HP big printer plan targets living room, detachable tablets

Summary:Hewlett-Packard is looking to take the printer to your living room and make it more of an everyday computing device courtesy of a detachable 7-inch touchscreen tablet, which can serve as a browser.

Hewlett-Packard is looking to take the printer to your living room and make it more of an everyday computing device courtesy of a detachable 7-inch touchscreen tablet, which can serve as a browser.

Vyomesh (VJ) Joshi, executive vice president of HP's Imaging and Printing Group (IPG), brought out printer goodies, but the most interesting item is its Photosmart eStation, which has a detachable 7 inch touch screen that can double as a Web browsing tablet. The other printer is the Envy All-in-One, which is designed for the living room. It's designed for quiet use and to fit in with the entertainment center.

Will these products fly? Who knows, but HP's efforts are intriguing. Joshi is trying to ride the digital content wave and make it easy for consumers and businesses to print from everywhere (and naturally sell you ink). HP's game plan is to make the printer a core computing device. And to drive the point home, Joshi had everyone from Apple execs---HP has an AirPrint partnership with the company---to Chief Yahoo Jerry Yang and Ivanka Trump (right) to talk about HP's SMB printers. HP's challenge is to adapt to digital content coming from smartphones and mobile devices.

Prices for consumer printers will range from $99 to $399, according to a statement.

Joshi said at its IPG Innovation Summit in New York:

If you go to the living room the (Envy) has to look sleek and be very quiet. When you think about having access to content you've always had the control panel. Now take content and move around everywhere. The control panel is a web browser. Take your content anywhere.

In a graphic, here's a look at HP's grand plan.

Here's the eStation ($399).

And the detachable screen.

At $399, consumers may look at the eStation as a way to get a printer and a tablet. You can already see a time where you're fumbling around for the printer console like a TV remote control.

Here's the Envy ($249), being highlighted by Tuan Tran, vice president and general manager, Inkjet Consumer Solutions, HP.

Oddly enough HP talked more about Apple's iOS more than HP's own WebOS, acquired via the Palm purchase. Executives said that the integration with the WebOS was still being explored. In other words, the integration plan for the WebOS is still being formed. Other items:

  • SMB printers will all be Web connected. Joshi said the printer is designed to simplify business processes such as printing brochures and business cards. These printers can be on demand as needed.

  • The HP enterprise pitch focused on managed services and cutting carbon footprints. Merck executives talked about HP's managed services and cutting costs as well as security. Joshi also said that HP enterprise printers will be intelligent and have standard firmware that can be updated uniformly. "We want to drive the overall streamlining of paper-based processes," said Joshi.

Other odds and ends:

  • Joshi didn't take questions, but handed off to four senior vice presidents. The move isn't surprising given HP's CEO bake-off and the fact Joshi is a contender.
  • HP is expanding its print apps including ones from Martha Stewart, United Airlines and a bevy of recipe sites.
  • SMB printers will run you $149 to $449 and generally speaking the lineup has Web connectivity.
  • HP launched a bevy of enterprise services focused on telecommuting bundles as well as security.

Topics: Printers, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Mobility, Tablets

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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