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Concept image of the Pacific Digital MemoryFrame. Courtesy of Pacific Digital Corp., with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Pacific Digital announces the MemoryFrame
(Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 13:50 EDT)

Pacific Digital Corp., a company best known for its line of DVD and CD drives, has today announced what it is calling the "world's first USB digital photo frame".

That claim might be a little misleading; other digital picture frames such as Kensington's (now-discontinued) 'Digital Photo Album' and 'Digital Photo Album Plus' have had USB connectivity before. The MemoryFrame is certainly unique, though, in that it can act as both a USB Master and USB Slave device - meaning that you can connect a digital camera or memory card reader directly to the frame.

Without the need for a PC or subscription telephone service to get pictures onto the MemoryFrame, more consumers will be able to use the device, but as Pacific Digital notes in its own press materials, digital picture frames are a category that has yet to see much success. The cost of the frames has traditionally been quite high, and the "coolness factor" only goes some way to overcoming this. At a recommended price of $329 (and a minimum advertised price of $299), the MemoryFrame is at the lower end of the price-range for frames using brighter active-matrix LCD displays, but it remains to be seen if the price is low enough to become an impulse buy.

The design does seem to have been fairly well thought-out, however. The MemoryFrame can be fitted into many third-party 5" x 7" wooden photo frames, allowing you to choose a frame that suits your personal tastes. Note that the 5.6" LCD screen will not completely fill a 5" x 7" frame; there is a ~ 1/2 inch black border around the LCD, which we presume is made of plastic. A nice design touch allowing you to leave the MemoryFrame on your desk in a public office without fear of it being stolen is that there's a slot for the back compatible with the standard Kensington locks that are used to protect laptop and notebook computers. The frame can also be wall-mounted courtesy of two holes for portrait or landscape positioning.

As mentioned previously, images can be loaded into the device directly from certain digital cameras over a USB connection (we can't find any list of compatible cameras in the press materials), or from a USB flash card reader. There's also the possibility of connecting the frame to a computer running Windows 98, ME, 2000 or XP, and using the bundled Digital PixMaster software to transfer images to the device.

The MemoryFrame has 16MB of RAM, and 8MB of Flash memory. Power comes from a 110 volt AC adapter, and buttons on the rear of the frame allow use of an on-screen menu system to view the contents of a connected camera or card reader, create image slideshows with transitions and effects, change the slideshow delay time, and delete images or slideshows. There are also buttons to start and pause slideshows, and increase or decrease contrast.

As for future models, Pacific Digital has some interesting plans if the MemoryFrame catches on. Larger sizes such as 8" x 10" units, remote controls and wireless networking capability are all mentioned as possibilities. The current MemoryFrame will ship next month at a cost of approximately $299...

The Pacific Digital MemoryFrame. Courtesy of Pacific Digital Corp., with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins.

The Pacific Digital MemoryFrame. Courtesy of Pacific Digital Corp., with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins.

The Pacific Digital MemoryFrame. Courtesy of Pacific Digital Corp., with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins.

The Pacific Digital MemoryFrame. Courtesy of Pacific Digital Corp., with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins.

Source: Pacific Digital Corp.

Original Source Press Release:

Pacific Digital Intros World's First USB Digital Photo Frame

IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 10, 2002--Pacific Digital Corporation:

  • MemoryFrame lets users transfer photos directly from a digital camera anywhere, anytime - and instantly play back a slideshow on its active matrix screen
  • Does not require a PC, printer, camera memory card or monthly subscription fee
Pacific Digital Corporation announced today that the world's first USB digital photo frame will be available this Christmas season. A brand new way to store and display digital photos, Pacific Digital's MemoryFrame(TM) is a stand-alone, electronic "picture-frame" that requires no camera memory card, PC, printer, paper, ink or monthly subscription fee. Users can easily and quickly transfer photos, on the spot, directly from a digital camera into MemoryFrame. Then they can immediately play them back -- in a continuous slideshow of vibrant, high-resolution images -- on MemoryFrame's active-matrix screen. Small and lightweight, MemoryFrame allows users to access and display their digital photos anywhere, anytime. In addition, it can be mounted into a standard 5x7 wood picture frame to create a handsome photo display for home or office. The user can buy a frame to match their decor -- and MemoryFrame is ready to be placed on a desk, shelf or wall.

