In the ocean of printer offerings, it's become harder to differentiate what makes a product special. Multi-function, photo, and even laser printers have become affordable and unfortunately in the process they have also become cheap for the most part -- everything but ink, of course.
HP runs to this day a multi-billion dollar printing business that according to the NY Times makes up for a fifth of the company's total revenues and a third of its profits. Now they are hoping to capitalize on the widespread use of smartphones by offering printers that are more connected and easier to interface with your cell phone. This new wave of printers with Web access will have their own e-mail address and have touchscreens, so that any kind of content or picture that you have stored on your cell phone can be sent online and printed directly, doing away with cables or your computer. Pricing will range between $99 and $400, with the first models set to become available this month.
HP also plans to launch an online hub for third party web-based services, a la App Store. HP counts 40 partners already, including Google who plans to integrate the Web printer's functionality within Google Docs and Calendar.