I’ve been buying printers for twenty years or so (my first laser printer cost $2500 in 1990) and back in the day if you lost that disc full of printer driver files that came with your printer you were doomed to a day or so of trying to get your printer to work with your new computer.
The driver technology, although much simpler and mostly downloadable online, has remained intact for most of those twenty years.
This week HP announced what I think is an awesome advance called ePrint.
Now you can connect an HP printer to the Internet, no computer required, and print to it from an e-mail capable device, from anywhere you happen to be. HP ePrint technology allows you to attach a document you wish to print to an e-mail message that you forward to a Web-connected printer using any device with an Internet connection. There is no printer driver to install. Instead the printer is assigned a unique e-mail address when you register it before first use.
I know I would start my day at my home office and send a couple files to my office printer to be waiting when I got to the office and I can image hotels adopting this approach to make it easier for business centers to print from the room. Even in the office printing from a smartphone or iPad will be much easier too.
The introduction of this technology comes with a host of web enabled all in one printers starting at $99 and other enhancements such as cloud file storage and an app store for various specialized printing solutions.
For me, I’m just hoping I never have to download another printer driver again!
Disclosure: Over the last few years HP has sponsored various programs on Duct Tape Marketing, but I’m not being paid to talk about this cool new technology.