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The Little Printer (bergcloud.com)
70 points by baseonmars 1310 days ago | 21 comments



I look at this and I get an itchy feeling in my fingers that the next tech bubble bust is now less than 12 months away.

It's deja vu all over again ... Anyone else remember the CueCat, back in the heady days of 1999?

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000037.html

(I think people with wireless internet connections at home and an iOS/Android device to select stories on are going to read the news on their tablet or smartphone, not some hunk of dead tree. And the stink of flawed business models with high startup costs that nevertheless manage to get enough funding to start shipping hardware is familiar from the last time round on this merry-go-round ...)

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That's like saying Chumby is going to be a failure because PointCast was a bomb.

Aggregating all this social data into new and interesting forms is going to be a big deal, in my opinion. Look at Flipboard. That's an amazing program. Would some people like to have their Flipboard printed and handed to them over morning coffee? I would. Is it practical, considering the iPad can also sit next to you at breakfast? Not really.

This is just a little novelty item that will probably sell just fine. Like Chumby.

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It's a razor model. The handle is free, but you pay for the blades. In this case, the blades are the (non-standard width, thermal) paper.

Meanwhile it doesn't give the user anything useful that they can't already read on their smartphone, does it? So what is it for? It's not a substitute for the existing multifunction printer. It's an inferior substitute to the existing RSS reader or equivalent. There's no value proposition I can see for the consumer, so they must be looking at some other source of income, which means there must be some value proposition for the information suppliers. But what is it?

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Non-standard? You can buy the paper in any Staples. It's standard width.

They're selling physical products for more money than it costs them to make. That's the business model.

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Where did you see a price (or lack thereof) on the site? I can't find anything.

I could see companies giving these away to employees for free, just so we can get closer to the Corbin Dallas universe:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjLO_CrZRmM

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Considering BERG is a design consultancy, I'd say this is more of an ad for their services first. It looks cute, and I'm sure there are people who would buy it for the novelty factor.

I'm not sure how you can compare that to CueCat? Which was a full fledged company.

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QR codes are the new CueCat.

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My friend Ian hacked a 'social printer' which is like an alpha version of The Little Printer, blogged about: http://ianozsvald.com/2010/11/06/building-a-social-microprin...

Berg's product looks like a proper, developed version of what Ian made, and does many of the things that were talked about as possibilities when he showed it at at couple of events.

Does it have a massive market? No. Does it have a niche market where Berg can make some money back? I think so. Did Berg see this as a fun internal project to see what's possible and can the ideas it sparked be used by some of their clients? More than possibly.

Berg have a decent following in the crowd of people who might buy something like this. It's not going to make them a fortune, but they're bright people and I'm sure they don't expect it to. It's just as much an advert for what they can do as it is a product in it's own right.

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This blog post from 2006 (when they were called Schulze & Webb) should provide some context for their broader intentions: http://berglondon.com/blog/2006/10/06/my-printer-my-social-l...

Tom Taylor's Microprinter was a sort of prototype for the ideas therein: http://tomtaylor.co.uk/projects/microprinter

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I think it's a little depressing that they paint a picture where people no longer roll out the newspaper in the morning, but instead print a miniscule dashboard of social media updates to be digested along with the eggs and bangers instead.

I wonder how true the replacement with the "social media breakfast" is, though.

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There's a nice writeup here which gives an idea of some of the uses Berg envision for this: sticking things up on the fridge, giving to friends, carrying with you for instant reference without having to wait for an app to load.

http://www.fastcodesign.com/1665514/a-newspaper-for-the-twit...

I can also imagine it being useful to carry backup info (appointments, addresses, travel details and codes etc) just in case you find yourself in an area with no phone reception.

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I'd use it for two things: directions and boarding passes. Otherwise my printers are basically containers where the kids go to get blank paper to draw on.

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I could see myself using a "daily list/meetings/to-dos" with something like this. Like when I wake up I will have my little note with things to do today / tomorrow.

I have way to many bookmarks/read later/todo-websites,apps etc. In the digital media that is, computers etc.

Then again I don't have a smartphone and I think the iPhones lockinfo solves this problem for me. I just need to have things set in stone where I look 1000 times a day. But I much prefer physical media.

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Is it just me that saw this and was struck by the essential wastefulness of paper? Using a smartphone to select items to print out and read on a smartphone-sized piece of paper seems like we're through the looking glass. We've been talking about the paperless office for decades, but somehow we just can't seem to get past smearing carbon on cellulose. Are Amazon going to have to give away Kindles in cereal boxes for us to finally move on?

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A cube with a smiling Hitler face that produces printouts of Foursquare noise? Sign me up!

(...Sorry about the snark. The product actually looks pretty fun. It's just that use example shown on the landing page isn't necessarily the best.)

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While it's hard for me to see any practical reason for this product to exist, there's a certain sort of optimistic retrofuturism to it, on-demand printing being the primary method of data display in early Asimov-era science fiction.

If this product succeeds, it will be through tapping that cultural association with a world of flying cars and other high-tech impracticalities.

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If the price is right, this would be a fun thing to have at the house. I could see sending notes, puzzles, and funny drawings home to the kids while traveling for work. It would be perfect to print the grocery list and todo lists, two things that we manage via apps, but that are really easier to consume on paper.

Hopefully they will have some sort of API to go along with it.

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A receipt re-printer is pretty useful. I would like to scan my receipts and just reprint them anytime I need them for the brick and mortar stores.

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Fun, but less great from a sustainability perspective.

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How about this: Connect it to a live stock market data feed and have it continuously print out stock prices as trades occur.

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... then feed it into a shredder at the other end. A perfect metaphor for the stock market.

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