Have you ever been on the go and needed to print something you left behind? In today’s fast moving world it is easy to forget something as you scurry out the door. Road warriors need not fear anymore, as Hewlett-Packard has come up with an application that allows you to print documents worldwide via your mobile phone. This innovation is called Cloudprint.
Cloudprint is a free service that allows a user to share, store and print documents through a mobile phone interface. Here is how it works: a user “prints”, i.e. sends, documents to Hewlett-Packard servers that are connected to the Internet. Cloudprint assigns the user a document code and then transmits that code to the proper mobile phone so the documents can be printed. To retrieve a document, enter the user’s phone number and document code on the Cloudprint Web site. Any documents are retrieved as a PDF, ready for printing.
All this may sound good, but suppose you are in a strange part of town and don’t have a printer available to you. What then? Cloudprint uses Google Maps to point the way to publicly available printers. Almost any printer, any where in the world, that is a Windows-connected printer allows you to publish your documents. (A Macintosh friendly Cloudprint is under development.)
Why would Hewlett-Packard provide such a great service for free? It seems they are doing this to sell more ink. The company’s printing division profits from this year’s third quarter are up 11% over last year’s third quarter. By embracing a strategy to make printing easier and more accessible, Hewlett-Packard hopes to sell more supplies. Environmentalists may be concerned about an increase in paper use created by Cloudprint: but old documents can be recycled.
Rumor has it that Hewlett-Packard is soon to announce a partnership with a major retailer. The as yet unnamed retailer will offer a variety of Internet-connected printing services at hundreds of locations around the United States. It shouldn’t be long before this type of service sweeps an ever-increasing mobile globe.