April 11, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
HP has webOS, Google has Android. Aside from running those competing mobile operating systems, the two companies will fight to see who has the better wireless printing solution.
Beginning May 1, HP will offer ePrint Service, an app that can initiate a printing job directly from an Android phone. ePrint will work on every major OS and is targeted for corporate-run networks. HP contends that its app will be better suited for companies because it will offer tighter security than what’s seen in Cloud Print. And while Google’s solution is currently limited to HTML 5-capable browsers on Android 2.1+ or higher, HP ePrint Services will allow emails, documents, and presentations to be printed from the phone.
ePrint will connect phones and printers in an office. Employees will load an app onto their phone and then select which printer to send the task. The employee then goes to a compatible HP printer and then enters the code displayed on his/her Android device to start the print job. That seems to be an extra step than the Google Cloud Print process, but I guess that would come in handy when someone wants to start a print job from a mobile device but want to make it’s for their eyes only.
There’s no word yet on how much this will cost. HP is clearly targeting enterprise users, but Cloud Print has so far been appealing to end users printing personal and professional documents. That might be because Google offers Cloud Print for free and HP doesn’t think it makes sense to compete for the attention of the average consumer (note: that’s assuming ePrint isn’t also free). Delivering a similar product with professional-level security seems to be HP’s gameplan.