There’s a lot of hype on your favorite interwebs this morning about HP’s new DreamScreen digital picture frame. Some people are spinning the device as beating Apple’s iTablet to market. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Here’s how Mashable describes HP’s new photo frame: “a touchscreen tablet computer that lets you log into Facebook, view your photos, listen to Pandora streams, and more, all on either a 10.2 or a 13.3-inch screen.” And sure, that’s all pretty true: There’s definitely a basic CPU in there to give the device its media-processing powers, it’s got a touch-sensitive panel, you can indeed view your pics, videos and MP3s on it, and there’s a Facebook and Pandora mode.
But check out HP’s product demo video for the truth:
The DreamScreen is just a suped-up digital photo frame, essentially just a step up from some of the other high-end devices out there already. I’m sure it’ll be seen as the bees knees by some consumers, too–a handy device to sit on the kitchen surface and scroll pics of grandma’s last visit or knock out some Pandora-streamed tunes while you’re doing the dishes.
It is absolutely not a rival to Apple’s iTablet. Did you see the clunky UI? Did you see the awkward remote control? Did you see how the device slow-steps through menu items? Did you note that the touchscreen is only a basic control panel set to the side of the LCD display? This thing hasn’t even got the full portability that a big lithium-ion battery would give it, a proper operating system, media editing or text-entry functionality, or a Webcam. It hasn’t even got a browser, for goodness sake. It is not, let me say this again, a tablet PC to rival the iTablet (with the imagined specifications we’re hoping Apple builds in). Or in fact to rival any tablet PC. It’s not even as smart as an iPod Touch.
And yes, while it’s certainly going to be cheaper than whatever Apple ends up delivering to us and it’s out now, for roughly the same $299 you’d plop down on a 13.3-inch DreamScreen you can buy an old Apple iBook from eBay today that does all of the same stuff as the HP gizmo, only much much better, as well as an almost infinite amount more.