Technology Other News 31 Jan 2017 Carry your printer w ...

Carry your printer with you, in your pocket

INDIATECHONLINE | ANAND PARTHASARATHY
Published Jan 31, 2017, 10:58 am IST
Updated Jan 31, 2017, 11:00 am IST
In pocket or backpack, printers are the new phone accessory.
In the consumer market, this took the form of  pocket printers, where you could take a photo with your phone (usually a selfie!) and instantly print out copies for your friends.
 In the consumer market, this took the form of pocket printers, where you could take a photo with your phone (usually a selfie!) and instantly print out copies for your friends.

Forget whatever they told you about the paperless office. Not going to happen any time soon. And in a country like India where bureaucracy insists on "ink-signed" documents and bills in original, the all-digital office is a distant dream. Less paper? Maybe. Paperless? Naa!

Which is why printer makers have never been short of business, even as office automation matures in other ways. If you are a home PC user, a printer is a sensible accessory to own — unless you want to run to the nearest copy shop every time you need a printout

 

We spend so much time on the move — for work or play — with a tablet or a smart phone the only connected device we carry. This has created a new need and a new niche: Say hello to printing on-the-go.

In the consumer market, this took the form of pocket printers, where you could take a photo with your phone (usually a selfie!) and instantly print out copies for your friends. This has seen the revival, after many years, of so-called Zink or Zero Ink printers like Polaroid Zip or Fuji Instax, where the ink is embedded in the paper. Zink paper doesn't come cheap — each print could cost Rs 80-100 and the size is quite small, about 2-inch by 3-inch. The printer costs between Rs 16,000 and Rs 18,000 and works with a separately bought instant camera

 

At CES 2017 this month, Samsung unveiled a Zink printer which offers a slightly larger print. It is called Image Stamp and is about the size of a mobile phone. Take a photo with your phone, then place the phone on top of the printer— and voila! A combo of WiFi and Near Field Communication, triggers the printer to shoot out a print. The technology will reach markets later this year.

Zink printers are not a solution for professional work, which demands prints in the international Letter or A4 size. Major printer brands like HP Office Jet and Canon Pixma, offer portable A4 size printers. The latest, smallest and lightest in this category comes from Epson. I have been trying it out for a few days.

 

Mobile printer

Hovering somewhere in a trishanku world between the Zink mobile printer and the A4 portables, is another class of portable photo printers optimised to churn out 4 inch by 6 inch colour glossies. You will find lunch-box-sized, models like Canon Selphy, Epson Picturemate etc with photographers at tourist spots. They will take your picture and provide an instant print, for a price.

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