HP unveils Web-enabled printers and ePrint Centre cloud printing service

Printers can be e-mailed documents and photos
HP's Vyomesh Joshi and John Solomon unveil the new HP e-All-in-One cloud-based printer range.

HP's Vyomesh Joshi and John Solomon unveil the new HP e-All-in-One cloud-based printer range.

At a launch in Hong Kong’s Shaw Studios today, HP unveiled a range of Web-connected printers and multifunction devices that allow users to print from Internet-enabled devices without installing drivers or undertaking complicated setup routines. At the launch, HP’s Executive Vice-President of Imaging and Printing, Vyomesh Joshi, described the consumer market’s move from static PC Web use to mobile Internet access from devices like netbooks and smartphones. Vyomesh said that by 2014, 1 billion users in China alone will be accessing Internet services through smartphones and mobile devices.

HP’s new printers will connect to the Internet through a customer’s home wired network, with wireless access also available on selected models. Customers are required to set up an account with HP’s cloud-based ePrint Centre service, which provides access to additional applications, printing options and maintenance settings. The ePrint Centre will store content sent via e-mail to each HP printer, and the cloud service will also serve as a repository for content such as scans that are uploaded from printers.

Each printer has a unique e-mail address. Users can send e-mails with a range of attachment file types that will be printed automatically. Currently, popular file formats such as JPEG, PDF and Microsoft Office are supported, with additional file types to be added in future updates. OpenOffice word processing and spreadsheet file formats are not currently supported. HP demonstrated direct printing from a Palm Pre smartphone. E-mail-based printing will allow users to produce documents without been directly connected to the printer or its network.

An interface on both the printer and the HP ePrint Centre will also allow users to select extra services and additional features for each Web-connected printer they own. HP showcased globally available applications from partners such as Yahoo, NBC Universal and the Google Docs cloud-based productivity suite. The company will be making a software development kit freely available for developers, although there will be a certification process involved. Representatives from HP were not able to comment on whether adult content applications would be refused certification.

HP’s Web-connected printing service will be integrated into all HP printers with an RRP above US$99. The company has only revealed the pricing of one Australian printer to support the service: the $129 the HP Photosmart Wireless e-All-in-One, which will be available in July. More printers will be released in September and October.

Campbell Simpson flew to Hong Kong as a guest of HP.