Yesterday I wrote about Twine, one of my Christmas gadgets that fits in to the category of the Internet of Things. I tend to agree with The Next Web who think that 2013 will be the year of this trend and another of my Christmas gifts is part of this trend.
Little Printer has received a lot of ink over the last few months and made a good number of Christmas wish lists. The web-connected thermal printer issues printouts on what looks like receipts from a cash register with the contents arriving from a variety of content sources such as The Guardian, FourSquare, Instagram and others.
After unboxing the little chap (that’s my name for it) the setup procedure is painless – you plug in the supplied cloud bridge, it connects to the BERG cloud and a few moments later you power up the printer and it murmurs out a unique code. After entering that on the Little Printer website, you can choose your publications and when they should arrive. I chose to have The Guardian news and sports headlines deliver at 6am as well as the weather for Seattle. Now when I wake up, Little Printer’s status light gently glows to let me know what my 'mini newspaper’ is ready for delivery. When I hit the button, the printer hums in to action and moments later I have my snack of news to review with my morning snack. Okay so I pretty much know what the Seattle weather is going to look like but sticking it to the fridge door with a magnet before I head out to work makes me feel like I’m leaving a small gesture to the family who are still asleep and as I walk to the lift in my apartment I can read the news from the UK with my Guardian printout.
I know, I know…I could just read the same information on my phone/PC/Surface <insert your device of choice> but there is a certain nostalgia about getting something on paper. And each print is issued with a smiley face which makes it feel just that little bit personal. My Little Printer now sits in our kitchen and one other nice feature is you can send direct messages to it anytime – which means I can issue small notes to the family while I’m out and about. In fact the whole management of the device is performed via a web page which works wonderfully well on Windows Phone, Android and iPhone.
The printer itself is inkless given that it’s thermal and prints black on white thermochromic paper and the paper is readily available in office supply stores.
I’ll be honest with you – I’ve been eagerly anticipating this product for a while. Something about it just appeals to my inner geek – I think it’s the combination of high tech with low tech and the lovely attention to detail BERG has put in to this. The packaging (like Twine yesterday) is splendid and rather than throw it with all the other Christmas cardboard I’m cherishing it – always a sign of a personal product I think.
Will the idea catch on? Are BERG going to sell millions of these things – perhaps not but I hope the sentiment catches on that there is a world where digital and analog can live in beautiful harmony and make us smile along the way. My Little Printer certainly makes me smile every time I see that glowing light.