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Pandigital takes another crack at the digital kitchen

pandigital-kitchen-frame.pngToday, Pandigital, one of the most successful digital photo frame vendors, takes the wraps off a new display product aimed at the kitchen. The kitchen is often an activity hub of the home, but limited progress has been made turning it into a digital hub. Nonetheless, that hasn’t been for lack of trying, particularly for Internet appliances. 3Com’s ill-fated (and perhaps just simply ill) Audrey was targeted at the kitchen, as were a few incarnations of the pricey Icebox device, which integrated a television, DVD player, and Web browser along with a washable keyboard. The PC most explicitly designed for use in the kitchen today is the HP TouchSmart PC.

There have also been a few specialized grocery list organizers and simple digital reminders, such as the Simpliciti Aurora, the inexpensive Jenda, the even more recent SmartShopper, and the imminent Audiovox Digital Message Centers. Like the Audiovox product, the Pandigital Kitchen HDTV/Digital Cookbook/Digital Photo Frame (yes, that’s its real name), includes a digital photo frame, reflecting Pandigital’s main business. And like the Icebox, it includes a TV (albeit a digital one). There aren’t may details about the digital cookbook part.

The 15″ screen with 512 MB of RAM will cost $399 whan it’s released in June. The TV will support 720p output. The specs say it will be able to display pictures from Picasa Web so there is probably some network connectivity. At $399, it will be a relatively niche product, but Pandigital will try to cover the decor bases by offering black, white and stainless finishes for this unique hybrid.