Kickstarter is sometimes the place where good ideas go to die, but it is also sometimes the place where good ideas survive in spite of having the odds stacked against them. I think we may have one such campaign going on right now, and I am kicking myself for not covering last week.
Vikaura is a relatively new and unknown E-ink partner which is trying to bring a line of smartphone enabled digital picture frames to market. Similar to the InkCase Plus from Oaxis, a Vikaura screen will pair with your smartphone over Bluetooth and you will be able to send images and text to it.
According to the KS campaign, you can:
- Drive content directly from your phone to your Vikaura Screen. Have a to-do list, note for the kids, shopping list? Drive it to a Vikaura Screen. Visible, tangible, efficient. Found a cool image? Drive it out of your phone and onto your wall! Like a recipe? Why squint and waste your phone or tablet battery? Vikaura will display it for you and turn back to whatever you like when you're done.
- Subscribe to feeds that can automatically push information to your Vikaura Screens - news feeds, weather for the day, daily calendar. Have them already displayed by the front door or on the nightstand when you wake up.
- Create a network of friends (app-linking) whereby you give permission to them to drive content to your screens.
I don't know about you, but I like the subscribe option the most. That is something I would likely use on a regular basis.
If the campaign gets fully funded on Kickstarter, the frames will be available in a variety of sizes ranging from a pocketable 4" to 6" and larger 9.7" screen.
I thought this was a nifty idea when I discovered it buried in the back of the E-ink booth at CES, but between one thing and another I didn't write about it. No one else seemed interested, not even E-ink, and I figured without any publicity it had no chance. In retrospect, I think I erred.
The campaign has only been covered by Techdirt (it was also picked up by the Backer Club) and it has already raised nearly $20 thousand of the $125,000 goal. That's not nearly enough but it is far more than I was expecting.
Pledges start at $5, and go up from there. The 4" unit costs $99, and if you put in $129 you can get a 6" unit. You can also put down $199 and get the 9.7" unit,or you can even contribute more and get a bundle of screens.
And for the princely sum of $1,000 Vikuara will also throw in an API so you can program your own features. I think that's steep, but there are already 3 backers at that level (there's also a backer who has gone for the $4,000 distributor pack).
As I see it, Vikaura is finding a market without being widely hyped on tech blogs everywhere. That tells me that with a little support, it could well achieve its goal in the 21 days remaining.
What do you think if the idea? Will you back the campaign?