Gizmodo’s Adam Frucci made me laugh out loud just now when I read his piece on CES, Ten Reasons We’re Doomed. My first piece of advice for him is to investigate a Xanax prescription. Even a good scotch will do. Anything to calm the lather he’s working up over a bloated tradeshow. But my main reaction is reserved for #3 in the list, Digital Picture Frames.
Digital picture frames are the worst gadget out there, tacky garbage that I can’t imagine anyone would ever buy. But they do! These companies are all putting them out because you people are buying them by the truckload! They’re essentially little flat-panel TVs with no tuners and a crappy frame wrapped around them.
This is a prime example of my recent rant on the vast canyon that lies between Silicon Valley and the rest of the United States. Clearly, Adam has never met a grandmother. Digital picture frames sell because they solve a very real, very real-world problem: how to save on printing costs and display the umpteen jillion pictures now enabled by digital photography. We bought my mother a Kodak EasyShare frame for Christmas. It has the clunkiest interface imaginable and horrible image resolution. Can you guess how little she cares? All she knows is that a continuous stream of adorable grandchildren runs from 8am to 5pm daily (automatic shutoff).
As a technologist, I agree with Adam. Digital picture frames need a lot of work. But as a daughter and resident of the “What’s a Flickr?” universe, they’re the best thing since sliced bread.