High-yield information experiences are increasingly important, and our connected devices provide these experiences on a regular basis. But can print integrate into the information flows emanating from the cloud?

A new product called Little Printer promises to combine the cloud with nice little printings, as this video shows:

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/32796535 w=700&h=400]

The video is appealing in a number of ways. It reminds me of a print version of Flipboard, the iPad reading interface. I can imagine printing out my morning’s Twitter stream or Facebook feed, perhaps a few headlines from a favorite news source, the forecast, and so forth. I could also grab a recipe this way without having to use a full sheet of paper, print coupons, or generate boarding passes. The size is definitely appealing, and suits a lot of the paper use-cases.

The technology seems to rely on a proprietary cloud approach, as detailed in the company’s promotional literature:

Underlying Little Printer is our new technology for connecting and controlling wireless products in the home, and we call it BERG Cloud. Little Printer’s brain isn’t on a chip in its body, but on the Web where it can reach out and touch other Web-enabled services, and where we can provide updates and improvements without you having to install anything. . . . Little Printer wirelessly connects (with no configuration) to a small box that plugs into your broadband router. . . . your phone is your remote control. We think of BERG Cloud as the nervous system for connected products. It’s built to run at scale . . .

I can imagine abstracts printing out on this when an issue is published. Talk about a nice service for scientists and physicians.

Little Printer is due out in 2012. It’s what BERG Cloud is hoping will be a line of smart products pulling information by connecting them to cell phones through the cloud.

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Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson is the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. He has worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are his own.


5 Thoughts on "Little Printer — Possibly a Big Disruptor"

I think when its big brother comes out that we’ll see real disruption.

One thing that immediately springs to mind as a use case is in the laboratory. Having worked in biology methods publishing, we had a hard time figuring out how mobile technologies like iPhones and iPads would work in the wet bench lab. People were indeed switching to them as their main information sources, and yet at the same time, you’d have to be an idiot to use your $600 device on the bench next to the hydrochloric acid or in the hood with your infectious viral vectors. You’re often wearing gloves that have collected noxious chemicals or bacterial cultures. Do you really want to rub those all over the device you’ll be holding next to your face later in the day?

This could provide a quick disposable translation from screen to paper, allowing one to put those instructions where they need to be without risking the destruction or contamination of your telephone.

Also, for more info, Warren Ellis blogged about this printer recently as well:

I think you left out the part where you explain how it will be a “Big Disruptor.”

Yes, sorry about that. I tend to be less verbose on these Friday posts, especially when video is involved. Don’t want too much window-dressing. But I inserted the quote from BERG because I think that hints at the potential disruption the Little Printer and devices like it might represent — wirelessly linked appliances that work through the cloud. MIT has announced something similar — a block of programmable wireless inputs that lets you run if-then statements through it (if I text “laundry”, start the washing machine). Software and hardware would both change with these stabs of wireless programming. Already, things like this are edging in. We have a wireless printer I can email pictures to, and they’ll print. Some have speculated that everything will have an email address soon enough. A small company that brings this little gem of a value transition to fruition could disrupt a lot of bigger players. So, the disruption was more about cloud/wireless than just the printer. Thanks for calling me on this. I should have been a bit more attentive to the promise implicit in the headline.

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