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*August 5, 2006 – *Online greeting card provider TalkingPix.com recently launched the "world’s first physical talking photo cards," according to the parent company Voice-Express website.
Voice-Express, who five years ago partnered with Build-A-Bear to sell over 3 million audio teddy bears, launched TalkingPix.com in June 2006. Since then, TalkingPix.com has produced a few hundred talking photo cards, according to Voice-Express Executive Vice President Andrew Barer of Sales and Marketing.
The photo cards "bring images to life with sound," said Barer.
At a price tag of $6.95 and $2.05 for shipping, users can personalize photo cards in 4x8 or 5x7 options for print and delivery. Users of Flash-enabled TalkingPix.com customize their card in a four-step process by first uploading their own digital photo and then recording a personalized audio message of up to ten seconds. Users can use a computer microphone. For those sans microphone, users can call a company number to record their message or music with the option to re-record.
After purchasing, the card is then sent for printing. In three business days, the recipient gets the card in a clear plastic sleeve and decorative envelope. The audio can be played up to 400 times on the included battery.
"E-cards are trapped in the digital world," said Barer. The TalkingPix cards "bridge the digital with the physical," he said. Unlike electronic postcards, the talking cards are printed to view multiple times, ideal for non-computer saavy users, sleep-away campers, or military officers in remote areas.
Under the Connecticut National Guard Family Program, Connecticut-based Voice-Express/TalkingPix.com will donate 250 coupons for family members of the Charley Company 102nd Infantry Division, according to Photo Marketing Association.
"Mail call is the highlight of [the soldiers’] day," said Barer. "It’s one thing to get an email; it’s another to get a card that you can listen to over and over again," he said.
Voice-Express plans to later offer talking photo frames and talking handbags. The company seeks to create a business model targeted towards photo-sharing websites such as Snapfish and retail digital labs such as Ritz to create multiple greeting cards.
One woman, before her father had passed away, sent her mother an audio card with his voice. The mother keeps it under her pillow and plays it every night, according to Barer.
"People who get [the cards] just love them," he said.