LifePrint Kickstarter wants to give your smartphone a tiny, portable printer


posted Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 2:33 PM EDT


LifePrint is a Kickstarter for a mobile printer, one that will talk to your smartphone and let you quickly and easily create photographic prints from your favorite images and memories—and will be all networked together, so you can send them to your friends' printers, too.

LifePrint is currently seeking $200,000 in Kickstarter funding for the project, and early backers can pick up the printer for $99—though it'll raise to once the first few sets are sold out. Arguably the most fascinating side of the LifePrint is the social and networking part of it. Since the printer is Wi-Fi enabled, you can print to your device from anywhere in the world—and you can take the printer with you anywhere, and have it work. The LifePrint also allows you to connect with your friends, and send images to their printers (though you're also allowed to decline an incoming image, so that you're not overwhelmed by unwanted prints).

The area that remains a bit nebulous is just how the printing side of the equation will work. In the Kickstarter, LifePrint says:

Printing Process -- We've selected thermal processing for the print engine. This will yield the best quality for the best price, so your photos are rich and vibrant, but don't cost you an arm and a leg. Final selection of exactly which type of thermal printing process to utilize will happen post-Kickstarter as we go into production
Film Capacity -- Film capacity will be 10 prints
Additional Film -- Additional film will be available in retail stores and through our website after Kickstarter is finished. 30 prints are expected to cost around $20

It sounds like there are still some details to be ironed out on that front, but we're a bit unsure about them rolling out a totally new photo printing format. Analog photography supplies continue to become rarer and rarer, with prices ever increasing, and many film stocks being outright canceled. Groups like the Impossible Project are doing their best to prevent the death of instant film, so hopefully LifePrint can succeed in what's obviously a troubled area.

Meanwhile, Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 recently launched, and if you can get your hands on one, goes for a bit more than $200. It's capable of printing directly from your smartphone, and uses the already established Instax 800 instant film, which at least you know you can get your hands on pretty easily.