ZINK: An Inkless Portable Pocket Printer
Your pocket: the final frontier. This is the mission of the new Zink printer.
Zink, which stands for Zero Ink, has developed a process of portable picture printing using paper embedded with dye crystals activated by heat from the unit. Now, while this may bring to mind the old Polaroid pictures of your youth, this paper is completely different. It is not light sensitive nor silver based as Polaroids used to be. It is actually special thermal paper with 100 patents and patents-pending.
The standalone printer is about the size of a PDA and prints out 2" x 3" pictures (about the size of a business card). You can print wirelessly or via a USB connection, making it compatible with virtually every wireless digital image product available today. It is expected to retail for $99.
While no pricing has been listed for the paper to date, the cost of printing pictures with this technology will be considerably cheaper than having to continually purchase ink for laser printers or desktop picture printers. Zink's goal is to make the paper as widely available as ink and toner for printers.
Also in development is a integrated digital camera and printer with a two-inch LCD, plus a built-in seven-megapixel camera with a 3X optical zoom, flash, multiple scene modes, and SD Card expansion. digital camera with the printer built right in. This camera will have the capability of printing in both 2" x 3" and 4" x 6". The expected retail for the camera is $199.
While Zink hasn't listed a specific market that they are targeting for this printer, the availability of a sticky-back paper issued with the printer means this printer should be popular with the Internet generation, but could also be extremely useful for many other areas such as teachers, law enforcement officials, and advertising executives, to name a few.
In the future, if this technology takes off, you could see these printers appearing in video game consoles, DVD players, desktop computers, laptops, plasma and LCD tvs, and more.
The standalone printer is due out by the end of the year.