HP gives printers an email address

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HP gives printers an email address

Vendor touts ePrint as the future of printing.

HP has announced that it is making its printers cloud-aware with an embedded email address.

During a webcast from Internet Week in New York today, the company said that nearly all of its upcoming business and consumer printers will have a unique email address, allowing users to print from any smart device to an email-enabled printer without the need for a driver.

The ePrint system essentially allows prints to be delivered in just the same way as an email message.

"We are once again revolutionising printing to make web-empowered, cloud-enabled printing the new industry standard," said Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of HP's Imaging and Printing Group.

"We know that our customers want an easy way to print their content anywhere, anytime. We're making that a reality today by giving people the power to print from any web-connected device - smartphones, iPads, netbooks and more - to any printer in our portfolio above US$99 (AU$122). The world has changed."

Joshi claimed that the ePrint service will be as fast as printing locally, and has been enabled since the evolution of Web 2.0 and cloud apps and services.

Customers can store documents in the cloud, and Joshi demonstrated the system using a Palm Pre to print to an HP printer. More surprisingly, he also used an iPad, which has no embedded print functionality.

The printers 'talk' to the cloud without the need for a local proxy PC or web appliance. Joshi also claimed that ePrint works regardless of browser, operating system and device.

HP claimed that it has signed content partners including Yahoo, Google and Nickelodeon to support ePrint.

On the question of security and spam, Joshi claimed that the email address is "obscure by default".

Tariq Hassan, vice president of worldwide marketing and communications at HP's Imaging and Printing Group, said that HP ran significant coding on the email address and that it is password protected.

"All of the back-end work to prevent spam has been done. We're doing everything we can," he said.

Hassan also referred to the acquisition of Palm, saying that WebOS is a " great opportunity but it's too early to know exactly how it will play".

"As it comes to WebOS down the road, there is a big opportunity that extends beyond what we're announcing today," he said.

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