The Premise. Everything is mobile now, as phones and tablets are capable of doing almost everything a desktop computer can accomplish — everything except print, that is. Though these devices certainly can print, most people don’t want to lug a big desktop printer around with them for documents. Portable options to date — at least those for a full-page — haven’t been all that portable.
The Product. The ZUtA Pocket Printer offers grayscale printing that lives up to its name in terms of size. The way the printer works is rather ingenious; one sets it upon the page and running along it robotically to print as it moves. Because of this design, the Pocket Printer can sync wirelessly to any phone, tablet, or laptop, and can print on paper of any dimensions. With a USB-rechargeable battery, the Pocket Printer can print for up to an hour on one charge and the inkjet lasts for over 1,000 pages.
The Pitch. Seeing the prototype of the ZUtA Pocket Printer in action is more like a proof of concept than a finished product. The barebones robot slowly slides its way across the page at a rate that’s a little difficult to watch, but the people behind the product are confident that by the time it releases it will perform much closer to people’s expectations of what a printer should do. For those interested in the how of this little device, the campaign photos do a great job of explaining the design and functionality of the Pocket Printer. ZUtA needs to raise $400,000 to complete prototyping and manufacturing.
The Perks. The Mars Black Pocket Printer is available for $200 and is expected to launch at the start of next year. Those who want the Titanium White model or a special Kickstarter-branded variant will have to pay a little extra, but will still get their product at the same time.
The Potential. In the campaign video, the designers mention that their target is to get the production model to print at a rate of a page per minute. That may not sound like much after we’ve all been spoiled by laser printers, but to have a device that small handle printing from any location, a minute per page is extremely reasonable. It may not actually fit in your pocket (at least your jeans pocket), but this approach to the issue of mobile printing makes a lot of sense and may draw in people for the novelty factor before a future generation holds broader appeal.