Printing in a smart-phone age

This week, Hewlett-Packard will introduce a fleet of printers with web access, their own eMail addresses, and touch screens—opening up new ways for people to print from web services such as Google Docs, and from smart phones and devices such as Apple’s iPad, reports the New York Times. The new printers will range in price from $99 to about $400. Every one will come with what HP executives billed as a breakthrough feature: its very own eMail address. HP’s engineers hit on the eMail address as an easy, familiar way for people to send print jobs to the web-ready printers. You can, for example, take a photo with a phone, eMail it to your printer’s address, and have the printout waiting for you at home. Or, you can share the printer’s eMail address with family and friends. This means that someone can buy Grandma a web-ready printer and have it pump out photos of the grandchildren without Grandma having to do much of anything (except buy that pricey ink). HP is also lining up partners for a web site, the ePrintCenter, which the company envisions as the kind of app store that Apple, Google, and others have for their smart phones. The idea is that the partners can build software and services for HP’s web printers. For example, children and their parents could print out coloring books from Crayola, and Dora the Explorer birthday activity packs from Nickelodeon…

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