A nice cup of tea for a Little Printer

In case you missed this over on the BERG Blog, we’re super proud to be #44 in Fast Company’s annual list of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies.

Little Printer gets his own portrait, and a special mention in the write up.

In real life, our own Little Printers are nowhere near as relaxed at this right now. Work on all aspects of the design and manufacture is still in full flow, from circuit boards to fluted boards for packaging, publication design to font design.

Thanks to everyone for your continued interest and enthusiasm!

Little Printer on the road

I spent most of January on the road in the US taking Little Printer to meet new friends. I was in Portland, Las Vegas (for the Consumer Electronics Show), San Francisco/the Bay Area, and New York.

People took lots of pictures like this on Instagram:

Dens' Little Printer Instagram

(this is @dens from when I visited foursquare, one of our launch partners)

And here’s a picture from a @hondanhon, also on Instagram, testing the personal message functionality when I visited W+K:

Dan Hon's Little Printer Instagram

There were even ad hoc demos. Total coincidence: I ran into Caterina Fake at SFO. She was very kind to give Little Printer a ride into the city. I got to tag along too. Caterina took a photo of us:

Matt Webb and Little Printer

You can see the fancy metal case I travelled with. This is the pre-production model that appeared in the announcement film. You can bet the case never left my side.

So what did I learn?

Mainly, everyone loves LP, which is awesome. Every meeting I had, folks were bubbling with ideas with how their publications and services could appear on Little Printer. And that was the main purpose of the trip, for us to understand how people would like to develop for our product.

So as a result of the excitement we’re accelerating our development of the publishers API. We’re prioritising making Little Printer as easy as possible for publishers and service operators to integrate with their services. In the conversations I had – and in the emails we’ve received at bergcloud.com - we swapped a whole bunch of cool and unconventional ideas for using Little Printer. We’d like to see LP in all kinds of places and we’re excited that people could express themselves with all sorts of uses. That’s another reason for the API.

In answer to the usual frequently asked questions: no we’ve not announced a launch date or price yet. Watch this space!

MW.

NEW YEAR, NEW OFFICE, NEW CHALLENGES

Hello Little Printer

Hello, and happy new year! The second week of 2012 sees us settled in to our new studio. It’s not 100% finished, but good enough for work on Little Printer to begin again in earnest following our Christmas break.

2012 is the year manufacture will begin. Since the announcement last year comments and ideas have been coming in thick and fast.

As you can see from the film, a lot of work on Little Printer has been done already, but much more is still to come. Our focus right now is on the beta product, and getting that into the world and into your hands.

Feature Creep

Our plan for this blog is to share some of the advances and thoughts we have on the journey. It’s a tight schedule (which includes the imminent birth of three real children), and so we can’t promise updates every week. Occasionally we’ll post longer pieces sharing more detailed accounts, and sometimes speedy photographs, or links we’ve gathered along the way.

We can’t share firm dates or prices yet, but rest assured as soon as we have news we’ll announce it, here and via the mailing list.

And finally while we’re on the subject of links and making, Jack and Timo’s piece, ‘Change Through Making’, published in Eye magazine is now available online.

Onwards!

Hello again

It’s been a very busy few weeks since we announced Little Printer. Development work continues of course, but we’ve also been trying to keep on top of all the feedback which has come pouring in from every channel.

If you’ve emailed us, we’re doing our very best to get back to you as soon as we can. If you’ve sent us a message via twitter we’ve tried to capture the most frequently asked questions to create an FAQ.

As I type, Andy and Jack are discussing manufacturing details of the printer itself. James and Alice are working on different digital aspects, from the publications to the structure. We’re also in the middle of an office move – and my desk is covered in the sample publications of the last few months. I’m hoping that they’ll magically leap in to a box so I don’t have to start packing. We’re really excited about being somewhere with a little more space and a few more walls. Little Printer has grown up in such a tiny room I think he’ll love having somewhere bigger to stretch his legs.

For those of you wanting to get a more general feel for our plans, and BERG Cloud, Matt (Webb) is interviewed in two articles, which if you haven’t seen them are well worth a read. There’s a first look at Little Printer over on Fast Company, and a Q&A over at Core77.

Thanks so much for all the feedback you’ve given us – we’re really excited by your reaction, and working on bringing you more news as soon as possible.

Announcing Little Printer and BERG Cloud

Hi. I’m Matt Webb from BERG, a design studio in London, UK. We specialise in product invention. Quick intro! With Bonnier, we were behind Mag+ (the first magazine platform for the iPad). And recently, with Warren Ellis and Matt Brooker, we published SVK, a comic printed in invisible ink.

For the past year we’ve been working on our new product — and we’re delighted and excited to be able to take the wraps off at last!

Today we’re announcing Little Printer.

Little Printer lives in your front room and scours the Web on your behalf, assembling the content you care about into designed deliveries a couple of times a day.

You configure Little Printer from your phone, and there’s some great content to choose from — it’s what Little Printer delivers that makes it really special. We have an incredible group of launch partners, and in the run-up to shipping we’re working with them all on custom publications.

Our launch partners are Arup, foursquare, Google, the Guardian, and Nike. Thanks guys, it’s great to do this together.

We love physical stuff. Connecting products to the Web lets them become smarter and friendlier – they can sit on a shelf and do a job well, for the whole family or office – without all the attendant complexities of computers, like updates or having to tell them what to do. Little Printer is more like a family member or a colleague than a tool.

Plus paper is like a screen that never turns off. You can stick to the fridge or tuck it in your wallet. You can scribble on it or tear it and give it to a friend.

Little Printer will be available in 2012. Check out the website, and sign up to the email list if you’d like to know when pre-orders open.

Little Printer printing out

We’re actually making two announcements today.

Underlying Little Printer is our new technology for connecting and controlling wireless products in the home, and we call it BERG Cloud.

Little Printer’s brain isn’t on a chip in its body, but on the Web where it can reach out and touch other Web-enabled services, and where we can provide updates and improvements without you having to install anything.

In your front room, Little Printer wirelessly connects (with no configuration) to a small box that plugs into your broadband router. It’s this same box that will enable our other planned products in the BERG Cloud family. There’s no PC required, your phone is your remote control.

We think of BERG Cloud as the nervous system for connected products. It’s built to run at scale, and could as easily operate the Web-enabled signage of a city block, as the playful home electronics of the future. Not to mention the smart product prototypes that we work with our clients on, in the other side of our design studio.

So that’s what we’re announcing today: Little Printer and BERG Cloud.

Both are the distillation of everything we’ve learned working with some incredible clients here at BERG, and over the years on our own projects. How to make technology – and it’s difficult, cutting-edge technology – that you’d want to invite into your home, and products that bring delight. We’re enormously pleased to share this with you.

It’s the beginning of the journey, and I hope you’ll be with us the whole way. We’ll be sharing stories as Little Printer makes its way through manufacture and assembly, packaging and warehousing, new content development and new features, and all the way to beta product and beyond.

Thanks for stopping by, and we hope to see you again soon!