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Feature Design S-Frame
Feature Design S-Frame

Careful design behind the scenes

Hakoda: If you like using frames in portrait orientation, you'll appreciate X series design. You may not have realized it, but if a frame is designed to match the aspect ratio of the screen, it looks surprisingly narrow and unstable in portrait orientation. Even I was startled by this, when I saw the first rough mock-up. We examined successive frame prototypes as we fine-tuned the ratio of frame height to width, 2 mm at a time, until we had a reassuring, balanced proportion.

On back, the memory card slot is neatly concealed behind the cover. This helps keep the slot free of dust even when the frame is in portrait orientation. As for the stand, it simply screws in. When hanging the frame on a wall, unscrew the stand and store it on the back of the frame, where it's held by magnetic force. This prevents the stand from being lost when not in use. In a way, it's more reliable than a hinge.

"S-Frame" time display: Inimitable Sony style

Kurokawa: Equally important as industrial design in the "S-Frame" is the user interface. As mentioned, we wanted to demonstrate how photos represent memories, and the most direct example of this in the photo frames is probably the "Time Machine"* slideshow mode. In this mode, time is virtually "rewound" to past moments as the frame switches from one image to another. This animation and the pause at each moment invites viewers to reminisce about when the photo was taken.

Time Machine and other slideshow modes are neat and classic in appearance. We want the frames to be a welcome addition to any room. Rather than distracting owners with an attractive frame, we sought an unobtrusive appearance that blends in perfectly. For the same reason, the effects are by no means flashy or dazzling. Transitions are gradual and natural, because the photos are most important. The thinking behind these slideshows is different from our approach in "Cyber-shot" slideshows, which we hope capture your interest with effects and music.

How the display looks without images was also something we were sensitive to, a sign of customary Sony dedication to design. Full-screen display of clocks or calendars is possible. Probably few products on the market can be changed into clocks as an alternative mode of operation. During this interface work, I imagined what Sony clocks would look like. In the past, our pursuit of a screen that blends into the background led to simple interfaces. But 2009 models expand the frames' repertoire, introducing some engaging interfaces with effective animation, so you now have more display options.

We did face the issue that the same interface gives a different impression at various screen sizes and resolutions. To compensate for this, we made subtle adjustments for each model. We could not compromise in the clock and calendar design just because the product is primarily a digital photo frame; we considered these primary functions, too. I was delighted to hear that owners like these features.

*Excluding DPF-A72

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