Photo printing finds new life in mobile form

ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO

Retailers see rising demand for such devices, photo paper

With the pervasiveness of social media and ease of sharing photos online, people are finding it less of a need to print out their photos. And photo-printing shops are also getting harder to find these days.

But photo printing is hardly dead. One category - mobile photo printing - has been showing robust growth in the past year in Singapore.

Consumer electronics retailer Courts has seen a 10 per cent year- on-year increase in its sales of mobile photo printers from January to June this year, compared with the same period last year.

Photographic equipment retailer Cathay Photo has seen a doubling in sales of the Zink photo paper so far this year, compared with the same period last year, along with brisk sales of the Polaroid ZIP printer, which uses the Zink paper.

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Besides the ZIP, other mobile printers available in Singapore include the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-2, HP Sprocket and Canon Selphy CP1200.

The mobile photo printer market is expected to grow in the second half of the year, as new product launches are expected from manufacturers, according to GfK Asia.

The research firm also noted that mobile photo printers are getting more affordable and are attracting millennials. These printers typically have a price range of around $200 to $300. More importantly, they are compact, portable and easy to use, typically needing just a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection via a smartphone app to print.

 

PRINT FOR THE MEMORIES

With a high smartphone penetration in Singapore, consumers are increasingly printing their photos on the go as a means of capturing and preserving their cherished memories.

A SPOKESMAN FOR CONSUMER ELECTRONICS RETAILER COURTS, which has seen a 10 per cent year-on-year increase in its sales of mobile photo printers from January to June this year, compared with the same period last year.

PHYSICAL PRESENCE

If there are pictures that you really really care about, then creating a physical instance is probably a good idea. Print them out, literally.

INTERNET PIONEER VINT CERF, in a 2015 speech, adding that those photos might be gone in the future when file formats change and require certain software to render the photos.

"You can easily send images taken by your smartphones to print on these mobile photo printers like the ZIP printer," said Cathay Photo retail manager Jason Tan.

A Courts spokesman said: "With a high smartphone penetration in Singapore, consumers are increasingly printing their photos on the go as a means of capturing and preserving their cherished memories."

Internet pioneer Vint Cerf said in a 2015 speech: "If there are pictures that you really really care about, then creating a physical instance is probably a good idea. Print them out, literally."

If not, these photos might be gone in the future when file formats change and require certain software to render the photos, he said.

Most people are using their smartphones as their primary camera. But it is not always convenient to go to a photo-processing shop to print those photos. This adds to the appeal of mobile photo printers.

Polytechnic student Zoey Koh, who uses a Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1, feels that printed pictures are more memorable as there are too many photos in the smartphone.

The 21-year-old said: "It is also fun to take pictures and print them out, like a mobile photo booth."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2017, with the headline 'Photo printing finds new life in mobile form'. Print Edition | Subscribe