I accidentally acquired a Bergcloud Littleprinter about a year and a half ago, after it had been passed between a number of friends who weren’t sure what to do with it. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know what it did, so it languished in it’s packaging in the corner of my room until I really really needed a small box to send my camera off to the repair shop (yep, my beloved 60D is poorly, but it appears to be a fixable issue) so I decided to remove the contents and figure things out.
The picture shows the actual printer itself – a dinky little cube with a roll of shop receipt – type paper covered in stylised smiley faces. However, the printer is controlled by a larger box rather like a router, which plugs into your actual router. It’s got an almost 1960s TV sci-fi feel, with blocky font labels and large white LEDs in plastic.
The actual set up is the most interesting thing. The printer is designed to be connected to mobile devices, though it can be connected to any computer – anything with internet as far as I can tell. I needed to create an account using my phone, and then things started to get strange….
Little printers are designed to do two things. They can print messages and photos from any device with account access to them – they don’t have to be on the same network. Here’s a Vine of my printer reproducing an Instagram photo of me. I can see how this might be great in an office situation where people can print messages to each other, though with it’s smiley faces and general cutesy-ness, it’s as much designed for home use – their website suggests that families and children would love using this to keep in touch.
The other big feature is publications. Little Printer has almost two hundred publications, almost like apps for a printer. These can send you the new headlines of the day, or a summary of your website use, or a picture for your kids to colour in. I was initially confused by this, but eventually opted for a sample of existential aid publication ‘why’, which twenty seconds later gave me this.
While a part of me cynically feels that this is an executive toy of the digital age, grown from a gimmicky start-up of the kind I hear about constantly on TechCrunch and similar, most of me really likes this idea. I wish it had more social media related publications: for example it can give you daily engagement stats on Flickr and some for Twitter, I would like to see more like that as the idea is really sound, especially if you were running a site or company that needed to keep track of those details and pass them on easily as something similar to a post-it note. At the moment it’s still very developer driven, a place for people to test their ideas (the creators, Bergcloud, seem to have quite close links with Github.)
At the moment I don’t massively have a use for it but I feel like I might in the future. Plus, it’s cute and a bit silly. I’m really glad I have one of these.