Technology giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) made the leap into cloud-enabled printing with the launch of four Web-enabled printers designed for consumers and small businesses, ranging in price from $99 to $299. In addition, the company laid out plans for a slew of print services including ePrintCenter, an online hub for HP customers to customize their printing experience.
HP said these printers would be able to “talk” to the “Google Cloud” without requiring a local proxy PC or web appliance, which means users will be able to access Google Docs, Photos and Calendar directly from their printers. HP is offering a selection of new print apps from partners such as Yahoo!, msnbc.com, Facebook, Reuters, and Picasa Web Albums to give momentum to the release.
The company’s smartphone printing application, iPrint Photo, is a free photo printing app for direct wireless printing to HP inkjet printers connected to a local Wi-Fi network. The Google Android OS version joins iPrint Photo for Symbian, Windows Mobile, iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. HP said Snapfish by HP mobile app for Android is expected to launch this summer.
The printers all come with their own e-mail address, allowing businesses and consumers to send photos or documents from a smartphone to a printer in one step. HP said the Web-accessible printers 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.
The ePrintCenter also allows users to register their products and receive updates according to their preferences, configure their devices, track ePrint jobs, and browse and suggest new print apps. Users simply 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. In addition, HP introduced 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
“We are once again revolutionizing printing to make web-empowered, cloud-enabled printing the new industry standard,” said Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of HP’s imaging and printing group. “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.