On November 13, digital picture frame (DPF) manufacturers PhotoVu, Smartparts, ViewSonic, Pandigital, Aequitas Technologies, and others announced that they do or will have DPFs that take advantage of Microsoft's FrameIt application. Part of Microsoft Live, FrameIt will not only allow consumers to directly send and open photos on a supported Internet-connected frame (good), they'll be able to view other content such as news, traffic, and weather (unnecessary).
While DPF sales continue to grow steadily, the way to continue the growth isn't to turn a basic product (an LCD, a card reader, and some software) into another Internet appliance. Nobody's really nailed down usability and design on these things yet and instead of improving those, companies are just going to add more stuff that's really not needed. Are you seriously going to stop and check your 8-inch digital picture frame for traffic information, when you can get the same information on your mobile phone, computer, TV, GPS, or, God forbid, a radio?
Don't get me wrong, I'm totally down with being able to have friends and family e-mail images directly to my frame or having the ability to subscribe to Flickr photo feeds. Those are useful assuming the manufacturers are able to make setup and access simple for average users. (I've been told by two vendors that the implementations in their frames are easy enough for anyone.) But again, I'm still seeing newly launched frames with interface usability issues.
I'll reserve my final judgment until after I've tested a few of the supported DPFs, but until I'm forced to admit my shortsightedness, I'm sticking with "unnecessary."
And do you really want Microsoft in another one of your electronics? At the time of this post the FrameIt Web site was returning a runtime error. Nothing's prettier framed than a runtime error.