HP has introduced a series of laser printers that feature "plug and print" Smart Install technology, allowing the devices to run without user-installed drivers. Instead, required software is preloaded onto the printers, so you can simply attach them to your PC via USB and everything is handled automatically. HP says the process takes about two minutes, and requires no separate media.
If you're wondering why such a technology is useful, swing by any local office (or watch Office Space) and see for yourself. Printers are notoriously frustrating to use, and manually installing drivers or clunky utilities just adds fuel to the fire. "Our customers demand easy printing and we're giving it to them -- no clumsy CD-ROMs to install, no drivers to download," said an HP exec.
HP Smart Install technology exists in a handful of products, including the HP LaserJet Pro P1100 series, M1130/M1210 MFP series, as well as the P1566 and P1606dn, which range in price from $129 to $229. The P1102w and P1606dn are already shipping worldwide, while the P1102 and P1566 are only available in Asia and Europe. The rest should be available everywhere next month.