In pocket or backpack, printers are the new phone accessory
Bangalore, February 4 2017: 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? Nah!
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 too, a printer is a sensible accessory to own -- unless you want to run to the nearest copy shop every time you need a printout
But 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 end of the market, this took the form of mobile 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.
At CES 2017 earlier 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 it on top of the printer. Voila! Using a combo of WiFi and Near Field Communication this triggers the printer to shoot out a print. The product will reach markets later this year.
Zink printers are not a solution for professional work, which demands that prints are in the standard Letter or A4 size. Major printer brand names lie 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( see our review ).
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 these 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