HP Makes Big Web, Mobile Printing Play

Monday Sep 20th 2010 by David Needle
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New printers and ePrint technology give users the option to print from the Web and mobile devices like the iPad and iPhone.

HP made a bold move to expand its Web printing agenda today, unveiling several products designed to give users more options for on-the-go printing from websites and mobile devices. The company said the products address a wide range of use cases from consumers to small and midsize businesses and right up through the enterprise.

Probably the most distinctive new product is the HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One printer, which includes a detachable 7-inch, full-color touchscreen that functions as a mobile e-reader. The touchscreen includes access to Barnes & Noble's (NYSE: BKS) eBookstore that boasts more than a million online titles. The unit, available now for $399, also offers custom content from Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) sites and Yahoo Mail, and it can function as a music player.

HP (NYSE: HPQ) said the ePrint technology in its new line of HP Photosmart printers will offer direct printing on the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPad, iPod Touch and iPhones running the iOS 4.2 operating system starting in November.

For SMBs, HP said it's working with Intuit on an application for the Photosmart line that will let small businesses more easily scan, store and manage financial information from the finance software firm's QuickBooks product.

Another new printer, the HP Envy 100 e-All-in-One, includes a high-resolution touchscreen display and what the company bills as "whisper quiet" operation. HP also touts the device for its green appeal, claiming that it is the first polyvinyl chloride-free (PVC-free) printer. The HP Envy 100 ($249) is slated to be available worldwide next month.

In addition to Yahoo, HP is also working with a number of content partners to simplify printing of specialized Web content. For example, the printers will include the ability to quickly print out Delta Airlines boarding passes and schedules, maps and driving directions from Bing Maps and personalized photo albums from Photobucket, SmugMug and Facebook.

The news comes at a time when the enterprise workforce is increasingly mobile, and relying more on notebook computers and mobile devices to access information. HP has been touting a shift to a new generation of Web printing that offers more flexibility than the classic desktop computer hardwired to a printer, a model that has generated billions of dollars in revenue for the company over the years.

HP started talking about its new ePrint capability back in June when it also promised to deliver a new generation of Internet-connected printers later this year, leading to today's announcement.

"We have transformed the flow of content for all customers letting them access, share, print and manage content virtually any time or anywhere in the world," Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of HP's Imaging and Printing Group, said in a statement.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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