Since last January, start-up hardware company Prynt SAS (Paris, France) has been working to develop a product that can turn a smartphone into the modern day equivalent of a Polaroid camera. The device consists of a so-called “Prynt Case” into which the smartphone is inserted. After capture, the photo is sent via Bluetooth directly to the Case. The image is then printed by heating up a paper that is filled with ink. It is also possible to print photos from the smartphone’s camera roll or from a social network account.
At this time, the prototype Case takes around 50 seconds to turn a captured image into a print. Also, the Case can only hold one piece of print paper at a time, currently. The final product is expected to be able to hold about 30 sheets of print paper and have the printing process take less than 30 seconds. It is anticipated that faster speed can be achieved through improved hardware integration and a better physical connection between the Case and smartphone.
Users will be able to order photo paper from the app built-in to Prynt at an expected price of about 30 cents per sheet.
The current Prynt prototype works with smartphones that have about a 4″ display. There are plans, however, to offer a version of the Case that supports larger devices.
It might be noted that the Case is really too bulky to act as a conventional smartphone protector. On the other hand, the Case is small enough to carry, for example, in a laptop bag.
At the time the device is offered for sale, it is expected to be available for iOS and Android.
It should be noted that the Prynt camera app includes an interesting augmented reality feature. Prynt can automatically record a video surrounding the moment that the user clicks the shutter key to take a photo. The photo and the video are then uploaded and stored in the cloud. When the user chooses to view the printed photo by holding it up to the smartphone’s camera, the app produces a Play button on the smartphone screen. Pressing the Play button then shows the video on the smartphone that was recorded at the time the picture was taken. The video overlays the picture.
In the parlance of other technologies that accomplish a similar augmented reality effect, the app is basically assigning a physical token to the printed picture, enabling the user to view the video.
A video of the prototype Prynt Case in operation can be found here
While still in a prototype phase, Prynt Case was recently demonstrated at the HAXLR8R conference. Although a Kickstarter campaign to fund development is planned to start in January 2015, it remains unknown when the Prynt device will actually start to ship. Prynt is, however, planning to attend the Las Vegas CES show this coming January. Prynt CEO Clément Perrot says that the Prynt Case will sell for about $99. – Arthur Berman