Berg, a design studio based in London, has unveiled a small printer that lets you create a personalized, paper-and-ink newspaper from your social feeds.
The cube-shaped Little Printer is designed to be cute: It has a stenciled, child-like face, red feet and is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Using an accompanying iPhone or Android app, it can be programmed to print news updates once or twice per day from your preferred news publications, social networks and data-collecting apps, such as Nike+. (Nike, along with Arup, Foursquare, Google and The Guardian, have been named as launch partners.) Updates appear in the form of paper strips about the width of an iPhone and up to 10 inches long.
In an age in which physical media is being increasingly replaced by digital, Berg’s printer is an unusual product. After all, we’ve always gotten our Facebook and Foursquare updates online. Why would we want to start printing them?
Berg CEO Matt Web contends that online information can be made more palatable in physical form. “We love physical stuff,” he said in a statement Monday morning. “Connecting products to the Web lets them become smarter and friendlier –- they can sit on a shelf and do a job well, for the whole family or office –- without all the attendant complexities of computers, like updates or having to tell them what to do. Little Printer is more like a family member or a colleague than a tool.”
He also thinks it’s better for encouraging social interactions. “Paper is like a screen that never turns off. You can stick to the fridge or tuck it in your wallet. You can scribble on it or tear it and give it to a friend,” he observed.
The product will be made available for pre-order in 2012, the first of several connected, wireless products the company has in development.
Although the video below paints an enticing picture, it’s difficult to imagine engaging with the product on a daily basis. I already have a large stack of unread New Yorkers on my desk, and I’m not sure I want to pile receipts on top of them. What is appealing is being able to create a snapshot of all of my top news — general and social — on a daily or twice-daily basis. That’s certainly something I’d like to access and archive in digital form.
What do you think of the printer? Are you interested in owning one?