Hewlett-Packard, the world's largest technology company, is planning on shoring up its massive printing division with printers aimed at smartphone owners. The four devices, which will range in price from $100 to $300, are the brainchild of executive vice president of HP's imaging and printing group Vyomesh Joshi. The printers allow users to print from any e-mail device to any ePrint-enabled printer through the ePrint platform, as well as store documents or files in the cloud and print direct when needed.
Starting at $99, HP said these will be the first printers able to "talk" to the "Google Cloud" without requiring a local proxy PC or Web appliance, which means people will be able to access Google Docs, Photos and Calendar directly from their printers. A selection of print apps from partners such as Facebook, Live Nation, Crayola, Reuters, DocStoc and Picasa Web Albums also will be available.
The main technological aspect HP is touting is the Web-ready printers' own e-mail address, which would allow businesses and consumers to send photos or documents from a smartphone to a printer in one step. The Web-accessible computers would also eventually be aimed at small businesses users as well and will allow users to print from Web-based document services like Google Docs from touch-screen interfaces. Customers also can send documents to print through an HP ePrint mobile app on their smartphone device to a home, office or public print location such as a hotel or FedEx Office store. Customers will be able to send Microsoft Office documents, Adobe PDFs and JPEG image files, among others.
HP also announced a service called Scheduled Delivery, which allows customers to choose content to be pushed to a printer at a designated time each day or week. Users register for the news or content feeds of their choice through the HP ePrintCenter and schedule the day, time and frequency of delivery so items will be printed and waiting when they want them
Later this year, business customers can access print apps from services such as Marketsplash by HP for a shortcut to print customized marketing materials such as brochures and flyers, Google Docs for document scanning to the web for printing at a later time, Box.net to scan, share, manage and access business content online, Portfolio.com and Reuters for the latest news articles, Daily Brief for business apps including calendar, to-do list and news from American City Business Journals; and DocStoc and Biztree for immediate access to business forms such as invoices, contracts, receipts, legal agreements and checklists.
"We are once again revolutionizing printing to make Web-empowered, cloud-enabled printing the new industry standard," said Joshi. "We know that our customers want an easy way to print their content, anywhere, anytime. We're making that a reality today by giving people the power to print from any web-connected device - smartphones, iPads, netbooks and more - to any printer in our portfolio above $99. The world has changed."