Printing static photos from your phone was so last year. Now, it’s all about AR.
Prynt, a startup that makes a small mobile printer that connects to your phone, has just released their newest device, called Prynt Pocket. And the device puts a renewed focus on the company’s AR play, which essentially makes each printed photo a Harry Potter-style moving image.
When you select a photo to print, the app will automatically upload the short video clip from the Live Photo, or another video clip you choose, to the cloud. Then, whenever you (or anyone else with the Prynt app) scans the static image you printed, the associated video is overlaid on top using AR.
It’s actually a really cool twist on the slightly stale mobile printing industry, as long as you preview the live photo to make sure the overlaid video isn’t showing anything you didn’t intend. You also get a notification when someone else uses the app to “activate” a photo you printed.
Moving onto the hardware, Prynt Pocket, which retails for $149.99, is about half the size of the old version – a big deal considering you’re going to want to carry this around with you. It also now prints at a much faster speed, and has a sliding dock mechanism that lets it support phones of all sizes.
I spend the last week playing around with Prynt Pocket and was really impressed. The first thing I noticed was seamless integration between the startup’s app and the printer itself. It’s all too common for young hardware startups to have connection issues between their software and hardware, making it especially notable when it just works.
Printing quality was just O.K. Some images ended up looking a little cartoonish, and the quality was definitely worse than pocket printers I’ve tried from companies like Polaroid. But the faster printing speed, AR features and easy of use makes up for this – most Bluetooth mobile printers are a total pain to use.
Originally launching as a Kickstarter, Prynt has since raised $9.2M in funding, including a $7M Series A which closed last year the startup said would be used to build out this AR functionality. It proved to be a good move, as since then AR has had a resurgence in interest fueled by giants like Facebook and Snapchat committing to the space.