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Joy is a 13-inch tablet designed to replace the photo album

We capture lots of digital photos and videos, but we don’t have a lot of ways to display them in the real world. We can back them up to the cloud, but once we do, there’s really no where to show our photos off. You can make a slideshow or something but seriously, who wants a slideshow? You can upload them to Facebook, Flickr, or Google Photos to share with friends, but again, this really doesn’t get us anywhere. If you want to sit down with your parents and show them photos from a trip or your kid’s first smile, a shared folder might not work. A new digital photo album, Joy, is designed to fix that problem. It’s a Full HD, 13.3-inch touchscreen that can be controlled through a companion iOS / Android app. It doesn’t have ports and relies on wireless inductive charging. The hardware itself isn’t the exciting part, although the design really is lovely. The software is what makes Joy shine.

Joy runs on a proprietary OS that dedicates the tablet to displaying photos and videos. Users can make albums on their phone that include most file types, including video, GIFs, raw files, and panoramas. It can also pull from Dropbox and Google Photos, among other services. Albums then live on Joy and in the cloud. The company gives users 10GB of cloud storage that can be upgraded. Going up to 500GB of storage will cost $6.99 per month, and 1TB of storage will cost $9.99 per month. The idea is to bring back the era of sitting on your couch with a photo album and paging through photos with family and friends. There’s more of a storytelling aspect involved in that case as compared to Facebook captions. These digital albums can be shared with other Joy owners and viewed on their device.

I was impressed with Joy when I checked it out in-person. I love revisiting physical photo albums my mom put together of my family years ago. She doesn’t make albums as much anymore, and although my dad might sometimes upload trip photos to Flickr, I never find the time to look at them. But even if I did, the experience of flipping through baby photos and seeing them on Flickr isn’t the same. I’m less interested. Of course, the nature of photos has changed with the smartphone. We used to purposely shoot, whereas now we just do it because we can. A photo of a chicken sausage sitting on a plate? Sure, why not! My friend’s baby putting her finger up to her nose? Okay! We have the space, and while some of these photos might just be for us, friends and family might want to view them too, maybe even when they’re over for dinner.

Digital photo frames have existed for years, and plenty of other companies are trying to find the best way to display digital photos. I’m not sure if Joy will be the gadget to restore photo albums to their original glory, but I at least appreciate the effort. Joy will cost $499, but preorders start at $299 today.

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