CR Blog

Berg's Little Printer

Digital

Posted by Eliza Williams, 29 November 2011, 15:30    Permalink    Comments (35)

Design studio Berg has announced a new product, the Little Printer, which will be available for purchase in 2012. According to Berg's blog, the Little Printer "lives in your front room and scours the web on your behalf, assembling the content you care about into designed deliveries a couple of times a day".

The film below shows the Little Printer in action:

Users configure the Little Printer from their mobile phones, and the product launches in partnership with Google, the Guardian, Nike, Arup and foursquare. The Little Printer will receive personalised information from these sites, and presumably other sources as it gets up and running. It is the first product that uses the 'Berg Cloud' technology, a new way of connecting and controlling wireless products in the home. The Little Printer wirelessly connects to a small box plugged into a broadband router, which is controlled by a mobile phone rather than a PC.

"We love physical stuff," say Berg on their blog. "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."

We've yet to see the Little Printer in action: judging from the film we do wonder whether a small paper print out will be able to contain the huge amount of news, opinions and ideas that come at us digitally every day. And people will undoubtedly flag up the question of paper wastage. But, having said that, paper still holds a huge place in our lives; as Berg puts it: "Paper is like a screen that never turns off. You can stick it to the fridge or tuck it in your wallet. You can scribble on it, or tear it and give it to a friend."

More info on the Little Printer is at the Berg website, bergcloud.com/littleprinter/, where you can also join the mailing list to be the first to be informed on news about the product launch.

 



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35 Comments

Love it, lush graphic design... but how environmentally friendly is it to print information that is already available online in so many different forms, apps. websites and of course most of what this prints you can check on your phone.

This is something beautiful, but is it design in the right direction? Perhaps Berg should take a look at where the paper comes from? Couldn't see on their site anything addressing that issue.
Dave
2011-11-29 15:40:31


Personally, I think this is a wasteful gimmic in its current incarnation. How ever it would be interesting to see it adapted for commercial purposes when Contact-less payment becomes more common, pay with your iphone and get a snippet of upcoming events from your Facebook, your most recent notifications from Twitter, or a snippet of your bank balance...
Darren
2011-11-29 17:08:19


I don't see the point or need for a device that prints black and white grainy images onto what is essentially a till-roll. The fact that data is sent wirelessly from a smartphone only really underlines the point - why not send it to another smart phone?? That way you can see it in full colour / quality, share it, save it etc??

Amazed that they've got the backing of Google, The Guardian & Nike, especially with the green police preaching to us about printing less and using less paper. Good luck to Berg but if I was a Dragon, I'd be out!
Peter
2011-11-29 18:28:44


I think it's a great idea and terrific execution. I wish I had thought of it. Looks like it uses standard receipt paper rolls and I'm sorry, but those aren't going away anytime soon. I live in a country where you can't just whip out a smartphone to look at your calendar/notes/life whenever you want, because you'll get shot in the head for it, and/or there's no data.

So I write everything down in a moleskine. But I'd rather be able to print out small notes from something like this. It's probably less wasteful as the paper is a much lower quality stock, without fancy binding, etc.
braaad
2011-11-29 18:37:10


It is cute but seems wasteful and really useless. It is a small thermal printer—not very green.
steve kennedy
2011-11-30 00:45:03


Pretty darn adorable, I'd pop it into my 'want' pile but would it be used? I imagine it would soon become something like my digital photo frame, on the fireplace, unused and unplugged,
Kieran Harrod
2011-11-30 09:50:50


Love the idea of this and it looks a great little gadget. However, I as above would question how environmentally friendly this would be....... Also, the information provided is readily available on the net and with a large percentage of the population owning a smartphone they can access this quite quickly.

But as the above comments, would be interesting if something like this could be used commercially in the future with mobile payments, perhaps linked up so you can get your product receipts for purchases at home if needed (receipts get easily lost or just left in your wallet/purse).....
Martin
2011-11-30 10:00:52


If you're all going to rattle on about the environmental effects of this tiny little product, then go ahead and march into every supermarket you pass and let them know how you feel.

