How to purchase technology that isn't just cutting-edge, but will stay at the top of its game. Here's our guide to investing in products with long shelf lives. In association with Kodak.

Judging by the number of them most of us seem to have, we’re pretty keen on gadgets. Our drawers are full of old phones, MP3 players, digital cameras and assorted media cards, while strewn around our desks and in cupboards are printers, laptops and cables. Old TVs are thrown out in favour of larger, lighter, thinner ones, while the latest smartphone is never as good as the one that’s promised next month. 

Much of this outdated tech is being kept for no better reason than it isn’t that easy to dispose of. It’s bulky to transport, subject to EU regulations on recycling – and small enough to shove somewhere out of sight. The fact that replacement gadgetry is so inexpensive only compounds the lack of thought that goes into such upgrades. 

Desirable items such as smartphones may well see a second life having been passed on to a relative or friend – perhaps even put in a prepaid envelope and sent for recycling in return for a couple of crisp tenners. But larger items aren’t so easy to palm off. When a laptop’s reached a ripe old age and isn’t up to running the latest operating system, it may be donated to a charity such as Computer Aid.

Save money on printing

However, other items such as printers may be less welcome since they come with associated running costs in the form of inks.

In fact, the need to purchase pricy new ink cartridges is not an uncommon reason for a home user or small business to stop using a printer and buy a new one. Depending on the printer brand, it can actually be a cheaper option to buy new than to replenish the ink supplies. 

In most cases, this is actually a false economy: a new printer usually comes with a limited amount of ink, whereas the latest ‘value’ ink cartridges provide high page yields and will quickly work out better value. Nonetheless, the fallacy persists that printer purchase prices are subsidised by the high cost of replacement ink. 

Kodak is one brand whose printers buck this trend (there are others, including Kyocera). The company entered the inkjet printing market back in 2007 and did so with a business model that offers good value everyday printing, with a marginally higher initial cost of purchase. Since entering this market, Kodak has not only shown that home users and small businesses can enjoy less expensive printing than other manufacturers were offering; its printers also produce great-looking pages. A benefit of Kodak being in the inkjet printer market is that other printer manufacturers have looked again at how total cost of ownership, and replacement inks in particular, can be achieved. Even colour printing now costs only a few pence per page. 

Kodak’s latest printers offer cutting-edge features that ensure printing is convenient as well as good value. The best example is Kodak’s Hero all-in-one printer range. These models combine scanning, photocopying and, in some cases, fax and duplex-printing features alongside comprehensive colour and black and white printing options. 

Not only that, but Kodak Hero printers all support cloud  and email printing along with free apps to make mobile printing easy. This means that if you’ve got a smartphone, you can take a photo and send it straight to print via the Kodak Pic Flick app on your Android, BlackBerry or iPhone smartphone or from an iPod touch. BlackBerry and Android tablets work with the Kodak Pic Flick app too. You can even print stills from your video footage – certainly not something you expect from the average printer. 

Cloud printing from tablets is also supported, so if you’ve got a document you’ve been working on in an app such as Docs To Go, you can send the latest version to print from that too. Needless to say, it’s also straightforward to make use of the web to print documents remotely from your laptop using the cloud. Just log on to the local network, when hotdesking in a hotel room or business lounge, send the item to print and then specify which local or remote printer you’d like the document to appear on. You can even call up items stored in the cloud via Google Docs, edit and print them ready for your presentation or important business meeting. Emails and attachments can, of course, also be printed from any of these gadgets via their unique Kodak email address.

Email Print apps

What’s different about Kodak printers than other brands that offer web-based printing options via Google Cloud Print is the support for legacy hardware. It’s not just a case of having to have the very latest model of printer in order to be able to enjoy the latest features. Kodak has ensured that owners of its previous generations of a Hero all-in-one printer can use Kodak Email Print and access Google Cloud Printer services, too. Kodak is the first company to offer cloud printing features to pre-existing p owners of its printers. 

Existing models in Kodak’s home photo printer range can also take advantage of the smartphone and tablet to printer direct-printing option. Software updates allow existing customers to take advantage of new templates for, say, graph paper, while features that were introduced after the printer was launched – 3D photo printing and new on-printer photo editing functions, for example – are offered via updates to the Kodak Home Center software. 

All this means that there’s no need to throw out a printer just because it isn’t in its first flush of youth. Regular updates allow it to remain up to date and the owner to make use of the latest features. 

As well as making Kodak printers even better value in terms of what the capabilities they offer, these innovations mean the printer has a longer useful life. Kodak Hero printers buck the disposable gadgetry trend by being able to serve your evolving demands. Along the way, they can also help keep your phone, laptop and tablet in business, so there’s no need to be part of the throwaway society.