Future sales looks picture-perfect for digital picture frames

They’re never going to be as ubiquitous as iPods or cell phones, but digital photo frames are generating huge sales that are going to increase over the next four years. According to research firm IDC, digital frames are projected to pass the 42 million mark in sales by 2011. The study, titled “Digital Frames 2007-2011: Re-igniting Soft Display Imaging Solutions,” studied the market in the United States and around the world.

The findings noted the best-selling frames were in the 5-inch to 7-inch range in 2006, but now are in the 7-inch to 9-inch range that is expected to be the size of choice from now until 2011. The price of digital frames has been decreasing the past year and is projected to drop 16.5 percent over the next four years.

“As the desire to view digital images on soft displays rather than hard copies grows, digital frames will realize significant shipment increases in all regions around the world,” said IDC program director of Digital Imaging Solutions Ron Glaz, adding that frame suppliers will need to find new applications for the technology so that it will “seamlessly fit into the evolving digital home content ecosystem.”

Some suppliers are already using digital photo frame technology in other product areas. Some digital clocks are being equipped with 1.8-inch LCD screens that can switch from a clock façade to a digital frame slide show with the touch of a button. Others are offering digital frames with such added features as the ability to play MP3s with built-in speakers and to play video.