It's a fun little gadget, it will change lives as much as it will destroy forests.
Rob
2011-11-30 10:22:04


i've already got this lot tucked in my wallet. i'll need a bigger wallet.

http://pic.twitter.com/iephQ6FB
david janes
2011-11-30 11:07:17


I think the big question everyone is missing here is:

how much will a new ink cartridge cost?
M-rk
2011-11-30 11:40:48


The fax machine is making a comeback!
Sam
2011-11-30 11:56:39


I love it! Why? Because i'm taking it for what it is - A JOKE. It's funny
P Ren
2011-11-30 12:34:19


Not sure why everyone got on an environmental bent with this. They little bit of paper this would use in a month would not compare to one cereal box.

The whole point is to deliver a richer and smarter experience using print.

WELL DONE!!!
Chris
2011-11-30 15:37:23


Reinventing paper no less !

Environmentally it would be interesting to know how much energy is wasted turning on a device or computer just to read one piece of information, several times. These very small bits of paper are persistent and if used wisely could be less wasteful than their digital cousins.

Looking at the video there is a crossword printed out. How many minutes will I spend charging my battery to play that game on a device or other computer ?

Another image in the video shows a printout placed on a fridge door. Wouldn't it be more wasteful to have an LCD made to do the same job ?

What do you do with the shopping trolley printout ? Chuck it without even looking at it most likely, but these cute little printouts are far more interesting and useful to pass around. They will have longevity far surpassing the checkout printout.

Stick some barcodes on there and now you have a neat ticketing system and all sorts of other real world potential.

Marvellous.
Timoto
2011-11-30 15:37:28


@ M-rk, if it's a thermal printer, it doesn't need a cartridge. Heat activates a chemical reaction in special thermochromic paper and the graphics appear.
Alan
2011-11-30 16:19:08


I think this is a great product! I wish they were out to purchase for Christmas presents!!!! I know I would use it every day. The viedo is very informative on ways to use it. I love the size, the paper and the little man. Who ever had the idea is a great thinker and should not listen to all the the people that have no vision. Great job! Everyone sould love to work for a company that sees outside the "box' like this! Good Luck and Congradulation on a great product. Please let me know when and where I can purchase one once it is realeased.
Lori Snyer
2011-11-30 17:47:24


I've read all the critics, and it might be not totally environmental friendly, even though I think that's an overstatement, but some people like me end up writing all sorts of things in little pieces of paper anyway, or in the moleskine or in a bunch of post-its... I think it's a little device made by and for compulsive-mini-writers, not intended to go massive and destroy the world. And is super cute.
Ana
2011-11-30 19:06:11


It was already done, 2004, IDII student >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngDnxPuVNSA they fished the idea?
conti
2011-11-30 19:47:50


Perfect, my to do lists have to be on a phyaucal piece of paper for me to do them but i think of things i have to do throughout the day. Now I could compile my to do list where ever i am on my Phone and send it to my little printrr back home. i love it.
cissy
2011-11-30 20:13:41


It is far too easy to knock something like this. What is cute but pointless to one person may have a really useful application to another. It's obviously never going to be mass market but it's a good experiment with a few old ideas but new technologies. There is something very charming about it!
Graphic Design Harrogate
2011-12-01 12:04:59


This information is utterly transient and temporal. Transient - Once I've read/consumed it its served the purpose, why do I need a hard copy when I can do this in better fidelity and with higher convenience on my smart phone screen?

Temporal - I only find I have time to engage with this type of information at opportunist times of day, say on the train going to work, or in the five minutes before a meeting....shame the latest news and info is coming hot off the press several miles away at home...on hold on I can get it on....you guessed it my smartphone.

Lets not confuse the charm of the anthropomorphic interface with the idea of a functionally useful product. If you think this product have value you might as well just buy a tamagotchi thingy for your desk and keep on enjoying your smartphone.
Kevin Mercer
2011-12-01 12:49:04


fantastic!
krina
2011-12-01 12:58:10


If your concerned about being green then theres more to the arguement than if it uses paper or not. Paper if well sourced and recycled can be the most sustainable resource we have, can you say the same for server farms? Consider how much energy a website takes to host 24/7, some information is much more sustainable printed than hosted on a site. Its also inkless and therefore it doesn't take any ink most of which are petroleum based or have heavy metals (VOCs) like barium in them. Sustainability is a larger issue and having a product like this (a small, low production item) won't make the world greener, major companies like Apple are really the main influencers and should be hounded to become as sustainable as possible as most of the stuff they sell are mass produced.

