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Ink-free printers create photos and labels, run Android

Aug 5, 2013  |  Eric Brown
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Zink Imaging announced the launch of two Android-powered, WiFi-enabled label and photo printers that don’t require ink cartridges, but instead use heat to create images on special adhesive-backed paper. The $199 Zinc hAppy and $299 hAppy+, which adds a 3.5-inch touchscreen, are designed to be controlled via Android and iOS apps.

The first of a series of Zink hAppy branded consumer products, the Zink hAppy and hAppy+ Smart App Printers are both designed as companions to smartphones and tablets. They both work without ink cartridges, but require special adhesive paper sold as 19-foot spools called Zink zRolls. The process, dubbed Zink Zero Ink Printing Technology, heats and colorizes the patented, photo-quality Zink Paper in the Zink zRolls, which is made of composite material embedded with cyan, yellow, and magenta dye crystals, protected with a polymer overcoat. The adhesive-backed paper lets users piece together composite images from the 3/8-inch to 2-inch wide strips.




Zink Imaging’s hAppy+ printer runs Android 4.0
(click image to enlarge)

 

The screenless hAppy model is controlled by several capacitive switches, as well as a free Zink Design & Print Studio app available for Android and iOS. The same app can also drive the touchscreen-enabled hAppy+, but in this case it’s already pre-installed for local use. Mobile devices running the app must be on the same WiFi network in order to work with the printers.

Zink Design & Print Studio offers templates ranging from simple labels to detailed custom designs, and supplies design elements including fonts, frames, backgrounds, and art. More elements are available from the online Zink Store. The app includes editing features such as resize, crop, text annotation, and color swap, and photos can be imported from sources including Facebook and Instagram.



The Zink hAppy printers are used along with an Android or iOS mobile app
(click image to enlarge)

 

A separate Zink MailEasy app lets users mass-produce mailing labels from online contact lists, and a Zink Big app enables poster-sized composite prints. Third-party apps like Project Box, Pocketbook, Allthecooks, and Rhonna Designs also offer hAppy compatibility, and Zink Imaging will offer tools for app developers at an upcoming developer site.

Zinc Imaging has not revealed the processor that runs Android 4.0 on the hAppy and hAppy+. Nor does it mention memory details, or the resolution of the 3.5-inch capacitive multitouch screen on the hAppy+. Printing features are identical, with 300dpi resolution and standard speeds of 0.30 inch per second (IPS), and 0.15 IPS in “Vivid” mode.

Both devices offer WiFi, micro-USB 2.0 ports, and built-in paper cutters. Only the hAppy+ provides a built-in battery, which delivers up to three hours of life. The hAppy can be purchased with an optional battery, however, and both models furnish AC power adapters. Additional accessories will be announced at a later date.

Specifications listed for the Zinc hAppy and hAppy+ include:

  • Processor/memory — (not specified)
  • Print resolution — 300dpi continuous tone
  • Print speed — 0.15 inches/second (ips) (Vivid mode), 0.30 ips (Standard mode)
  • Print length — up to 2 inches x up to 17 inches
  • Paper sizes — 3/8-, 1/2-, 3/4-, 1-, or 2-inch label widths; all in 19-foot, 5-inch rolls zRolls
  • Display (hAppy+ only) — 3.5-inch “high resolution” multitouch color
  • Capacitive switch controls — WiFi, load/unload paper, swipe to cut (hAppy); back and print (hAppy+)
  • Wireless — WiFi 802.11b/g/n (access point & infrastructure mode)
  • I/O — micro-USB 2.0 port
  • Other features — built-in cutter
  • Battery:
    • hAppy — Li-Ion battery sold separately (no details)
    • hAppy+ — Li-Ion battery (non-user changeable) with 3-hour duration and/or max. 2 feet by 25 inches printing
  • Built-in apps — Zink Design & Print Studio (hAppy+ only)
  • App compatibility — Zink Design & Print Studio iOS and Android mobile apps; AirPrint enabled apps; Google Cloud Print (hAppy+ only)
  • Operating temperature — 40 to 104°F (5 to 40°C)
  • Weight — 1.5 lbs. (660 g)
  • Dimensions:
    • hAppy — 4.5 x 4.5 x 2.75 inches (11.6 x 11.3 x 9.6cm)
    • hAppy+ — 7.7 x 3.9 x 3.75 inches (19.5 x 10.0 x 9.5cm)
  • Operating system — Android 4.0

The Zink hAppy and hAppy+ Smart App Printers appear to be available now for $199 and $299 respectively. More information and links to sales may be found at the hAppy and hAppy+ product pages, respectively.
 

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