Kickstarter: There's a sort of ebb and flow to the process by which digital products overtake their analog counterparts. Often, digital completely overtakes analog, then slows back down to bring analog along for the ride.
Photos seem to have followed that pattern. We've embraced digital photos so fully (and for good reason) that we often forget about the benefits of holding physical pictures in our hands. Perhaps the benefits of analog don't appeal to you directly, but there's no denying that they certainly come in handy. Grandma asks for a photo, but you've no idea how to get it off your hard drive or Flickr and into her scrapbook or a photo frame for her living room. Maybe you've taken the perfect photo- one that you instantly know would look great hanging above your fireplace.
You have options, most of which are a bit expensive, because it's only the occasional picture you want a hard copy of. Most of those options have to do with a big box store like Wal-Mart or CVS, but a new Kickstarter project wants to give you a better, faster, and free option.
Flag is/ will be an app for your phone or tablet that prints your photos, then mails them to any address you choose (yours, or that of a friend or family member, for instance), and they'll do it all for free by placing "tasteful" ads on the back of each photo. Those ads will enable Flag to offer 20 mailed, free photos per month per user, which should be plenty for most.
Of course, free means nothing if you have to sacrifice quality to get there. Flag promises that won't be the case here, that the prints will be "museum-quality" thanks to a "photo finishing system ready for the 21st century." The system skirts the limits of digital photography ("Even the latest '4K' screens can only show 8 megapixels"), printing every last pixel your camera captures. Borderless photos can be made by cutting no more than 2 microns off of your picture, leaving it almost completely intact. Pictures can easily be blown up, borders can be added, postcards can even be made. This isn't digital dragging analog into the 21st century- it's the two forming a unique and rewarding relationship. And consumers reap the rewards of that relationship.
Flag is still a dream, and not yet a reality. The Kickstarter project has raised just over $50,000 of its $100,000 goal as of this writing, with just 10 days to go. If made, it will be released as an iPhone app, but I can see this gaining enough traction that an Android app could soon be in the works. If it sounds intriguing, head over to the Kickstarter page to help make Flag a reality.