updated 03:30 am EST, Tue December 14, 2010
Print-by-email, "apps" via firmware update
Hewlett-Packard has sent out a new firmware update on six of its business LaserJet models, enabling mobile print and additional built-in print options, and promises more models will be supported as well. The HP ePrint compatible printers can now have print jobs sent to them by any email-capable device. Additionally the firmware update will add additional printing options, called "business apps" by HP, that users can interact with directly on internet-connected printer models with no computer required.
The models affected by the first round of firmware updates are the HP LaserJet Pro models CM1415 MFP, CP1525, M150 MFP and CP1020. Also included are the HP Color LaserJet models CM4540 MFP and CP5525. Each printer will have its own unique e-mail address that compatible documents can be sent to and printed automatically. Compatible files include Microsoft Office documents, text files, PDFs, HTML files and most common image types.
Users can control some of the particulars of a print job by using a web browser to log in to HP's ePrint Center, but the company cautions that ePrint is for "convenience printing" only and that sending a print job from a local computer is the proper way to fine-tune settings for a print job.
The company is also soliciting ideas from users for additional "Business App" options that are controlled from the touchscreen of the ePrint-compatible printers, offering additional options such as stored standard documents that can be reprinted on command without involving a computer. Other print apps could offer scheduled printing of certain online content at a scheduled time, or for example allow users to schedule and then print movie tickets or airline boarding passes.
At present there are over 40 Business Apps listed on HP's ePrint web site, ranging from Yahoo's Daily Digest (news) to printout activity sheets for children from Sesame Street and Crayola, to crossword puzzles, MapQuest maps and printing of documents stored on Google Docs.
Business Apps and the ePrint service are both free of charge for compatible HP printer owners.