RealTime IT News

Look, Ma, No Ink!

PALM DESERT, Calif. -- A printer that doesn't need ink shared the stage here this morning with a preview of Symantec's Identity Client software and Worklight, a server-based software application designed to let users access enterprise data using Web 2.0-style interfaces.

It's all part of the DEMO Conference, a technology smorgasbord of new products and services.

Zink Imaging probably had the newest of the new ideas here. A technology spin-off of Polaroid, Zink, or "zero ink," enables printing without ink. Zink has developed a special paper infused with millions of the company's patented dye crystals that merely needs the heat of a thermal printer to bring out the image.

The company said Zink-compatible printers will start to appear in the second half of this year. Among them will be a 7 mega pixel digital camera with a small printer built-in that includes room for 10 or so small sheets of tear- and waterproof Zink paper. The paper is expected to sell for about 20 cents per sheet.

Zink printer
Printing with no ink.
Source: Zink Imaging

"Think about all the images trapped on your digital camera and camera phone," said Paul Baker, vice president of sales for Zink. Baker said analysts have predicted as many as 10 billion camera phone images will be taken by 2010.

Thermal printers would have to be slightly adapted to work with Zink paper, although fewer parts are required since inking isn't involved. The company is working with manufacturers to develop small printers for mobile devices, but the company also plans more traditional-sized printers that use Zink paper.

Serendipity Technologies debuted software it said will "consumerize" enterprise applications by making them easier to access with more familiar tools and interfaces.

Worklight is secure and scalable server-based software that uses what Serendipity calls applications adapters to extract data from enterprise ERP and other applications and data sources. The information is delivered in a variety of ways from RSS, Ajax and Web-based widgets, to instant messaging and application mashups.

"Your business is impaired by technology," said David Lavenda, Serendipity's vice president of marketing and product strategy. "People waste time looking for information and struggle with applications" that are hard to use.

Lavenda claimed Worklight is a solution to the "gray screen nightmare of filling out forms" onscreen and having to switch from apps like ERP to CRM to get customer information.

Hot on the heels of its near billion dollar purchase of IT management software company Altiris, Symantec  unveiled details of its Identity Initiative, a combination of services and software that is part of its "Security 2.0" vision.

Symantec officials showed off a preview of the Norton Identity Client, a simple, single interface for consumers. The client is designed to provide consumers with online credentials and give them protected access anywhere they make a transaction on the Internet.

"We want an easy way to manage our credentials online, said Enrique Salem, group vice president for Symantec's Consumer Business unit. "It's about making the Internet for our users more secure."

The Identity Client also streamlines registration at e-commerce and social-networking sites by automatically filling in registration info. The service also alerts consumers if it suspects a site is untrustworthy, or engaged in identity theft activities like phishing.

Users can also use Identity Client to generate temporary but valid credentials to access information and avoid receiving spam.