Government // Mobile & Wireless
Commentary
9/8/2010
10:33 AM
Lamont Wood
Lamont Wood
Commentary
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HP Adds Remote Printing To SMB MFPs

As long as you stick to common file formats, you can print via e-mail from a desktop, laptop, or smartphone, using HP's ePrint technology.

As long as you stick to common file formats, you can print via e-mail from a desktop, laptop, or smartphone, using HP's ePrint technology.HP has expanded its ePrint technology to an SMB multi-function printer, the Officejet Pro 8500A (previous version reviewed here) plus the wide-format HP Officejet 7500A. List prices range from $299 to $499. The ePrint feature was introduced in July for the HP Photosmart picture printer. Basically, ePrint lets you print a file by sending it to an e-mail address that is owned by the printer. The printer does not have to be attached to your computer-or be in the same continent, for that matter.

HP has also come up with a series of apps for printers that use ePrint technology, letting them print certain prepackaged items on the Web without any involvement from a desktop computer. These include news stories and business forms.

Bret Bottger, HP's OfficeJet market development manager, explained that HP has decided to add ePrint technology to all upcoming MFP releases. However, you can't upgrade an existing Officejet Pro with ePrint, since part of the technology resides in hardware, he explained.

However, the print engine is the same, and the retail price remains the same, so that the ePrint functionality azmounts to a free add-on, he added.

Your printer has to have an e-mail address registered through HP's free cloud service, which handles spam filtering and other options, Bottger said. The printer has to have its own Internet connection, and ePrinting won't work if the printer is being run off a PC through a USB cable.

Basically, the printer can print incoming e-mail and its attachments if they are in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, or Excel formats; in PDF or .txt formats; or images in the bmp, jpg, png, gif, or tiff formats. The e-mail and attachments can't be more than 5 megabytes long. And HP cautions that, if you want full control over your file's appearance, you'll need to print it locally.

With the printer intended to be used without an attached PC, HP has also come out with a list of apps that can be used from the unit's touch-screen control pad. All are aimed at SMBs and are free of charge, Bottger said. They include:

• HP's Marketsplash, where you can customize stock marketing material using a browser, Bottger explained. Then you can print it from the ePrint machine. • Google Docs and Box.net, so that documents created through either service can be printed later from an ePrint unit. • Portfolio.com, Reuters, and Daily Brief for news articles. • DocStoc and Biztree, for access to customizable business forms.

Remote printing is not new, but HP is opening it to the SMB market, and adding a whole new dimension with its apps. Obviously, it speaks to organizations large enough to have dispersed locations with workers shifting places among them, and wanting documents created in one place to be immediately available in others.

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