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6/22/2009
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HP Web-Connected Printer: No PC Needed

HP also launched HP Apps Studio, a site for downloading future applications for the printer.

HP's Web-connected home printer
(click image for larger view)
HP's Web-connected home printer

Hewlett-Packard on Monday introduced an Internet-connected inkjet printer that lets people print coupons, movie tickets, maps, and other items from Web sites without having to turn on a PC.

The HP Photosmart Premium with TouchSmart Web has a 4.33-inch touch screen for navigating to sites. The printer includes software for accessing Web content from HP partners, including USA Today, Google, Fandango, Coupons.com, DreamWorks Animation, Nickelodeon, Web Sudoku, and Weathernews.

HP also launched HP Apps Studio, a site for downloading future applications for the printer. HP has included application programming interfaces with the printer's software platform for third parties to build software and make it available through the Apps Studio, a strategy made popular with Apple's launch of the App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

The new printer can connect directly to the Internet through a wired or Wi-Fi connection. The device also supports Bluetooth for printing directly from digital cameras and other devices.

HP's pitch with the new product is its ability to go directly to Google, for example, and print out maps or a person's weekly calendar, or to print movie tickets or supermarket coupons from Fandango and Coupons.com, respectively. Users can also view, print, and upload photos to Snapfish, HP's photo-sharing and printing Web site.

"By giving people access to the content they want at the touch of a finger, the ability to customize their printing experience and create their own apps, and enabling easy one-touch wireless setup, we are driving a significant shift in how people will be printing in the future," Vyomesh Joshi, executive VP of the Imaging and Printing Group at HP, said in a statement.

Besides printing, the HP printer also faxes, copies, and scans documents. The device is scheduled to ship this fall and will sell for $399.

HP's latest printer reflects the company's strategy to keep its consumer printing business growing at a time when people can access photos, maps, and other content on and off the Web through a smartphone or mini-laptop. While HP is making printing off the Web easy, it remains to be seen whether the convenience is worth the cost of the printer, ink, and paper.


InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis of the next-generation Web applications. Download the report here (registration required).

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