The company showed the latest product at CES 2019, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week. Of all the things I’m looking forward to seeing at the event, this is one of them because it’s about tech fading into the woodwork of everyday life. It’s also a product that Netgear should sell in its line of stores.
The canvas comes in two sizes, the 27-inch original design and a smaller 21.5-inch design that also carries a lower price tag. The latest Meural will have four different types of frames. With a paid membership, you can browse through a library of 30,000 curated images from museums, artists, and content partners around the world.
The idea is to bring visual art into your everyday life, said Vladimir Vukicevic, Netgear’s senior director of digital canvas products (and cofounder of Meural), in an interview.
“This doesn’t feel like a gadget,” Vukicevic said. “It’s something consumers can interact with. We wanted to make art accessible, because that demystifies a lot of concepts. We combine art, design, and tech.”
Vukicevic and Jerry Hu started the company in New York in 2014 to create a new category of lifestyle services and products. The company sold out its first batch of products in 2015 and began raising money. Netgear joined in a funding round in 2017, and then Netgear acquired Meural in 2018.
The 27-inch model costs $595, while the 21.5-inch will debut later this year at a lower price as part of an attempt to make the product more accessible to the masses.
The display is high-definition IPS, customized for art and photography. It has gesture-detecting sensors and a light sensor, and can respond to changing lighting conditions for optimal viewing.
It will have a modular structure now, with a variety of options. The frames come in black, white, light wood, and dark wood. It has built-in enhanced Wi-Fi networking. And Meural has created content partnerships with The Little Prince, National Geographic, Norman Rockwell, and the Saturday Evening Post. You can also upload your own photos to the screen.
“It’s for people who want to show their own art,” Vukicevic said.