HP is taking the digital photo frame to new heights with its HP DreamScreen line of smart displays that do way more than just let you browse pretty pictures. The DreamScreen, announced Wednesday, is a beautiful smart display that comes in two sizes (10- and 13-inches diagonally). They link wirelessly to the Internet and can display pictures, 5-day weather forecasts, Facebook friend updates, and the Pandora music service. The displays also can be linked to your desktop so you can easily put multimedia content directly on them.
I checked out the HP DreamScreens last night at an industry event in New York and wouldn't exactly call them a 'dream'. The DreamScreen may look like slick tablet computers that people have been salivating for, but these are just very expensive and very smart displays that lack the key features--such as a touch screen interface and true portability--that could make them breakthrough products.
I'll get into my beefs with DreamScreen after I breakdown the specs.
A Digital Photo Frame to Die For
The 130 DreamScreen model has a 13.3-inch display that offers a 16:9 ratio and a resolution of 800-x-480. The 100 unit has a 10.2-inch diagonal display. Both units sport 2GB (1.5GB usable space) of memory, have 2 USB ports, headphone output for external speakers, built-in stereo speakers, ethernet jack, and a 802.11 b/g wireless antenna. Both units have built-in 6-in-2 card readers that can accept CF and SD cards.
The USB port allows you to connect a thumb drive or external hard drive. The DreamScreen can also play videos (MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, H.264) and music (MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV). Software for a PC allows you to add content to the frame.
You navigate the device using a tiny remote control or via controls built into the hardware. Applications include access to HP's SnapFish online photo service; a custom version of Facebook for viewing friends, status updates, and photos; access to Pandora music streaming service; HP's own HP SmartRadio service; and a clock.