Pandigital & Zink launch 6×4 zero-ink photo printer

We’ve had the Polaroid PoGo Mobile Printer with its no-ink technology and tiny print-outs for a while. But now Pandigital has teamed up with Zero Ink company, ZINK Imaging, to offer a world first as part of a range of printing products: a 6×4” portable photo printer; the first device to offer instant prints of anything bigger than the size of your pocket.

ZINK Imagery technology allows you to print in full colour without even thinking about an ink cartridge or ribbons. How does it work, you ask? Well, it requires special paper, special ZINK-patented paper even, which uses a polymer coating and a combination of embedded yellow, magenta and cyan dye crystals that colourise when heated.

With touch-based interface, it promises a LCD screen for previewing and selecting images; plus, you can print without a computer by slotting your camera’s memory card straight into the printer’s memory card slot. It also has a USB port. Producing borderless, full-colour prints of your best snaps, this printer lets you share printed photos in real-time. Pretty impressive, really.

While the technology is clearly very clever, the usefulness of being able to print on-the-spot, on-demand 6×4” prints is yet to be proven. Will the ability to print on-the-go mean lugging around another piece of kit when we could just wait until we get home to print? While frustrations at the limited pocket-size print outs of previous portable devices may dissolve with the ability to print 6×4”, the expensive paper may also be a sticking point. If the printer provides quality prints, that is quite an exciting first regardless of practicalities.

Retailing at $149.99 (£92 approx) and $39.99 (£24 approx) for paper in the US, distribution is planned for the first quarter of this year.