Can Amazon's Kindle cripple printing? HP's not standing by to watch that happen.
When the first wave of e-book readers were introduced, one sector was expected to absorb the brunt of its impact -- the printing industry. Then earlier this year, what Amazon hopes to be a tidal wave arrived: the larger-sized Kindle DX. By partnering with major newspaper & magazine companies Amazon is hoping to revolutionize the way people read, which may eventually cripple printing in general. Naturally, printing company HP has other plans.
Last June 22, HP announced its new all-in-one printer, the Photosmart Premium with TouchSmart Web. Aside from cramming a fax machine, copier, scanner, and a printer into one device, run of the mill technology by today's standards, this new printer can actually print straight from the Web using on-device applications fashioned specifically for this purpose.
It's going to be interesting how things play out between these two diverse media: e-paper and paper. In the meantime, perhaps you'd be interested in what HP has cooked up this time.
For this printer, HP initially forged partnerships with Coupons.com, DreamWorks Animation, Fandango, Google, Nickelodeon, USA Today, Web Sudoku, and Weathernews Inc. At a glance, you'll know that, well, the printer can easily print coupons, movie tickets, coloring book pages, maps, schedules, Sudoku puzzles, and many more.
It might appear pretty trivial at first until you look at it from the standpoint of a regular user. For example, although you can splash color on Dora on a PC, it still doesn't beat printing a page to color, holding a crayon and coloring Dora through hand strokes. The main contention for the Nickelodeon app is that drawing and coloring is part of the development process of the child.
More sample scenarios:
- Store pictures in an online image sharing site (Snapfish is currently supported), select the pictures you want to share, and print. Viewing printed pictures in family albums is great for bonding.
- Before going to a place you've never been to before, open the Google Maps app, select a map, and print.
- Open the Coupon.com app, choose from a selection of coupons, print, use them, and save dollars.
- Through the USA Today app, you can choose which types of news articles you'd like to read about everyday. Print them and read them during your train or plane ride.
All these can be performed minus the intermediate steps of having to boot up your computer, open a browser, and navigate to the specific URL & menu on the site.
Specs you might want to know about
Since it supports Ethernet, Bluetooth, and 802.11 b/g/n, it can pretty much be used wherever an Internet connection is present. However, with its size of 45.7 cm x 49.1 cm x 19.7 cm and 7.5-kg weight, it's not something you're going to slip into your pocket and take on trips with you.
It prints up to 33 pages per minute in black and 32 pages per minute in color, while copying speed is approximately 33 copies per minute for both black and color.
Minimalist user interfaces and the LCD panel
At the center-front of the printer is the 4.33-inch LCD panel which serves as the control center. You can access the applications from here. Although the interface uses HTML 5, there is no browser. Instead, the applications, which are written in Java and run on an embedded Linux OS, are customized so that they only display what the user will specifically need.
For example, in the Fandango app, video thumbnails are shown so that users can preview video trailers of movies that are showing in local Fandango-affiliated theaters. The user can then select a movie from the thumbnails and print out a ticket. All this is presented in a minimalist interface that will get things done faster.
HP wants this device to be available for purchase this September in North America at an initial price of around US$400 ($AUD501). HP Australia hasn't yet announced the printer locally -- and if it does, we'd hope they'd find some local partnerships with major newspapers so Aussies are not left with the dregs of USA Today to read on their train trip to work.