HP gearing up to enter 3D printing market by 2014: report

The computer giant is stepping up its printing efforts by embracing the three-dimensional market, because the existing technology is "like watching ice melt."

Image: CNET TV

HP is gearing up to enter the 3D printing market by mid-2014, according to the company's chief executive.

Exactly what's on deck remains unclear, however, as executives have yet to detail what the company has in store.

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First reported by The Register, Meg Whitman said at the Canalys Channels Platform in Bangkok, Thailand, that she was "excited" about 3D printers and wanted HP to "lead" in the market space. She confirmed the company's labs were looking into the product, and pegged the calendar second-quarter for a public unveiling.

"To print a bottle can take eight to ten hours," she said, according to the London-based publication. "That's all very interesting, but it is like watching ice melt."

HP may be onto something if speed is anything to go by. The company's respective PC and printing units take up about one-quarter of its global annual revenue each year. 

HP unveiled its first-ever 3D printer in 2010, which enabled customers to "print" three-dimensional objects away from the traditional ink-to-paper model.

But while 3D printing may have excited many, few companies have taken to the next-generation concept like a duck to water. There are still very few companies that have commercial 3D printers on the market designed for home or small business use.

Whitman expects 3D printing to take off in the next three years or so, as they "get a little traction... then hit the knee of the curve."