HP Releases Tablet as a Printer Companion

By Ashok Bindra September 22, 2010

On Monday at a press event in New York City, Hewlett-Packard displayed a tablet computer that works as a control panel for its new Photosmart eStation all-in-one printer. It comes with a detachable 7-inch full color touchscreen, which serves as a larger version of the 3.5-inch control panel normally found on HP's older Web-connected printers. Plus, it offers wireless functionality, allowing the user to print from across the room or across the town with Internet connection.

The Web-connected tablet is architected to run customized applications such as weather reports, news, e-books and coupons that can be printed on the new printer. According to Yahoo, it is developing widgets and applications for the tablet, which permit users to get email, sports, news, finance and weather content. Plus, it allows users to select pages that can be easily printed. In addition, the tablet can be used to move and print documents and images from multiple media devices and can also be used to exchange content between the devices.

The company is developing software and content with 45 partners, including Delta Airlines for printing boarding passes and partnerships related to e-books and coupons.

As mobile devices get more connected to printers, the printable content is expected to explode. About 85 percent of smartphone users want to print content, as indicated HP. An internal study reveals that about 12 billion pages will be printed from smartphones by 2012.

To permit content that can be shared easily, the company is also investigating new functionality like cloud services to multifunction devices. For example, the company envisions images from a camera being instantly printed at home printers, said the developer.  

While it is not clear which operating system is deployed in this tablet, HP is developing tablets with Google’s Android, Palm’s WebOS and Microsoft’s Windows. According to a report on PCWorld Business Center site, the Photosmart eStation all-in-one printer will be priced at $399. No shipping details were provided. Also, HP gave no indication whether the associated tablet would be sold independently, comments PCWorld Business Center. 

Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

TechZone360 Contributor

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