The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon
The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon
The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon
The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon

The FRAMEN soft­ware suite for dig­i­tal pho­to frames, tele­vi­sions and mobile devices

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The com­pa­ny FRAMEN is not just a man­u­fac­tur­er of dig­i­tal pic­ture frames. I would even argue that the real val­ue that the team has cre­at­ed is more on the soft­ware side. The ver­sa­tile FRAMEN Pho­to and Play soft­ware is some­thing to write home about.

Long is the road to ver­sion 1.0

Soft­ware always takes longer than expect­ed said Dim­itri Gärt­ner when I vis­it­ed the FRAMEN office. And that was sure­ly the case when they start­ed out cre­at­ing the apps for man­ag­ing pho­tos and con­trol­ling the dig­i­tal pic­ture frames. With total ded­i­ca­tion, it took the devel­op­ment team over a year to com­plete.

The objec­tive was to keep the app as sim­ple as pos­si­ble. Allow the upload of own pho­tos as well as access to third-par­­ty image libraries and have total con­trol over all con­nect­ed pho­to frames.

The out­come is amaz­ing. To my knowl­edge, it is the only dig­i­tal pic­ture frame app that includes their own brand of pho­to frames, tele­vi­sions, mobile devices, and any brows­er-based hard­ware.

The app is swift, and the design is very intu­itive.

If you don't like using apps on your mobile phone, you alter­na­tive­ly get total con­trol through your desk­top brows­er. This is a sig­nif­i­cant fea­ture as man­ag­ing a large num­ber of images is prob­a­bly more com­fort­able on a com­put­er than on a mobile device.

The FRAMEN soft­ware suite May 2019

The FRAMEN soft­ware suite is for one made up of the FRAMEN Pho­to App for iOS and Android. It can be down­loaded for free from the App Store and Google Play.

FRAMEN Pho­to enables you to man­age your images in playlists, con­trol your image play­back devices (e.g., pic­ture frames or tablets), and choose from many curat­ed libraries of great stock images in over one hun­dred thou­sand cat­e­gories.

The sec­ond app is FRAMEN Play, also avail­able for free for iOS and Android.

FRAMEN Play trans­forms every mobile device into a dig­i­tal pic­ture frame which can be con­trolled either from anoth­er mobile device or through a desk­top brows­er. This allows you, for exam­ple, to trans­form an old iPad into a main­te­­nance-free pho­to frame for your par­ents.

Instead of an app for desk­top com­put­ers, you can access your image library and frame con­trol by using a brows­er and typ­ing app.framen.io.

And with https://framen.tv you can turn any desk­top or lap­top com­put­er, no mat­ter if it runs on macOS, Win­dows or Lin­ux into a dig­i­tal pic­ture frame, just like it works with the FRAMEN Play app for mobile devices.

The under­ly­ing log­ic of the FRAMEN soft­ware is an Ama­zon cloud-based stor­age of your images. From there they can be streamed to any of your con­nect­ed devices.

This means that only images on your cur­rent playlist are being stored local­ly on your pic­ture frame.

All your image play­back devices like your tele­vi­sion or pho­to frame can be con­trolled through one app, and all changes are effec­tive imme­di­ate­ly on all devices. Every device can be con­trolled indi­vid­u­al­ly.

You do not have to own a FRAMEN pic­ture frame to use the FRAMEN soft­ware. The sys­tem has been designed to work on as many devices as pos­si­ble regard­less of the oper­at­ing sys­tem and the man­u­fac­tur­er. All that is required is brows­er access.

In a world where every man­u­fac­tur­er has its own half-baked and bug-rid­­den soft­ware, this is an awe-inspir­ing feat.

I believe that the keen focus on soft­ware is a sign that FRAMEN does have a vision beyond the pure hard­ware side of the dig­i­tal pic­ture frame uni­verse.

The func­tion­al scope of the FRAMEN Pho­to App

The app inter­face is noth­ing that will take you a long time to under­stand. The same is true for the brows­er inter­face.

When you start the app, you need to reg­is­ter a (free) account first.

Once you are in, you will see five icons at the bot­tom of the screen.

The Home icon will give you access to curat­ed playlists with stock images sort­ed by cat­e­go­ry. There are one hun­dred thou­sand cat­e­gories, but they only con­tain 10 to 20 images. This is expect­ed to grow, but it's okay for a start.

