screen to rotate and tilt for optimal viewing in landscape or portrait modes. The seven-inch, high-resolution TFT-LCD screen offers auto-rotation along with smart-zoom/fill-in options in order to enhance the viewing experience. Complimentary EyeStageP2 software makes it easy to transfer entire photo albums from a PC, Mac or iPhone for display on the Kaleido R7 via Wi-Fi. Additionally, content can be streamed from Flickr, Picasa and Facebook, or RSS feed subscriptions.
PB&ML: How does the notion of the photo print fit into the mobile imaging world today when consumers seem so content with sharing images over the Net or wirelessly device to device?
Royce: We think the photo print still retains its unique role for today's consumers. However, images on digital displays are transient and temporary, making them more suitable for quick image sampling or viewing entire slideshows. A printed photo provides a tactile statement of a long-lasting memory. Also with the growing popularity of photo-books, there is so much more that consumers can do with printed images to tell a memorable and compelling story.
PB&ML: The digital frame category seems like one of the few imaging products that has caught on in the mobile retail channel. Why is this so?
Royce: Mobile retail channels are not just about voice communication anymore; they are selling more and more data connectivity. Displaying photos on a digital frame is a natural extension, utilizing that connectivity. Other than photos, the digital frame is also versatile enough to display useful information and compelling content from the Internet.
PB&ML: We have always felt the digital frame category was a great way to encourage consumers to make photo prints because it gets images off of hard drives and back into view. Might it have been a good idea for imaging retail to position them this way?
Royce: Getting images out from the dark corners of hard drives was exactly what we were attempting to do during the develop process for the Kaleido R7. With its Wi-Fi connectivity, the Kaleido R7 is able to display contents from computers wirelessly. It is a means for seeing your entire photo collection come back into the light. This is also certainly a great way for imaging retailers to display the scope of what can be done with images.
PB&ML: With all these images floating around the social network world and being shared wirelessly by consumers, where can a retailer find profit?
Royce: Social networking is making photos more than just a record of an event. Image sharing is becoming an effective and fun means of communication. We have all used photos to communicate a message, a status or a thought. I think profit can be found in making this new method of communication and sharing easier, better and more interesting.
PB&ML: What might we see in the continued evolution of the digital frame category down the road?
Royce: I think the notion of a photo display will simply become part of what a digital frame can do. The versatile LCD display will become a window to how people connect, communicate and share over the Internet. The digital frame will evolve into an accessible and easy-to-use device that offers Internet functionalities, but without the complicated interface of the computer, or the limited usability of mobile devices (due to its size). I feel a new form factor will emerge, making the digital frame a truly interactive display device for the home.
www.picturebusinessmag.com • January 2010
January 2010 • www.picturebusinessmag.com