The argument of the Prius and the Hummer is interesting. The Prius is made in japan and shipped to America for sale, over its average lifespan because of the slow shipping by boat means that its sustainability factor is greatly reduced. However the Hummer is manufactured in America and over its average lifespan will be more sustainable than the Prius. Most of the time a product can be sustainable but theres more to being sustainable than what the product is made of. 'Paraphrased' from Design is the Problem - The future of design must be sustainable by Nathan Shedroff

The Berg cloud is lovely, its of limited use but I imagine its for publicity. The berg cloud is something greater than the little printer, I imagine this is just the stepping stone.
Luca Paulina
2011-12-01 13:24:04


It's a really awesome idea, although it'll be hard to think of ideas for using up the receipt like paper. It's probably more environmentally friendly, though, than having to print out a tiny document on a large piece of paper and leaving a lot of it unused.
Cartridge Save James
2011-12-01 15:58:36


Its lovely! Yeh its doesn't make sense to go back in time, but for someone who grew up with the ZX81 it brings back some very happy memories, lots of cute agree a little pointless!!
Matt Hellier
2011-12-01 19:47:11


I think this a lovely idea, as long as the paper and ink are eco friendly it could have a million uses!
Jolanta Zute
2011-12-01 20:52:41


I love the design and the idea of small printer.
It seems waste pater , but I think it can save more paper if you use in a good (save paper) way.
cuz sometimes you don't need to use whole A4 size paper to print something out.

However, if the little printer use "standard receipt paper rolls",
I will not buy this product, because that kind of paper(thermal receipt paper) can not be recycled.
And I believe it use "thermal receipt paper" for sure....

the idea is good, but the thermal receipt paper that the printer use is bad for out environment!!
I hope they can combine cool products with environmentally friendly source...
We need environmentally friendly design products nowadays!!
kimika
2011-12-02 02:44:27


It is a beautiful little object and, in the words of Alan Partridge, "nice action!".

BUT I do think it straddles that current trend for irony — "oh look, it's printing digital content for consumption BUT ON PAPER — HOW IRONIC."

In the video you see the printer printing away little receipt sized pieces of info and then it cuts to someone using a smartphone — instantly I thought 'ah that's better — there's the future right there!'.

What I think would be a great application for this is as a kind of instant messenger system, so, it gets hooked up to its own dedicated social network and then someone might type you a message it and so all of a sudden your printer starts printing off a personal message for you — so quite a specific use, rather than printing off a whole load of wasteful information from the internet.
G
2011-12-02 09:18:21


love it, damn you materialism
Adam
2011-12-02 09:37:15


that is very useful..
nasim
2011-12-02 18:21:13


This is just silly. A printed RSS feed. Really?

- Tyler Dockery
tyler dockery
2011-12-02 18:56:13


The mistake that some agencies still make is to assume digital campaigns lives and breath in the online space only. Yet to my mind there is rich space to transcend this narrow view and deliver a tactile experience for the consumer. Given the 5 senses human's have, in the digital space there is a tendency to exploit only sight and sound.

There is the fallacy that modern technological improves and supersedes how we use to do things in the past. Yet to limited ourselves to such a narrow way of experiencing things through the digital space challenges this view. The digital space can act as a gateway to give us these sensorial experiences in a creative way.
Tom Eldridge
2011-12-04 13:16:42


I love little gadgets- even though this one is a little bit redundant... still it is awesome! Reblogged here: http://anythingandeverythingilike.blogspot.com/2011/12/bergs-little-printer.html
julia
2011-12-26 16:23:06


I have one on my desk right now, it's a pile of fail. If I had actually paid for it, I'd bite my own ass off.

Can you believe it, comes with another box that connects the printer to ethernet, and both units have a separate wall wart power supply.

The sofware's also not so cool, it gives you a fixed list of irrelevant feeds, the best one being guardian.co.uk.

You cannot use the little printer to print other stuff (unless you hook into network traffic and an trick the printer).
bernard
2012-12-13 11:29:10


I could write a book on why this is the biggest proposition #fail in the world. However, I find myself craving one of these like heroine. I could have also stated why the iPad was a stupid idea before it was launched, but now it's the most used gadget in my life.

I can't put my finger on it, but there's something about the tactile nature of paper and the emotional appeal of this printer that transcends the usual rational cost/benefit equation.

For me to purchase it, I would want to see it for under £100 and portable. Something like the LG pocketphoto so I could use it to print on demand as well as subscribed feeds http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/49244/lg-pocket-photo-android-printer-hands-on
Simon Johnson
2013-01-25 17:31:20


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