HP on Monday unveiled its new ePrint platform that adds Google cloud capability to a new line of Web-enabled printers and allows on-demand printing from anywhere to anywhere without the need for specific printer drivers.
HP’s ePrint enables businesses and consumers to print documents or photos from any device capable of sending e-mails to any ePrint-capable printer.
It also allows such printers to directly access and print files over the compute cloud from Google Docs, Google Photos, and Google Calendar without a local proxy PC or Web appliance.
HP is working with developers on its beta software developers kit, and expects them to make hundreds of print apps available by year-end. Apps are currently available from Yahoo, MSNBC.com, Facebook, Live Nation, Crayola, Reuters, and others.
Unlike more powerful solutions from companies like ThinPrint, which allow businesses to set up a global distributed print environment, the HP ePrint solution does not require a complicated setup. However, it only works with ePrint-capable printers, several of which were also introduced on Monday.
Another upcoming cloud-based printing solution is the Google Cloud Print project, which Google in April said will offer the ability to print wirelessly from smartphones, netbooks, tablets or other mobile devices running the open-source Google Chrome operating system.
Users with an ePrint printer can just send an e-mail with the required file directly to the printer, which has its unique e-mail address. Once the e-mail arrives, the printer will automatically print the document.
For users with smartphones, HP is providing an ePrint mobile app that can be used to print Microsoft Office, Adobe PDF, JPEG, and other types of files to any location.
HP also introduced a new service, Scheduled Delivery, which allows customers to automatically push content to designated printers at regularly-scheduled times.
As part of its ePrint initiative, HP on Monday introduced four ePrint-capable printers.
These include the HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One, which includes wireless Web access and the ability to print on two sides; the HP Photosmart Plus e-All-in-One, which produces lab-quality photos; the HP Photosmart e-All-in-One, with direct access to HP’s Snapfish online photo service; and the HP Photosmart Premium fax e-All-on-One with fax, scan, and copy capabilities and wired or wireless networking.
Prices for the new printers start at $99 for the HP Photosmart e-All-in-One.