Fund this: Pigeon is the digital photo frame for grandparents

Highly automated and app-savvy, this smart frame makes it easy to share photos with tech-challenged relatives.

Keith Beckley

Digital photo frames never caught on in a big way. Maybe they were too pricey, maybe the early-gen products were too much of a pain to update and left a bad taste in consumers' mouths.

That's a shame, because in theory they're awesome. An ever-changing photo slideshow of your friends and loved ones? Yep, I'm a fan.

So if someone designed a hassle-free frame, could it resurrect this mostly dormant category? Engineer Keith Beckley is aiming to be that someone; his Kickstarter project Pigeon bills itself as the "ultimate Wi-Fi frame."

Available in two unfortunately named versions, Winkie and White Vision, the 10-inch Pigeon works like most other connected frames: plug it in, connect it to the home network, and in short order pictures start appearing. However, where other frames link to social networks and/or require photos to be emailed to a special address, the Pigeon will rely on free, cloud-powered Android and iOS apps.

Keith Beckley

In other words, when you want to send new snapshots to Grandma, you just open the app, choose pictures from your photo library, and tap Send. And it works with videos, too; the frame has built-in speakers for listening to audio. (It's also Bluetooth-enabled if you want to stream music from a phone or tablet.)

Other features include a motion sensor that turns the frame on when you come in the room (to help preserve electricity when you're not around), a new-content alert that notifies you (or Grandma) that new pictures have arrived, a magnetic back for easy fridge-mounting, and a choice of decorative frames to make the Pigeon look more like a traditional picture frame and less like a piece of tech.

Admittedly, I've seen many of these features on other digital frames, ranging from the dearly departed Kodak Pulse to the more current Nixplay Edge. The one key difference appears to be the app, which is indeed a much easier solution than having to email your photos.

The Pigeon has a $50,000 campaign goal, with early backers able to get the Winkie model starting at $119. It's expected to ship in September.

My parents and various family members all have connected frames, and they love them. I love ours as well. If the Pigeon proves to be smarter than the average frame, it could be quite lovable as well.