HP is set to make printing from any Internet-connected device a breeze with an interesting - and yet strangely obvious - innovation: printers with e-mail addresses.
According to an article over on The New York Times
, future HP printers are set to include their own e-mail addresses - allowing users to print simply by sending an e-mail message to their individual device.
It's a neat idea - and one which promises to bring printing to devices such as smartphones, PDAs, and slates like Apple's iPad long before official drivers and support for devices such as Bluetooth printers are included by the manufacturers. Crucially, it would give HP the first printers on the market which are compatible with the as-yet printer-less iPad - a major selling point for the firm.
While it's not known what platform the devices will be running on - although given HP's recent acquisition
of Palm, webOS is a near-certainty - the inclusion of e-mail and thus Internet access will apparently be bolstered with a touch-screen control panel, although the company is remaining quiet on whether you'll be able to browse the 'net and find content to print out directly from the printer.
The main hint that webOS will be making an appearance is the reference to something the company is calling the ePrintCenter [sic] - an App Store-style online marketplace where selected partners can offer add-on software for HP's Internet-connected printers.
It is thought that the first models will hit the market by the end of the month, ranging from $99 for the base model to $400 for the more office-friendly versions. UK launch dates and pricing aren't yet available.
Do you think the idea of connecting your printer to the Internet and giving it an e-mail address is an excellent way to bring easy printing to devices like the iPad, or are you terrified at the thought that spammers could find the address and you'll get hard-copy v1gr4 ads? Share your thoughts over in the forums