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6/7/2010
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Lamont Wood
Lamont Wood
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HP Unveils New Eprint Strategy

HP has announced that every printer it will make in the future will be Web-aware with an e-mail address, letting you send material to it from anywhere and anything.

HP has announced that every printer it will make in the future will be Web-aware with an e-mail address, letting you send material to it from anywhere and anything.In a splashy news conference this morning in New York, Hewlett Packard announced that all its future printers, from $99 consumer units on up, will include its new ePrint technology that will let any Web-connected device print to it without a driver. For that matter, it won't have to be on the same continent.

Every printer will have an e-mail address, and consumers and business users will be able to send materials to it from any device with a Web connection. Smart phones and iPads will finally have full access to printers.

Vyomesh VJ Joshi, executive vice president of HP's Imaging and Printing Group, predicted that consumers would send their family photos to retailers for printing, and businesses would print from cloud services like Google Docs.

Participants in the subsequent panel discussion predicted that ePrint could be as revolutionary as the windows-mouse combination. But no one mentioned file sizes, which is the first consideration when it comes to e-mail.

Basically, the ePrint looks very promising for consumers and run-of-the-mill business use. For SMBs involved in professional graphics, it will probably be something you'd want to avoid. The new strategy seems well suited to sending occasional 400k pictures of the family, or Excel charts. For a long list of 40 megabyte illustrations going into a brochure, a direct connection to a local printer looks soothingly practical. Meanwhile, custom printer drives often have features that are useful to a pro, such as print preview, but which are rarely noticed by consumers.

For the SMB, the main excitement around ePrint is that it probably represents a new computer ecosystem, especially as other vendors are likely to copy the idea of giving printers Web intelligence and an e-mail address. Services will rise up to use it, as unknown to us now as camera phones were 10 years ago. All will start as SMBs.

Don't Miss: HP Enhances SMB Portfolio

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