Displaylink USB video technology introduced the possibility of secondary USB monitors to the technology community. ASUS has now successfully extended this technology to create a unique product, the ASUS UFOTO, which combines the functionality of a photo frame and a secondary monitor. It is a 7″ monitor that allows a high resolution display of up to 800×400 pixels (720×480 viewing area).
It serves very well as a photo frame because as a standalone gadget, it is able to store over 700 photos with its in-built 128MB memory. The product features auto image rotation for vertical or horizontal placement. If the in-built memory is not enough, adding additional storage devices is also possible. The UFOTO supports CF/FD/MMC/MS/xD cards and an external USB flash drive. It can be plugged into an AC power source, or it can operate on its own, drawing power from its in-built rechargeable battery. It even allows photo searching by specific dates. Several popular image formats are supported, including JPG (the most common), BMP, and GIF.
The UFOTO looks very elegant sitting on a desk or hanging on a wall. Left on its own, it is able to display a huge number of photos in a slideshow. To make the slideshow more interesting, it is also possible to play MP3 while the slideshow is displaying.
Similar to full-size LCD monitors, the UFOTO is also capable of adjusting its brightness according to the surrounding ambiance automatically. For example, when the surrounding light dims, the display adjusts itself until a comfortable level is attained. This is to ensure that the photos are always displayed in the best possible light.
The other primary function that the UFOTO serves is as a secondary LCD monitor. When plugged into the USB port of a desktop computer, the display can be synchronized to either look exactly like the parent monitor or display a totally different application altogether. This is useful for being able to see your screen from another location or running multiple applications concurrently without cluttering up monitor space.
For those who are concerned about the design of the unit, the ASUS UFOTO comes in three cool colors: star silver, blush pink, and sky blue. It has a shiny exterior casing, which makes the appearance highly compatible with Apple desktops and laptops.
Finally, note that the ASUS UFOTO is designed to be a simple piece of hardware. As the USB video technology is still in its infancy, do not expect the UFOTO to be able to display advanced 3D graphics. However, the technology at its current stage is ideal for displaying photos, playing music, or even watching videos. Available at a mere 0,6kg, the UFOTO is perhaps the smallest monitor around with this much functionality.