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HP announces first Web-connected printer

Teamed with Google, Fandango, and others, HP hopes to revolutionize printing

Technology trends and news by Ronny Kerr
June 22, 2009
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/8f8


Books are quickly being replaced by less expensive digital incarnations released on the Kindle platform.  Newspapers are folding as consumers read stories online and on their mobile devices.  The entire print industry is seeing incredible change as interacative LCD screens replace paper.  Yet HP thinks we should still be printing articles, tickets and coupons.

Hewlett-Packard this morning unveiled a new printer that directly connects to the web wirelessly, bypassing the traditional need for a computer to initiate printing.

The HP Photosmart Premium with TouchSmart Web is the company’s response to the “content explosion” evidenced across the Internet, providing a simple way for users to print movie tickets, maps, or other useful items—all without ever logging into a home computer.

Featuring a large 4.33-inch LCD screen, the printer will arrive pre-loaded with applications from various companies. Via these third-party applications, users can print, for example, maps and calendars from Google, movie tickets from Fandango, or coupons from Coupons.com.  HP stated today, the printer will include pre-installed apps from Google, Fandango, Nickelodeon and USA Today, naming a few.

Perhaps most exciting of all is the printer’s open API, providing developers with the tools they need to design new apps for users to download from the HP Apps Studio, which can be likened to Apple’s iPhone App Store. All apps, at the moment, are to be free downloads.

Additionally, HP has included scan, copy, and fax functionality in the $399 printer.

 Following the company’s announcement of the new printer, questions quickly rose up from the tech community as to whether this “revolutionary” device might just be a step back in time, an attempt to reverse current trends. With the growing popularity of smartphones (where maps or even tickets can be easily loaded) and e-book devices, paper waste increasingly seems a vestige of the past.

Further, the best technology these days functions by interacting well with other popular technology. Though the printer certainly interacts, through third-party apps mentioned above, the future of printing may simply rest on the ability of users to connect wirelessly and easily from smartphones and personal computers.

Do we really need another computer (and necessarily a more limited one) just for printing?

Customers can decide the answer to that question themselves come fall 2009, when the new printer is slated for release.

See video above for a demonstration of touch interface.