"MemoryFrame is ideal for everyone who owns and uses a digital camera whether they have a PC or not," said Robert Horton, Pacific Digital marketing director. "For the first time, digital photographers have an easy way to display a slideshow of 50+ photos, immediately after taking them -- without a PC, printer or camera memory card. Because MemoryFrame is plug-and-play, and requires no other equipment, paper or ink, it is very cost effective to use."

MemoryFrame's potential applications -- for consumer, business, government and other users -- are virtually unlimited. For example, a family can photograph a vacation or special event and immediately share a slideshow with everyone there. A real estate agent can preview a house, photograph its rooms and features, and present a slideshow in the client's home a few minutes later. A couple on a cruise can photograph the sights and share the photos back in their cabin.

Pacific Digital's groundbreaking use of USB in MemoryFrame allows fast, easy transfer of images from virtually any digital camera. Then, with its easy-to-use on-screen menu system and multi-function control buttons, users can view "thumbnails" of digital-camera or memory-card contents, edit slide shows, select the time between image changes, add transition and display effects, delete images from slideshows and much more. They can also use the manual image-forward, pause and reverse buttons, and the adjustable contrast to control a slideshow. In addition, they can stand MemoryFrame vertically or horizontally. Then, they can use MemoryFrame's software and on-screen menu system to rotate all the images to a vertical or horizontal position.

Although it doesn't require a PC, MemoryFrame comes bundled with Digital PixMaster(TM), Pacific Digital's software for digital camera users who have PCs. Incredibly easy to use, Digital PixMaster allows a user to create professional-looking photo slideshows on a PC. The user simply chooses the pictures, the effects and the transitions -- then they let Digital PixMaster do the rest. Digital PixMaster also offers useful features such as the ability to rotate photos, specify effects, and create/name/save unique slideshows on virtually any subject. Users can easily integrate photos from a digital camera with images from e-mail, the Internet, CDs or their Windows(TM) "MyPictures" directory into a unique slideshow. Then, they can store the show on the PC and/or download it via USB to MemoryFrame. They can also upload a slideshow created in MemoryFrame to the PC for storage.

MemoryFrame features a bright, high-quality TFT active matrix LCD screen. The only product of its kind that is compatible with both USB cameras and USB readers for standard MemoryStick(TM), CompactFlash(TM) and SmartMedia(TM) memory cards, MemoryFrame operates with the vast majority of digital cameras in use today. It comes with a bundled power supply and its Kensington lock-ready capability can keep MemoryFrame secure in business environments.

The MSRP for MemoryFrame will be $299, and it will be on retail shelves in October 2002.

About Pacific Digital

Pacific Digital Corporation, established in 1996, is a leading supplier of storage and multimedia solutions.

Pacific Digital's Consumer Product Division provides complete multimedia solutions with a focus on DVD and CD-ReWritable optical storage, USB peripherals and new digital Imaging products -- and offers retailers leading-edge digital products that appeal to the growing digital enthusiast market. It distributes to resellers via Ingram Micro and Synnex -- and sells direct to consumers through Staples, CompUSA, Office Depot, Circuit City, Costco, Sam's Club, Fry's Electronics, Brandsmart, Dell, HardDrive.com and other fine resellers.

Pacific Digital's Advanced Product Division's DiscStaQ(TM) family of ADMA solutions range from IC solutions, for motherboard and disk controller OEMs, to an array of Ultra-ATA host adapters. DiscStaQ products are available through distribution from Ingram Micro and Bell Micro.

Pacific Digital is located at 2052 Alton, Irvine, CA 92606. Phone is: 949-252-1111; Fax is: 949-477-9397; Web site is: www.PacificDigital.com.

Editor's Note: MemoryFrame, PixMaster, DirectConnect, DiscStaq, Pacific Digital and the Pacific Digital logo are registered trademarks of Pacific Digital Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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