Will Cloud Printing Spell the End of Printer Drivers?

Posted on June 1, 2010 at 4:08 pm by Donna Warren

Hp has recruited FedEx, Hilton and AirCanada to start using the company’s ePrint technology in public locations stating this month.  It will be available at 1800 FedEx Office stores, 1300 Hilton hotels and AirCanda VIP lounges.

ePrint is based on HP’s cloud printing technology developed in 2007. What it does is bypasses the vendor’s specific print drivers as well as standard page description languages like PCL to interface directly with the printer’s capabilities.

Documents are sent to the CloudPrint virtual print server, which send an SMS message with a unique ID that has to be entered into the website to actually print the document.

While this service is aimed at smart phones, there is also an XP CloudPrint driver available which I can use on my laptop. The supported file types are PDFs, images, HTML and text files, XPS documents and Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. The smart phones will use a java application to print.

Does Cloud Printing Make Sense?

For travelers, it makes good sense, even if the process is rather cumbersome. I can see using my smart phone or XP laptop to print something in a airport or a hotel I am staying in but at home or in my local company?

Let’s see, this is what is required to use cloud printing:

  1. I have to install the cloud point driver on my XP laptop or java app on my smart phone
  2. Connect to a cloudprint server
  3. Send the document to the server.
  4. Wait until I get my authorization code
  5. Enter it into the website
  6. Then and only then do I get my printout.

That seems like a lot of unnecessary work unless I am traveling. Because when I am in the office or at home, all I have to do is:

  1. Click on Print
  2. Select a printer (If there is more than one available)
  3. Hit OK and go get my printout

Definitely, much simpler.


I think this new technology will be a boon for travelers and anyone who finds themselves somewhere where they don’t have drivers for the local printers.

But it is way too much trouble for us stationary folks. When it becomes one click … maybe.

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