Japanese firm Tomy, best known as a maker of children’s toys, has launched a smartphone picture printer called KiiPix. This ingeniously simple device doesn’t need an app to be installed on your phone, or a network connection, or even a battery, and costs just £40. Essentially, it’s a simple camera that takes photographs of your phone’s screen onto Fujifilm Instax Mini instant film, with the print ejected after exposure using a hand-powered crank. Film packs have to be bought separately, and cost around £15 for 20 prints.

Tomy KiiPix

This is KiiPix open and ready for use

In principle the Tomy KiiPix should work with smartphones of any screen size, with the phone placed face-down onto a mask that defines the print area, using an 8.6cm x 5.4cm opening. In practice, this is a good match to smartphones with 4.7in screens, but will mean some cropping of the image with the current crop of larger-screen flagship devices, while small 4in phones such as the iPhone SE won’t quite fill the entire print area. When not in use, KiiPix folds down to a 14.3 x 11.2 x 5.3cm package (excluding the film-ejection knob), with the print mask neatly stored inside. A film counter on the base keeps track of how many prints you have left in your pack.

Tomy KiiPix

KiiPix will be available in a choice of three colours

At its UK launch event in London, Tom Ueshima of Tomy’s US & EU Business Group explained that we now all take more pictures than ever before on our smartphones, but the culture of sharing prints that was common with film cameras has been lost. So the idea behind KiiPix is to make printing from your smartphone as simple and accessible as possible, and therefore recapture the joy of sharing your pictures.

KiiPix is due to go on sale in August with a suggested retail price of £39.99. It will be available in a choice of three colours, black, blue or pink, and is advertised as being suitable for ages 14 years plus.