LifePrint’s “App-Connected” Wireless Printer Makes Its Kickstarter Debut

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LifePrint wants to bring back the fun associated with printing out photos – something users once marveled they could do at home with store-bought printers until social media reached critical mass, offering far easier ways to share. With LifePrint, described as an “app-enabled wireless photo printer,” the idea is that photo printing could become a part of our modern mobile, social ecosystem, instead of the utilitarian task it was in the past.

The company, which launched this week on Kickstarter with a $200,000 goal, is offering a sleek, portable wireless  printer, weighing around 1.5 lbs, and measuring 6.5 x 4.5 x 1.5 inches in size. That’s small enough to be thrown in a backpack, and just a bit heavier than a 1.33-pound iPad 2, to give you an idea.

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But what makes the printer interesting is the way it works. The idea is that the LifePrint printer will be accompanied by app which you can use to also edit and share your photos. The app would offer a good round-up of photo editing features, like filters, borders, the ability to add talk bubbles and other text, plus picture stitching (combining multiple photos together). And you can share those photos to other social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, too.

The printer can receive your photos wirelessly, and not only when you’re on the same Wi-Fi network, like a traditional home printer would require. Instead, you can print a photo anywhere your mobile device has a signal, which means you could pre-print your vacation photos and have a stack waiting for you when you return home. The wireless element also allows you to friend and follow other LifePrint users, so you can easily print to each other’s printers – ideal for sharing prints with far-flung family members, or even for connecting with celebrity users or others you admire, the company suggests.

Oh and hey, don’t worry, if your sister-in-law starts to overwhelm you with baby pictures, you can reject unwanted photos from your print queue before they waste your ink. That’s good because right now, the ink is a little pricey – 30 prints for $20.00, is the projected price. (This is why no one prints at home any more, guys. It’s not cheap! A real innovation would be low-cost printer ink, don’t you think?)

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The printer itself is $200, which is also not exactly throw-away money, especially as it competes with big-name photo printers like the larger Kodak Easyshare and the smaller Canon Selphy.

The team includes founder Robert Macauley, formerly of Belkin, plus Tim Martin, Craig Vachon, Pat Cosgrove, Mark Schneider, and Duane Wilson, who all have a variety of tech industry experience, both in larger companies and in startups. There are some interesting backgrounds among the group, like Cosgrove, previously R&D at Kodak, and Schneider, previously CTO at Kodak’s consumer division.

LifePrint’s founders have been working on the project for over two years to reach the point of crowdfunding this launch. With the investment from Kickstarter, assuming it goes through, they estimate they could begin shipping by December with the iPhone app ready by January.

As of the time of writing, the campaign had reached over $22,500 from backers.