Printers are a racket. I hate printers, and I hate the way the system works. I buy a printer for a fairly affordable price, and when I run out of ink, I have to put a second mortgage on my house and sell a car just to get the one cartridge I need. And of course, you never need just one cartridge, you need all four. It sucks.
But there are moments when I do need to print out a document, and when that happens, I’d like to do it right now. Currently, I can’t do that from my iPad or iPhone, which is only mildly annoying in my current situation. But soon I’m going to be using my iPad for more work, making it more convenient for me to print on the fly. Turns out that HP is looking for a fix for that same problem, and the solution is pretty unique.
The New York Times recently did a story about HP, andÂ interviewedÂ the CEO. That’s where we learned about a cool new idea to make printers accessible to anybody, anywhere.
Mr. Joshi has spent years disputing the notion that people will print less as they do more on their hand-held devices. This week, he will see his ideas put into action as H.P. introduces a fleet of printers with Web access, their own e-mail addresses and touch screens. These products should open up new ways for people to print from Web services likeÂ Google Docs, and from smartphones and devices like theÂ iPad fromÂ Apple.
Mr. Joshi is going back to his roots as an engineer — as a young H.P. researcher, he figured out a way to make ink cartridges fire 45 million drops — and relying on new technologies, not slick marketing. But still, he will have to prove that customers will change their behavior and print more if given the right tools. That, Mr. Reitzes said, is crucial to how investors will evaluate the long-term prospects of H.P.
As much as I hate printers and their associated costs, this is a pretty cool idea. It means you could print from anything that can send e-mail and attachments. I just wish the ink cost less.