Web pages missing from HP's ePrinting plan

Web pages missing from HP's ePrinting plan

Summary: I've just gotten back from spending a couple of days in Istanbul with HP talking about its new cloud print services and what it means for its consumer and business users.The EMEA launch was preceded by announcements on 20 September made in New York, largely touting the company's new line-up of web-enabled printers, designed to connect to its ePrint platform.

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TOPICS: Mobility
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I've just gotten back from spending a couple of days in Istanbul with HP talking about its new cloud print services and what it means for its consumer and business users.

The EMEA launch was preceded by announcements on 20 September made in New York, largely touting the company's new line-up of web-enabled printers, designed to connect to its ePrint platform.

The new offerings mean that printing content — particularly from a mobile device — just got a whole lot easier, but as the trip progressed it transpired that it does still have some limitations.

Each of HP's new web-enabled ePrint devices comes with a unique email address which, although rather spammy-looking by default, can be changed to something more memorable using HP's online ePrint centre.

In essence, all you now need to do is email any document that they want printed to this email address. So, office documents, pictures, PDF's, can now all be directed at the printer's email address and the documents will be sat waiting for retrieval, wherever that printer is in the world.

Eschewing the somewhat obvious security concerns for a moment, this approach offers some practical advantages. For example, it bypasses the minefield of platform-specific print drivers, previously required to get your documents out of the digital world and into hard copy.

It also means that you can now send pictures of your child's birthday directly to granny's ePrinter for her cooing perusal, even if granny lives thousands of miles away.

HP was also quick to point out the benefits for business users — visiting clients' offices for example — you can now get that presentation printed out on-site with little hassle simply by emailing it to the office's web-enabled printer.

However, delving a little deeper, I was surprised to learn that the actual printing of web pages using the ePrint method is altogether unintuitive, which struck me as a little ironic. Web printing that can't actually print the web.

The formatting of web page printing is notoriously erratic at the best of times, but in order to print a page using the ePrint system the user needs to take a screen capture and then email that to their web-enabled printer. Which isn't printing a web page, it's printing a screenshot of part of a web page.

To overcome the issue, I was told that HP is working on developing a Windows driver that would allow the printing of a web page directly from the 'File' menu, as you would normally when using a local printer.

This would certainly simplify the problem and make it a more user-friendly experience but the company refused to be pinned down on when the functionality will actually go live.

Muddying the waters a little, one HP product demonstrator said that it will be available "by the end of the year" but comments from company execs suggest otherwise.

"Getting it baked into Windows Internet Explorer isn't just around the corner. There are a lot of things around the corner, but that's not one of them," said Ron Coughlin senior vice president, worldwide strategy & marketing, IPG, attempting to clarify the issue but serving to only confuse me further on the company's plans.

So, it seems that if you really must ePrint that web page, then screenshots are your best — and only — option, for now at least.

Topic: Mobility

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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