Photogram opens public beta to shape the development of its Alice Camera
Last month, London startup Photogram revealed a prototype of the upcoming Alice Camera, where a clamped-on, wirelessly connected smartphone is used for control and image previews. Now the company has launched a limited beta program ahead of a crowdfunding campaign next year, to get early adopters involved in the development process.
Since the reveal, Photogram's CEO, Vishal Kumar, has received quite a few emails from people asking to test the camera unit, which is not possible at this time as the project is still in development. But this early interest has led to the launch of a nine-month beta program to give folks the opportunity to help shape the future of the product.
The beta will be limited to 50 participants, and there will be a participation fee to help the company pay for some of the high quality components and manufacturing costs for pre-production hardware, and for custom software development.
Full access will require beta program members to be either based in the UK or able to travel to London to get involved in the final stage pre-production camera testing. This tier will require members to stump up US$1,000.
For those who live outside of the UK and can't make it in person for the final part of the process, there's a remote access option for $600, but a very limited student access level is also being offered for free to undergraduates or those under the age of 21.
For the first stage of the program, members of the beta group will be asked to share their thoughts on what they like about existing cameras, what they're not so keen on and what they would like to see. It is hoped that this will give Photogram developers a baseline to work from.
Next up for discussion will be ergonomics. Group members in the UK will also be invited to the team's London office for a hands-on look at the prototype, and those elsewhere will be sent a 3D model for viewing in augmented reality.
Stage 2 will focus on the mobile app that will run on the clamped-on smartphone, covering basic functionality, onscreen controls layout, AI features and so on. The team will also go under the hood on computational photography in a series of lectures.
The final stage of the beta program is only open to folks already in the UK or able to fly over to London, and they will get the chance to go hands-on with a pre-production Alice Camera. Stage 3 will also involve social events and group meetups to keep the conversation going while providing opportunities for beta group members to meet with others and the Photogram team.
Applications for the Alice Camera beta program are open now until November 15, with Stage 1 due to kick off on November 30. In the two weeks inbetween, the Photogram team will select a mixed sample of photographers, filmmakers, YouTubers, content creators, makers/coders and so on to take part in the program.
When the Alice Camera goes into production – currently estimated for around August 2021 – beta program members will each be shipped a limited edition, fully functioning production unit with a custom engraving.
The video below has more.