The PMA is reporting that the popularity of digital photo frames has almost doubled in the last year. According to the 2008 PMA U.S. Digital Imaging survey, 11 percent of all U.S. households owned a digital photo frame in 2007, up from only 6 percent in 2006. They're also poised to be the world's fastest-growing application for small and medium displays in 2008, according to iSuppli.
I've always been a fan of the photo frame concept, but until recently I've found them either too expensive or lacking in size, resolution, or overall build quality. Lately, though, I've begun to see a lot more frames that I'd actually consider displaying in my home. With prices dropping (especially during the past holiday shopping season) and new features abounding, digital photo frames might just be ready for prime time. This 8-inch PanDigital model I saw at PMA 2008 has a suggested retail price of just $149.99 and includes interchangeable black wood and clear acrylic frames, 128MB of internal memory, an integrated 6-in-1 media reader, PictBridge support, and a slew of useful and not-so-useful features (among the former, auto rotation to correctly adjust image orientation; among the latter, tinny little speakers). Unfortunately, to get WiFi or Bluetooth capabilities you need to buy additional adapters. For wireless connectivity, I like the Kodak EasyShare frames, which let you manage photos through the Kodak EasyShare Gallery online (so you can get easily upload photos of the kids to their non-techy grandparents, for example).