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October 28, 2014 - photo frame



Just launched on Kickstarter, Fireside is bicoastal startup that promises to change digital photography—not in how we emanate images and video yet how we share and suffer them for posterity.

“1,000 songs in your pocket.”

So goes a tagline for a really initial iPod, expelled 13 years ago (nearly to a day), a old-fashioned pride in hindsight. In fact, story has shown that a mp3 actor and iTunes comparison are merely incremental stairs along a trail to some-more versatile hardware and software: Smartphones are able of fulfilling a listening needs over a wildest imaginations. With a indicate appearance of 3- and 4G networks, mobile inclination can remove melodies from a ether, while streaming services offer rare abyss and border when it comes to choices and recommendations, orderly categorized with tags and filtered by metadata.

A database with millions on millions of songs is one thing, yet what about other media? Video is a younger cousin of audio to a border that it too has exploded with a duplicate presentation of online hosting platforms—viz. YouTube and Vimeo—and widely permitted hardware. GoPro is a box investigate in itself, yet even a phones are absolute adequate to constraint all from ancestral events and vital occasions to pointless moments between those milestones.

But if it’s easier than ever to request a lives, a attrition occurs during a opposite indicate in a user experience. For one thing, carrying hundreds of thousands of photos and videos means that any one becomes a self-evident dump in a pond, and organizing/editing them can be a duty in itself. Then there’s a misdate between shooting—for that a little yet absolute device is ideal—and indeed observation a results. A potion rectangle a distance of a palm of your palm competence be ideal for holding a call, accessing a song library and gnawing a selfie, yet it’s frequency a best format for appreciating visuals that swamp a screens these days.

Fireside_HERO.jpgMore on this below…

Indeed, a latest era of iPhones outlines a slight benefaction to Apple’s competitors. Tim, Jony co. motionless that shade could mount to be bigger after all, and a sales total countenance a hypothesis so far. With a shade that is scarcely 40% bigger than that of a predecessor, a iPhone 6 is positively easier on a eyes, not to discuss a requisite improvements in camera technology.

But it turns out that a ability to take improved photos and store them in one’s slot is usually half of a equation. We’ve all been there: We wish to uncover someone an comparison print of that Halloween dress or that outing to Paris or that travel art from a few years back, and notwithstanding
camera rolls’ regular affordance to arrange images by plcae or date, a practical ‘shoebox’ of sequential thumbnail images leaves a lot to be desired.

Conversely—and arguably worse still—we mostly forget about comparison photos and videos as it gets buried underneath a incongruous weight of new memories. As with ring-bound albums, one-hour-photo envelopes and dry shoeboxes, we simply slight to resurface ended years notwithstanding a easy entrance of digital storage. Sure, there are Flickr and Facebook albums full of memories, yet a former frequency occasions revisiting and a latter offers distant too many distractions to offer a suggestive observation experience.


Enter a Fireside Smartframe. As with a iPod, it’s not a initial device to do what it does—as we competence have guessed, it’s a digital design frame—but it is dictated to be a initial to do it well. Co-founder Andy Jagoe introduces it as Pandora or SONOS for photos: a former anxiety indicate has distant improved name approval and captures a data-as-genome component of a playlists, yet a latter is somewhat some-more accurate in that it is a mostly source-agnostic hardware (and quasi-IoT) system. He and associate co-founder Don Lehman concurred as most when they demo’d a Smartframe for me final week, in expectation of a launch of their Kickstarter debate this morning [disclosure: Lehman has contributed to Core77 in several capacities for over a decade].

Jagoe goes with Pandora in a representation video, yet a antithesis stays unresolved. On one hand, a contextual calm curation firmly organizes your photos in a cloud, that is a vital differentiator of Fireside in a digital print category. But it so happens that a reward hardware is also essential, and, like SONOS and other wireless song systems, it’s formidable to suppose how such a device competence urge your life until we indeed live with it and it usually works.

But initial things first: Yes, Fireside works with any existent print pity or storage platform, online or off, and from initial setup—uploading your existent photo/video library(-ies)—to subsequently handling a use and determining a Smartframe, Fireside is accessed by a mobile or web app. Whenever any media is combined to one’s library, a use will index and classify them by date, plcae and several other criteria (holidays, people, etc.); good wakeful of a subsequent doubt that some competence ask, Jagoe emphasized that remoteness and confidence are peerless and that users keep full control and tenure of a data. Once a use and Smartframe are adult and running, Fireside automatically syncs photos from your device (or elite platform) in real-time, extracting a information while preserving a original—again, all in a cloud—for $99/year; a support comes with a year of giveaway service.

Lehman, for his part, geeked out over a materials and specs of a Smartframe, such as a melamine bombard and wrapped cord, that come in possibly all-black or white/gray. The 15”, 1080p shade is simply as good as any of a images or footage that it will display, yet Jagoe records that they ruled out a cost-prohibitive touchscreen early on. The support is complicated (and bulky) adequate to communicate that it is not dictated to be rubbed like a tablet; nor does it underline any buttons (or screws) to pronounce of. Yet it is meant to be mobile for use in opposite contexts, and a steel loop on a behind serves as both a leg and a wall-mounting mechanism. The cleat-like walnut offshoot is specifically designed to be large adequate to leave unclosed in, say, your vital room while we have a Smartframe on your kitchen counter, recalling stately cooking parties past as we prepare your subsequent dictatorial meal.


Say what we wish about entire screens, yet we can see a interest of a visible homogeneous of credentials noise. The fact that Lehman had dialed Jagoe in around videochat (from Palo Alto, where he is based) done for an fatiguing contrariety with a Smartframe, that sat subsequent to a laptop; even yet Lehman and we were passively per both screens, we mostly found myself perplexed by a Smartframe even after a preloaded calm had cycled by many times over. (The images were of Jagoe and his family during several holidays and outings; we wondered what it would be like to see my rather some-more enigmatic print tide in a frame.) Videos in sold play well: 80% of a beta testers pronounced they “switched default constraint mode from cinema to video since of Fireside.”

Yet for all a differences in a details, a Fireside Smartframe will constantly pull comparisons to a recently Kickstarted competitors, a Electric Objects EO1 and a FRM Frame, both of that are billed as digital frames for exhibiting artwork. They also occur to be designed for artists by artists (and art enthusiasts on both counts) and are distant some-more identical to any other than to a Fireside Smartframe.


Even so, a EO1 and Framed also indicate to a far-reaching accumulation of other use cases for Fireside, from blurb applications to a probability of subscribing to curated playlists. Although Jagoe concurred that Fireside could simply be blending for those scenarios, he voiced a unaccompanied concentration on rising it as a family-oriented product, observant how a Smartframe enables print pity opposite generations and geography.

So too do a Pandora and SONOS analogies tumble brief of capturing a hint of Fireside.
It’s a doubly manifold device: Not usually do sights and sounds interest opposite claims on a courtesy by their really definitions, yet your photos and videos are yours in a approach that your song is not. In this sense, a EO1 and Framed are some-more same to song streaming services, in that artists are formulating calm that is distributed and consumed by a device.

On a other hand, some users competence be extraordinary to try Fireside’s photo/video use exclusively of a hardware (this is accessible to backers); after all, a Smartframe could also be construed as a little radio or outmost monitor, and we already have any series of other screens that can arrangement a playlist of photos or videos. But as a pared-down, single-purpose product, I’m tempted to review it to a Kindle: The Fireside Smartframe is done for calm that can be noticed on other inclination yet is best delivered by a dedicated device.

Then again, because worry even with a comparisons?

Check out Fireside’s Kickstarter campaign and blog for some-more sum and specs on a Smartframe and print service.


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