Printers to get Email Addresses

The NYTimes is reporting today that HP will shortly announce printers which have an email address, are always online and are fully touchscreen, and eagerly waiting for print jobs to come in from you. According to the article, HP is claiming that the printers are built for the "iPhone age" because HP has been losing business steadily.

The article points out that the printers will be announced this week and they "build on a limited experiment last year", and they will range in price from $99 to $400 - apparently, every printer will come with a "breakthrough feature" - an email address. HP engineers have said that the email address idea is an "easy, familiar way for people to send print jobs to the printers". Obviously, the idea is that users might take a photo on their phone and email it to their printer so that when they get home, it is ready for them. 

In addition, HP is reportedly lining up partners for a website called the "ePrintCenter" which is supposed to be like an app store for printers, similar to what Apple and Google have for their Smartphones. Apparently HP has lined up 40 partners so far to build software and services for the printers - the NYTimes article gives an example of Crayola offering coloring books that can be downloaded and printed through this app store.

It seems like this new information is related to HP's acquisition of Palm last month, which gave them exclusive rights to WebOS - the mobile operating system that runs on Palm phones. HP has previously said that they will be extending WebOS into printers, but did not specify when it would be.

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36 Comments

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Angel Blue01 said,
Are there enough IP addresses in IPv4 for this?
It doesn't matter, does it? I thought IPv6 already solved the problem of dwindling resources...

Nobody ever thought of the latency and bandwidth issues with this? If you are printing a large document then it requires you to upload your files to your email provider, and wait for it to be sent to a predetermined address before downloaded back to the printer. It will be a long while before your document will be ready.

That depends completely on the configuration of your mail. There's also the added problem that if its POP3 or IMAP it might check for new mail every 5 minutes. If it supports MAPI/Exchange I guess it will be instant.

Still its a better fix than having nothing, which is the case right now.

I have an HP DeskJet F4235 and I will confirm that the ink is lousy in volume (Genuine HP Ink), and expensive. Big money racket on ink for all printers, except maybe Kodak (or so they say), but then you make up the cost of ink in the price of the printer with them.

Hmm. Their printers are crap. Their drivers and software is bloated beyond belief. Seems they are looking into new ways to make them worse instead of fixing what they already sell. ( and get returned time and time again.)

1) No news really - can be already achieved easily but you can bet HP will introduce it with big issues, I see a future of remote owning.

2) How big will the driver install get? - mostly above 60MB now for their existing bloatware installs..

3) as for subjects containing print auth - yea fantastic, email is a very secure method of transmitting text ... fancy putting your credit card details in here for a test?

HP should concentrate on producing printers that have a life cycle of more than 2 months rather than brainstorming.

SoupDragon said,
1) No news really - can be already achieved easily but you can bet HP will introduce it with big issues, I see a future of remote owning.

2) How big will the driver install get? - mostly above 60MB now for their existing bloatware installs..

3) as for subjects containing print auth - yea fantastic, email is a very secure method of transmitting text ... fancy putting your credit card details in here for a test?

HP should concentrate on producing printers that have a life cycle of more than 2 months rather than brainstorming.

1) Can't say. Wait and see.

2) Why would this effect the driver size? In actuality, it would eliminate the need for a driver at all.

3) What?

Easy solution to spam: Use a 3 or 4 digit pin code in the subject that only the printer will print. So if you're forwarding a PDF to print, putting 1234 in the subject will do the trick.

For those that don't have an HP printer set up to do this or any printer for that matter...

One could set up a filter in Outlook or Thunderbird to print any and all email sent to the address you define. Then, leave your mail client running and when it gets the email, it prints it. Sort of a ghetto way, but at least it would work.

Medfordite said,
For those that don't have an HP printer set up to do this or any printer for that matter...

One could set up a filter in Outlook or Thunderbird to print any and all email sent to the address you define. Then, leave your mail client running and when it gets the email, it prints it. Sort of a ghetto way, but at least it would work.

Exactly what I was thinking while reading the article. Why haven't I done this yet?

necrosis said,
Why is this shocking or even news?

Yes it is new for printers but this has been around for years on copiers.

You can email to your copier??? I know my copier at work can email out but I don't think it can accept them.

I wonder how this would work for printing things such as.. word documents. Just e-mail the file? What about missing fonts? Maybe it will have to be PDF... but that would make it dumb for the iPhone.

This is quite interesting. Though I hope that there's a white / black list so that you can better control who can print to your printer... Should fix spam too for the most part.

I really hope though that other printer manufacturers release features like this, because HP kind of builds crap... So I'm sure their competition could come up with something more stable, etc...

M_Lyons10 said,
This is quite interesting. Though I hope that there's a white / black list so that you can better control who can print to your printer... Should fix spam too for the most part.

I really hope though that other printer manufacturers release features like this, because HP kind of builds crap... So I'm sure their competition could come up with something more stable, etc...

People already can forge the from email address which makes that kinda pointless. There would need to be more to it than that.

shinji257 said,

People already can forge the from email address which makes that kinda pointless. There would need to be more to it than that.

Except with a whitelist they need to know both the printer address and the e-mail that is allowed to print on that address. Makes it too much trouble for general malicious intent. Then again, I'm pretty sure there will be sites that will ask for printer e-mail addresses to make things 'easy' and 'convenient' which will in turn lead to the feature being useless in the long run as people, on average, are stupid and will hand their info over without even thinking.

Majesticmerc said,
Manager: "Who's been photocopying their penis?!?!?!?!"

Employee: "Sorry sir, we're getting quite a lot of spam to that printer."

you go home and printer is full of viagra ads

Neat, Although hopefully it will require some kind of passcode/string to be present in the email, wouldn't really want it printing out all the spam it's bound to receive sooner or later :-/