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Turn your old iPad into a photo frame for $2

Framee is one of the simplest photo-frame apps out there, and definitely one of the cheapest. Works with Android tablets, too!

framee

The Framee app automatically adds newly received photos to an ongoing tablet slideshow.

Photo by Rick Broida/CNET

Got an old tablet lying around? I'm a huge fan of repurposing it into a full-time digital photo frame. (Indeed, it's at the top of my list of new uses for old tablets.)

I say this as someone who's owned an actual, dedicated photo frame for years -- one that cost around $150 when I bought it. I love it; my family loves it. Guests gush over it. Why more people don't have these, I really don't understand.

Here's your chance to have one for practically nothing. There are lots of ways to put a spare tablet to work as a photo frame, but I've yet to find one as flat-out simple -- and affordable -- as Framee. Available for Android and iOS, a one-year subscription (purchased in-app) costs just $2.

It works like this: You install the app on both your phone and your tablet. (This can be a relative's tablet, too -- a nice option if you want to share photos with, say, tablet-owning grandparents.) The phone supplies the photos: Just select one from within the Framee app and presto, it gets delivered to the tablet. Bam. Done.

On the tablet side, new photos arrive with a little ping. An onscreen toolbar lets the recipient "like" the photo by tapping a heart icon; that "like" is sent back to the sender. Received photos can also be downloaded to the tablet user's library.

framee-settings

Framee has fairly limited settings, but that's a good thing for purposes of simplicity.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

It's a simple, friendly little arrangement, though not without its limitations. For starters, you can send only one photo a time. This is on purpose, according to the developer, as it encourages the sender to choose the most "impactful" images rather than just sending big batches.

What's more, unlike traditional photo frames, which typically display a new photo every 10 seconds or so, Framee's fastest rotation setting is every 10 minutes. (Other rotation options include every 30 minutes, hour, three hours and day.) The idea here seems to be fewer photos overall, but more opportunity to see and enjoy each one.

Framee does allow a single photo to be delivered to multiple recipients, and in the future multiple phone users will be able to send photos to a single tablet. There's also a built-in timer that can turn the screen off during designated times, like at night.

I'd like to see Framee add support for sources other than just the sender's phone and allow for faster cycling of photos. Even so, it's a simple, effective and affordable way to give an old tablet a new life. I suspect that once you start using a digital photo frame, you'll never again want to be without one.