Way back during the waning days of the dot-com boom, I made a risky purchase: I spent $249 on an Internet-connected picture frame for my parents.
The purchase was risky because I bought the frame, from Ceiva, in late 2000, just as Internet companies were folding left and right. Case in point: Modo.net, a company hawking a $99 wireless device for entertainment listings, imploded just weeks after the product was introduced. If Ceiva folded, the frame would be worthless—just an expensive dot-com relic—as it required a special monthly plan in order to update the frame with new photos, via a telephone line.
Ceiva did not fold, I am happy to report, and the frame displayed many, many images over the years. But the frame is now a relic, as digital photo frames have evolved quite a bit. Now you can find ultra-stylish frames and bare-bones, functional frames. You can find digital photo frames to connect to your computer via Bluetooth, frames you can load via a camera’s memory card, and frames able to play music, too.
- Ceiva frames, with options
Ceiva’s frames make it easy for you to buy the frame as a gift, like for your mother-in-law or grandfather, and then update the frame whenever you like with new photos. You do that with a PicturePlan from Ceiva; fees vary, depending on what plan you choose, but the typical month-to-month plan is $9.95 per month. Then, when you upload photos, the frame’s owner will see them the next day, after the frame connects to the PicturePlan service via a phone line. But Ceiva has branched out, too, and now also offers frames where the PicturePlan service is optional.
- Sony’s high-end frame
At $250, Sony’s VAIO WiFi Photo Frame isn’t cheap, but it’s stylish and feature-packed, with WiFi connectivity and a built-in MP3 player, essentially allowing you to use it as a desktop stereo.
- Digital frames from Philips
One of the top makers of digital photo frames is now Philips, with a variety of affordable models available.