Date
23 September 2017
Prynt, a mobile phone case with a printer, is part of an emerging trend in the technology space, where people are now seeking physical stuff conjured from the digital realm. Photo: Pryntcases.com
Prynt, a mobile phone case with a printer, is part of an emerging trend in the technology space, where people are now seeking physical stuff conjured from the digital realm. Photo: Pryntcases.com

Let’s get physical: Gadgets reverse digitization trend

It hardly fits one’s concept of a state-of-the-art device.

Prynt is a thick, heavy mobile phone case filled with moving parts. It’s got a built-in printer which connects to the smartphone via Bluetooth and prints out a credit card-sized snapshot in under a minute.

Now why would you want to have a printout when you could share the picture with all your friends digitally at the touch of a button on your smartphone? Besides, isn’t that just like Polaroid, which closed shop back in 2008?

But the makers of the new gadget are confident that it will become the latest technology craze when they unveil it at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month. And it’s just US$99 a pop.

The device is part of an emerging trend in the technology space, where people are now seeking physical stuff conjured from the digital realm, says the Financial Times.

Consumers want products that transform from their online presence into offline existence. It’s actually part of the retro trend. This explains the growing demand for mugs and cushions printed with digital photos or toys based on digital games.

Paris-based David Zhang, Prynt’s 24-year-old co-founder and chief technology officer, said his company has raised close to US$200,000 from angel investors.

Meanwhile, PhotoBox, a British online photo printing company, could hardly cope with the flood of Christmas orders — over 100,000 daily — for mugs, greeting cards, mats and other items featuring designs from uploaded digital photos.

The company’s revenue for the year ending April 2014 rose 19 percent to 175.3 million pounds (US$273.29 million) from the previous year. 

Shutterfly, its counterpart in the United States, is experiencing similar growth.

The strong demand for digital-turned-physical gifts is creating a lot of start-ups, acccording to the newspaper.

Wrap.me has come up with personalized wrapping paper, charging from 4.99 pounds a sheet. Boomf.com reproduces digital photos on marshmallows, at 15 pounds for a box of nine, delivered worldwide.

And with emergence of 3D technology, imagine what these kids would think of next.

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FL/CG

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