Ricoh Builds Printer HotSpots on the Road

Print from your BlackBerry, cell phone, notebooks PCs, anywhere that has a printer and Wi-Fi.

Printing from a mobile desktop, BlackBerry or handheld device should be as simple as printing from your desktop and a new technology from Ricoh aims to make it so.

Ricoh's new HotSpot Printer line, announced Jan. 16, will extend printing capabilities in Wi-Fi hotspots to anyone with an Internet-enabled PC, handheld device, or cell phone, without needing to install printer drivers.

The two HotSpot Printer models announced are the SP C410DN-KP color laser printer, which retails for $2,099, and the SP 4100N-KP monochrome laser printer, which retails for $1,699. According to Ricoh, the HotSpot Series Printers are business-class devices with small footprints and low operating costs, and provide fast first-page-to-print speeds. The color model includes wireless capability for connecting to the network; the monochrome needs a hard-wired connection. The HotSpot Printers use PrinterOn's PrintSpots mobile printing software mobile printing solution.

Users submit print jobs to HotSpot printers either connecting to the printer's Web server and then entering a URL or uploading the file(s) to be printed, or by sending the document to the printer's e-mail address. The printer e-mails a release code, which the user must enter onto the printer's keypad to have the document printed. The user does not need to be near the printer to submit the job, as long as they have Web or e-mail access, only to retrieve it.

"I'm at MacWorld, and if my hotel had one of these printers, I could submit a job from the show floor, and retrieve it later," said Robin Henry, director of channel marketing for the printing solutions division at Ricoh.

Target markets, according to Henry, include hospitality hotspots in hotels, coffeeshops, enterprises with mobile users, and retail locations."Anywhere people have handhelds, or laptops, and need to print," she said.

The new printers can also be used as regular network printers. Both models should be available by the end of January.