The days of printing the old fashion way is coming to an end. Zink (the Zero Ink printer)is the Massachusetts-based company that has announced the development of a printer, which is small enough that can go in your pocket. This pocket-sized printer will be able to print small images, 2- x 3-inch, in color and offer ink-free printing. It’d be able to print your pics without a single drop of ink, which would likely make some ink producers out of business. How does this work? Images are created when a heated printer head comes into contact with a sheet of specialized paper, which includes a layer of dye crystals sealed under a special polymer coating-embedded paper and apparently brings them through to the surface of the paper. The end result is a color photo.
The Zink printer is 4 to 10 times faster than a traditional ink jet printer. And, the total print cost is lower than ink jets. Zink will be a great technology in the photo printing industry. The prints themselves are waterproof and look great, and the paper is apparently protected by multiple patents. ZINK plans to sell handheld standalone mobile printers as well as embed the printer in other devices, including a soon-to-be-announced 7-megapixel camera (no names yet).
Paper prices will be set by distributors, but company reps say it will be cheap — likely something in the neighborhood of 20 cents per sheet. Business models and things like the channel for distributing the paper still need some ironing out. But a bigger questions is whether this will this play in a business document context, where you need full-size printouts (as opposed to snapshots, where the potential is high). The company’s first products will likely be $99 standalone pocket printer or $199 camera printer hybrid, while the snazzy paper will run you $19.95 for a pack of one hundred. The printer will contain Bluetooth wireless radio technology, as well as a port for a USB cable.
Think about it this was, so many of us have cell phones and we take pictures, but hardly get them printed, right? Well Zink has developed a one button printer that can also connect to your camera phone so you can print right there on the spot!
Zink and its unnamed partners are also planning a $199 digital camera with a built-in printer, that would eject photographic prints in much the same way as an old-fashioned Polaroid camera. Sounds like a winner, but only time will tell, visit the official website for more information as well as a demonstration.