Instacube is a 'Physical App' for Instagram Feeds
Put the phone down. Digital photo frame aspires to pull pictures from your Instagram account.
Even before Facebook's (in)famous purchase earlier this year, Instagram had become an addiction for tens of millions of users for its combination of an arty smartphone photo app and a social network for sharing and commenting on those photos.
Today (Aug. 21), a design firm launched on Kickstarter an effort to add a third part — a dedicated digital photo frame called Instacube, with a square screen to match Instagram pics. "We were inspired by the idea of a physical app," designer John Whaley told TechNewsDaily.
If it reaches its $250,000 goal from people who choose to back it by Sept. 21 (it was already at more than $50,000 by midday), design firm D2M will start producing the square frames, which will sell for $149 in March 2013. (Early backers on Kickstarter can order one for $99.)
Aside from getting the pictures out of users' pockets, Instacube promises a better view of them — at three times the size they appear on a smartphone screen. Its 6.5-inch, 600-by-600-pixel LCD almost matches the full resolution of an Instagram photo.
But Instacube seems overbuilt for just a digital photo frame. In addition to Wi-Fi, which allows it to pull images online from Instagram, it runs the Android smartphone operating system. And its LCD is a capacitive touchscreen like those found on iPhones and Android phones.
The Kickstarter page says that the touchscreen is for inputting Wi-Fi network and Instagram logins, plus for navigating between photos. But that's overkill for such simple functions. So what else could it do? D2M leaves the question open. "We're really looking to Kickstarter [members] for the feedback," Whaley said, without getting more specific.
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It seems unlikely to become a do-it-all touchscreen box like Sony's Dash device (which includes a digital alarm clock, weather info, Web browsing and more). Whaley is open to adding more social network photo feeds, such as from Facebook. But he's also considering doing different devices for each social network.
"There could be a Facebook cube," he said. "We could end up with a collection of cubes." But at about $150 per device, they could add up to a steep bill for an active social networker.
Despite the initial enthusiasm for Instacube, it's got a tough battle ahead building an Instagram device.
In May, a dedicated Instagram camera called Socialmatic Camera briefly caused a stir with its promised ability to both upload photos to Instagram (and Facebook) and print them a la analog Polaroid cameras. But the project garnered only about a fifth of its $25,000 goal on rival crowdfunding site Indiegogo.