The adulation keeps rolling in for the not-yet-released Little Printer, but little of it has to do with what the machine will actually accomplish.
Connected to a person’s favorite publications on the Web, the Little Printer is designed to print out on command a personalized, receipt-sized newspaper that includes information such as “news, puzzles and gossip from friends.” It’s got the brevity of the new (Twitter), with the physical touch of the old (the morning paper).
TheVerge.com suggests the Little Printer will be a way to consume digital content without having to swipe through it on your iPhone. Fastcodesign.com calls it’s a “disruptive, weird, but undeniably innovative way to liberate digital content from its screen-based prison.” CEO Matt Webb of BERG , the product company that made the Little Printer, says it can bring people paper deliveries “without competing for attention with the bright flickering screens in your life.”
But will a tiny scrap of paper really liberate us from all the technology with which we’ve now surrounded ourselves?
Much as anyone in the newspaper business welcomes a concept that involves people reading a physical paper again, the Little Printer seems like little more than novelty, or a trumped-up to do list. And call me old-fashioned, but doesn’t the joy of holding a physical paper remain the ability to hold it and sit down with it for awhile?
Here’s how I can see the Little Printer working: if it becomes a way for us to combat the ephemeral nature of the Web — to keep those elusive tweets we write and never get back to, to own a record of what we read or did over 24 hours, or to have physical proof of the sometimes hundreds of social interactions we have each day.
Watch the video below and decide for yourself whether the Little Printer will be novelty or revolutionary: