Partners to Profit from Print on Demand

WOULDNT IT BE GREAT if you could print directions, boarding passes or receipts from your cell phone? Now you can with the help of a specialized mobile printer developed by AirPrint Networks Inc.

After nearly three years spent perfecting its technology, AirPrint Networks is ready to go to market with the device, which it plans to sell through dealers.

AirPrint Networks handheld device lets users in the field print items such as event tickets or boarding passes.

What were doing is providing capability that might exist in other areas but that does not exist in mobile space print on demand, says CEO Mark Thirman, a telecom industry veteran with more than 24 yearsexperience with such innovative companies as Pingtel Corp., GTE Internetworking, VideoServer, VTEL and PictureTel.

Thirmans latest venture seeks to fill a void in mobile commerce documenting transactions.

The AirPrint Mobile Printer is a small, direct thermal printer a little larger than a credit card at 95mm wide and 124mm high and 25mm deep. Its a shape people are accustomed to carrying in their pockets, says Thirman. The device connects to any wireless handset using Bluetooth technology or a serial port (mini USB) and produces high-resolution (200 dpi) single-sheet documents. The format is ideal for printing event and movie tickets, boarding passes, barcode slips, coupons, maps, receipts, photos, prescriptions, menus and other items that need to be rendered on the go.

Boarding passes are just one use for the AirPrint Mobile Printer.

The AirPrint system works when users install a proprietary application on their mobile handsets. The software client gives subscribers secure access to AirPrints server and allows them to retrieve content that has been stored for them. The content-delivery platform has an architecture similar to voice mail or unified messaging, Thirman says, explaining the handset acts as a modem, so users do not have to worry about whether their devices are compatible with AirPrints platform. Were doing all the heavy lifting from the server.

AirPrint is working with content partners, mobile operators, MVNOs and MVNEs to incorporate its Web Services API so they can present coupons, tickets and other content for printing through this system. It is also working with location-based content companies to enable offers to be presented and available for printing at the point of interest.

Thirman says the printer will be distributed exclusively through Brightstar Corp., which also is helping AirPrint Networks with market development. Brightstar planned to start shipping AirPrints devices in the third quarter. The list price will be $99, and the content-delivery service will cost $2.49 to $2.99 per month. Credit card-sized paper will cost $2.99 per 12-pack. There is no need for toners or print cartridges.

Dealer margins should be similar to those for standard mobile peripherals, Thirman says, but it has not been determined if agents also will share in the monthly subscription revenue.

AirPrint Networks Inc.
Brightstar Corp.

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