Smarter printing from HP

Xavier Verhoeven
13 May, 2010
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HP has announced a slew of new products and services aimed mainly at small and medium businesses, indicating it’s business as usual after its recent purchase of Palm.

Among the offerings launched at a Sydney event yesterday evening was a partnership between HP and Research In Motion (RIM) that will allow Blackberry users to print directly from their mobile devices. The HP ePrint service will rely on cloud-based software, and means travelling businesspeople can choose a printer anywhere in their organisation, or even search for the closest one (on GPS-enabled phones).

While there was no word on whether the ePrint technology might be coming to the iPhone or iPad – neither of which support native printing – HP Imaging and Printing Group managed enterprise solution sales manager Guyon Collins suggested that the company is looking into this space. Or perhaps this could be an upcoming ‘iPad killer’ feature in a HP tablet running Palm’s WebOS?

Another one for business users was HP QuickPage, a complete cloud-based service that covers hardware, printing, supplies and support for all of a small business’s printing needs. The service uses a web portal that allows businesses to track their printing, including colour usage, individual meter reads for each HP printer, support, and ordering supplies. QuickPage will be available from June through selected HP resellers.

HP also introduced a number of new printers at the event that feature Smart Install technology. These printers, which include a number of consumer models, contain all the necessary PC drivers within embedded memory in the printer – thereby allowing users to plug and play in as little as two minutes. There’s one caveat: the software doesn’t install automatically on a Mac, but OS X should support the printers already. Australian Macworld will hopefully be testing one out in the near future, so stay tuned.

The printers also feature an Auto-on/Auto-off technology that allows users to configure their device to turn off at a set time each day, or when it senses there is no activity. It can also be decided which actions will awaken the printers. When in Auto-Off mode, the printers apparently use up to 26 times less energy than a printer in traditional sleep mode.

And the technology won’t cost a fortune either: the cheapest new model, the HP LaserJet Pro 1102 – “the most energy efficient laser printer on the planet”, according to HP – comes in at $149 (or $189 for the wireless model, pictured).

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