HP has unveiled the Photosmart Premium with TouchSmart Web, the first home printer in the world to print directly from the web. HP's TouchSmart technology uses a large touch screen to browse web pages and launch a range of applications for printing daily news, maps, coupons and more. The apps are pre-loaded on to the printer and it is possible to download additional apps from the HP Apps Studio, according to what you want to do.
Current app contributors include USA Today, Google, Fandango, Coupons.com, DreamWorks Animation, Nickelodeon, Web Sudoku and Weathernews Inc; clearly aimed at the US market where the printer has been launched. Through these apps, users will have free access to customised content which they can print on demand. For instance, the USA Today app will allow users to print daily, weekly or monthly news which can be updated in real time according to their interests. The printer will also connect directly to a user's Snapfish account to view, print and upload photos and it will be possible for users to create and share apps on HP Apps Studio from late in 2009.
The printer itself is an all-in-one inkjet with copy, scan and fax features, plus a range of connectivity options, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. If HP's current Photosmart range is anything to go by, the Photosmart Premium should be a capable and reliable machine. However, it is expected to retail in the US for $399; there is no word yet on a UK launch or pricing but it's a safe bet that it’s going to be fairly pricey. The question is, will people want to pay a premium for a printer that lets them print Sudoku puzzles without the need for a PC?
TouchSmart Web may turn out to be one of those innovations that captures the imagination and takes off in a really big way. It’s difficult to see how, though – how many people even bother printing off news articles these days? And what, precisely, is the advantage of printing games, puzzles, maps, calendars etc without going via a PC? HP says it will be quick and easy but how slow and difficult is it to print from a PC? The success or failure of the Photosmart Premium with TouchSmart Web will most likely depend on the usefulness and ingenuity of the apps themselves, which will become more apparent once users are able to create and share their own.
by Anthony Morgan