We’ve followed the progress of the Narrative Clip (formerly Memoto) lifelogging camera since it’s beginnings as a Kickstarter project in 2012, followed by the company’s appearance at SXSW to its launch last year (click on the links to read more about the details of the camera). The camera had a following before it even went into production, receiving more than $500,000 and exceeding its modest initial goal of $50,000.
Now that the camera is out, the Narrative team – President and CEO Martin Källström, CMO and co-founder Oskar Kalmaru, and Niclas Johansson, head of business development and special projects – brought the device to show off to CES attendees in Las Vegas. The small company didn’t make a big splash in the main convention center; instead it had a nondescript section of the Fashionware exhibit at the Sands Convention Center (so hidden that this writer completely missed it).
We caught up with Kalmaru at the show, who gave us an update. Nothing has changed since launch (the only major issue before launch was fixing the GPS, Kalmaru said), but the team’s mission at CES was to introduce the product to potential buyers, establish new retail channels, and gather feedback. Kalmaru said that they’re looking to put the Narrative Clip into stores later this year. So far there are a couple hundred users, but Kalmaru said that number should shoot up to 6,000 when the next batch of shipments go out.
If you’re wondering what’s cool about the camera, Kalmaru reiterated to us the reasons why they created it. “Life passes by fast, it moves so quickly,” he said, mentioning how his young son is growing up fast and how the Narrative Clip is one way he documents the upbringing. He also mentioned CEO Källström’s reason for developing the product: He lost his parents to cancer, but found that, despite the family gatherings, there were very few photos of them. The point of the Narrative Clip is not only to remember the moments, but to appreciate life, Kalmaru said.
When we asked what he thought about competitors like the Autographer and if there’s room for many players, Kalmaru said yes, and that having many different products is a good sign that there’s growth potential and acceptance of this product category. He also doesn’t think smartphones or digital cameras are a threat because the Narrative Clip is more of a lifestyle product that’s doing its own thing.
As for the future, Kalmaru gave us some hints of where they might go – based on user feedback and continuing development – but didn’t reveal exact plans. Next-gen products may include a wide-angle lens, improved “wearability,” and waterproof or water-resistant housing, so that it can be taken into the water. Software, including the companion smartphone app, offers the most flexibility when it comes to development. Later updates might include the app sending you reminders to contact people in your photos that you haven’t seen in a while (because the camera hasn’t captured any photos of them, using facial recognition).
We received a unit for testing and are currently putting it into action. Stay tuned for our review and impressions. Our initial thoughts are still the same since we last saw it as SXSW, but we’ll add that simplicity is key in the design of the product (hardware and software), and installation is quick and painless. The camera started taking photos right away (although it’s difficult to know what it’s shooting, but that’s the point – you’re not suppose to control it, just letting it do its thing), so we’re off to a good start.