The mag­ni­fy­ing glass icon is brows­ing the curat­ed playlists.

The plus sign in the mid­dle gives you access to the cam­era roll on your smart­phone so that you can add them con­ve­nient­ly to your playlists.

By tap­ping the plus sign in the mon­i­tor, you con­trol your con­nect­ed image play­back devices. You scan the QR code on a mon­i­tor and you are con­nect­ed. Alter­na­tive­ly, you can enter a code. This way you can con­nect to a device even when it is installed remote­ly.

In the pro­file view, you can view and edit your playlists as well as launch a new playlist on one of your mon­i­tors.

You'll be up and run­ning in two min­utes.

A free account lets you con­nect ten image play­ers, and you can upload up to 1,000 pho­tos (2 GB).

With the FRAMEN Play App, you can use every iOS/Android mobile device as a pic­ture frame. This means you can either con­trol oth­er pho­to frames with your mobile phone or become one your­self.

This is genius. All you have to do is scan the QR code in FRAMEN Play, and off you go.

Sol­id as a rock

What struck me, in par­tic­u­lar, was the sta­ble con­nec­tion. You can pow­er off or sleep any imag­ing device, and once it is on again or con­nect­ed to the inter­net, it will resume imme­di­ate­ly where you last were.

This means that you can use an iPad as your pho­to frame, take it off the stand and do some email. When you're done, you call up the FRAMEN Play app again and put it back on the stand. It will con­tin­ue exact­ly where you left it.

You get the same behav­ior when your iPad enters the sleep mode. You wake it up again, and the pho­to show will con­tin­ue.

The same is true if you use a brows­er, e.g. on your desk­top com­put­er. Even after a reboot play­back con­tin­ues if you call up the brows­er address https://framen.tv.

You can see which image play­ers are online and even the pho­to which is cur­rent­ly shown. This gives you per­fect con­trol over all your pic­ture frame wher­ev­er they are.

A small wish­list for ver­sion 2.0

If I had three wish­es for the next ver­sion of the FRAMEN Pho­to soft­ware, this is what I would put for­ward:

The first one con­cerns image tran­si­tions. Cur­rent­ly, they are fixed to "fade to black" on the FRAMEN Play­er pic­ture and "hard cut" to any oth­er hard­ware like tele­vi­sions, Com­put­ers and mobile devices.

If you read my post "How I added cross­fad­ing slide tran­si­tions to my dig­i­tal pic­ture frame using Pi3D" you will know of my pas­sion for slow cross­fades. It would be most delight­ful if FRAMEN Play­er would allow con­fig­ur­ing this type of image tran­si­tion.

Num­ber Two is the selec­tion of playlists. In the cur­rent release, only one playlist can be select­ed at a time. Ver­sion 2.0 should allow mul­ti­ple selec­tions.

Although I like the idea of playlists, I pre­fer to get a ran­dom selec­tion from our 1000+ pho­to pool dur­ing an aver­age week.

My final wish also relates to playlists. Intro­duc­ing a Shuf­fle Play func­tion would increase the sus­pense of which pho­to will show up next.

Con­clu­sion

The func­tion­al­i­ty, design, and per­for­mance of the FRAMEN pic­ture frame soft­ware is most impres­sive, pri­mar­i­ly because it works on so many dif­fer­ent image play­er devices.

I have seen noth­ing which comes even close from the likes of Sam­sung, Memen­to or Meur­al.

With this suite of soft­ware apps, FRAMEN has cre­at­ed a stan­dard for a cross-man­u­­fac­­tur­er pic­ture frame man­age­ment and con­trol soft­ware.

Cur­rent­ly, you can still down­load the FRAMEN Apps for free, but even if or when FRAMEN should decide to charge a fee, it will be worth it.

As I said before writ­ing and design­ing soft­ware is an art. And the com­pa­nies who are good at hard­ware, do not nec­es­sar­i­ly excel at soft­ware.

It makes lit­tle sense for every man­u­fac­tur­er of dig­i­tal pic­ture frames to write their soft­ware. They would be well advised to talk to FRAMEN and get a license.

This, in turn, would also increase the eco­nom­ics of a "Spo­ti­fy for images" plat­form, which would ben­e­fit the entire indus­try.

(Pho­tos: Copy­right Fra­men GmbH)