This idea has been stewing for a little bit, and I really wish I had a way of making a prototype.. Sadly, I lack the technical knowhow or the resources.
PDAs and printers have been little more than aquaintances at this point.. Most of the time not communicating, or doing it poorly. I propose a Cheap,
Simple, and Easy way of making the union:
A thermal printer, much like the ones at cash registers and in older fax machines - This could even piggyback on the same paper as the receipts.
Basically the design would plug into a PDA (conceptualize on palm since that's what I have) via the connection port at the bottom, be held on the back of the unit and would have a bulge for a small roll of paper in a way that would be comfortable to hold.
The paper would be printed somewhere near the bottom using LEDs, and would come out the top, ready to be cut automatcally/ripped manually. Also you would probably need a single AA battery to conserve PDA power.
It would print via a button for a raw screenshot printout and/or software on the PDA (Draw across the screen).
It could have basic funtionality of Screenshot or "Entire Document" and would eliminate the need for quite a few things:
First and foremost, it would eliminate the whole non-syncing business card debacle. "Want to exchange cards?" "You have a non-friendly/no PDA?" <bzzzzt (.5 sec)> "Here :)"
Secondly: Scratch notes from the palm and/or pass data to a collegue. "I need to hold your PDA to be able to use that data" could be handled in a much better way than: "So write it down!" "etc"
I could have used this about 300 times during the time I've had a palm pilot, and since it would be small and the parts would be cheap (since you only have to have a max res width of something like 320 pixels @ about 2.5" wide), you could sell it for under $50. Rolls of paper like $2 each