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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Things get more cloudy... (and why I am down on print)

So after some research I uncovered a Google blog on Chrome - their new operating system - relating to print.  It talks about print and, reading the comments section, I find that I am late to the party.  It looks like all this was first posted around April 15th of this year.

So, after finding this, I went off to look for the HP version.  While still late to the party, I am not as late as with Google.  HP's "cloud printing" statement can be found here.  Now, personally, I have been to the HP printer development group headquarters and so I think these guys are probably a little more serious than Google.  Print is a big part of HP and it directly affects the bottom line so I would imagine more thought has gone in to this.

HP's idea is that you give each printer an email address that's unique.  Then, anyone who knows that address can send things to the printer and have them print.  I suppose this would make sense around the house but certainly not at the office.  Imagine the fun when snooping neighbors email pictures snapped through the bedroom window to your home printer.

HP also has an idea call "ePrintCenter" which allows you to have certain things, like news, emailed to your printer at a specific time.  This idea does not have much going for it.  If CNN or WSJ can email news to my printer why not just email it to my PDA or iPad?  Printing news everyday on expensive paper using expensive ink seems like nothing more than a good way for HP to sell you supplies.

A while back someone asked me why I was so down on printing in general and why I was not focusing my company and its products there.

I replied "my 80 year old mother likes print - phone bills, newspapers, etc.  My children who range in age from 26 to 35 use laptops - they get no newspapers, use only ebills, etc.  Which do you think is a growing print market?" (Answer: neither).

Print will always have a place in the world because its part of physical things that, so far, people are unwilling to let go of, e.g., ID cards, signage, etc. due to security issues.  In the long run the cost of LCD displays and computers will continue to drop and, as they do, they will continue to replace physical print.

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