What to Expect in Printers in 2012

Want to print from your smartphone or tablet–or from another city? The printers of 2012 will handle that for you–and offer other ways to use the Web or email to make printing easier.

By Melissa Riofrio, PCWorld    Dec 25, 2011 9:00 pm

What to Expect in Printers in 2012No matter how clearly our world of online photo albums, Google Docs, and e-cards may seem–yet again–to ring the death for anything on paper, sometimes you still want to print.

But these days, you want to print from whatever device you happen to be using–not just from a PC. The year 2012 will bring more options for mobile printing via a wireless connection to a local device, and for cloud printing–using email as the backbone for printing documents to a local or remote printer with its own email address (and an Internet connection).

Mobile and Cloud Printing in a Nutshell

Mobile printing at the consumer level started with phone apps that let users send photos directly to a nearby printer via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Those simple utilities still exist, but a year or so ago, Apple, Google, HP, and Lexmark began introducing further innovations, bringing us to where we are today.

Apple’s AirPrint, which debuted a year ago, lets you use Wi-Fi to send a wide range of print jobs directly from an iOS device to a nearby AirPrint-compatible printer. Initially, those printers were limited to a handful of HP models, but the growing list now also includes printers from Brother, Canon, Epson, Kodak, and Lexmark. For more information, check Apple’s list of Airprint-compatible printers.

Google Cloud PrintingGoogle’s Cloud Print app, available in what seems to be perpetual beta form, lets users print via email on any printer connected to a computer that has Internet access. New printers designated as Cloud Ready from Epson, HP, and Kodak can receive jobs without the PC middleman (though they still need an Internet connection).

HP and Lexmark: Printer Pioneers

In late 2010, HP unveiled Web-based Print Apps for printing everything from maps and movie tickets to puzzle pages for kids. It also launched the consumer version of ePrint, which lets users email a print job from anywhere to an ePrint-compatible HP printer.

The year 2012 will bring more apps and more compatible printers. Also, HP has relaxed the ePrint process a bit, making it a little more user-friendly and resolving some difficulties associated with printing from certain phones or platforms.

Around the same time, Lexmark’s SmartSolutions–a growing collection of productivity apps available with certain Lexmark small-office printers–added apps that let users display RSS news feeds or the weather report on a printer’s color LCD. Since then, the SmartSolutions collection has grown to include ways to access a number of popular online services, from Facebook and Twitter to Box.net and Evernote. In addition, Lexmark recently launched mobile printing apps for Android, Apple iOS, Google Docs, and Google Cloud Print.

In 2012, More Printers, More Choices

In 2012, vendors that are playing catch-up will give you more choices.

Canon Pixma MG6220 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-In-OneCanon Pixma MG6220 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-In-OneCanon’s fall 2011 lineup included two printers (the Pixma MG6220 and Pixma MG8220) with a number of advanced mobile capabilities: the Easy-PhotoPrint mobile app, for printing photos from compatible Android and Apple smartphones and tablets; Pixma Cloud Link, for printing Google Docs and Gmail attachments from a mobile device; and (for registered users of Canon iMage Gateway or Picasa Web Albums) access to photo albums and printing templates for stationery, calendars, and other pieces.

Another new Canon model, the Pixma MG4120, is partially compatible with Pixma Cloud Link–but only in connection with its photo-oriented features, not with its broader document printing features.

Epson has collected its new mobile and cloud printing services under the umbrella brand of Epson Connect. Email Print lets you send an email message from a mobile device to an enabled Epson printer, which can then print the message or its attachment. Epson iPrint permits direct printing via Wi-Fi to compatible iOS and Android devices. A handful of new Epson printers are also Cloud Ready. A full list of Epson printers with mobile and cloud printing capabilities is available on the vendor’s website.

Kodak is embracing mobile and cloud printing enthusiastically. Most of its new models are Cloud Ready, and all of its printers can use Kodak’s own Email Print to email print jobs as attachments. Kodak is also trying to one-up HP ePrint by accepting larger email messages and email attachments than HP does.

The year 2012 will be a good one for printers. Though the underlying technology hasn’t changed much, the addition of mobile printing via Wi-Fi and of cloud printing via email now allows printers to follow their users onto their smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.

Senior Editor Melissa Riofrio covers printers for PCWorld.

What’s New with Lexmark?

Lexmark in Leaders Quadrant of 2011 Analyst Firm MFP and
Printer Report

As we continue to build our MFP offerings in the BSD program, Lexmark’s status as a technology leader was confirmed by the recent announcement that Lexmark has been positioned by industry analyst firm Gartner, Inc. in the Leaders Quadrant of their 2011 MFP and Printer Magic Quadrant1.

“We believe being positioned in the Leaders quadrant by Gartner affirms that the innovation in Lexmark’s sophisticated smart MFPs extends us beyond just output and into providing productivity-enhancing workflow solutions,” said Marty Canning, Lexmark executive vice president and president of Imaging Solutions and Services. “When adding our award-winning devices with enterprise content management from Perceptive Software, we go even further to help our customers solve pain points, move information faster and work more efficiently.”

For the full story, please click here.

1 Gartner, Inc., Magic Quadrant for MFPs and Printers, Worldwide, Sharon McNee, Federico De Silva, October 24, 2011.

 

Lexmark’s Hosted Testing and Grading Solution Gets High Marks From BLI

 

Lexmark’s Hosted Testing and Grading solution is the first Lexmark solution to go through the Buyer’s Lab (BLI) rigorous testing. And it more than makes the grade. BLI gives our solution five out of five stars.

With Lexmark’s Hosted Testing and Grading, schools can now afford to test students more often and for less cost, without adding to their education team’s workload. Adding this innovative workflow solution to Lexmark multifunction printers lets educators print their own test materials on affordable plain paper and scan the completed tests to automatically score them.

Teachers can get student results in minutes and access a variety of reports to analyze student performance. In addition, the solution can be configured to export results directly to a school’s student information system (SIS) or electronic grade book.

While Lexmark continues to receive BLI awards for hardware, it’s gratifying to be recognized for our ability to deliver a software solution. For the full report, click here.

And don’t forget — there is a wealth of information about Lexmark’s Hosted Testing and Grading Solution on PartnerNet.

 

Ride the Wave of Lexmark Color

Lexmark’s line-up of award-winning color products provides innovative technology that can have a profound impact on increasing employee productivity and reducing customer costs.

Announced in 2011: Lexmark XS796 and XS955 Family of Products

•   Robust Color Output: Named Color Replacement for easy color matching.

•   Business Productivity: Preloaded applications to drive greater efficiency, and Lexmark Embedded Solutions Framework to further extend the capabilities of the device.

•   Easy and Intuitive: Extra large, easy to navigate 10.2-inch color touch screen provides audible and tactile feedback to make completing tasks intuitive.

•   Exceptional Media Handling: Vibrant, professional quality output and the ability to print on a wide variety of media allow your customers to do more color printing in-house.

With the ultra-reliable paper feeding of the Lexmark XS955 family, your customers can print tabloid and banner size media. Lexmark continues to receive rave reviews from dealers who have placed the Lexmark color products in their showrooms-particularly the Lexmark XS796. So why not, ‘Ride the Wave of Lexmark Color” and sell these great products to your customers!

 

Lexmark Solutions Showcase

Lexmark is excited to announce several new embedded applications that will enhance the value added solution capabilities of our partners. These applications are available now on the Lexmark Virtual Solution Center.

The Lexmark Multi Send App lets you scan a paper document once and route the digital image file to multiple destinations simultaneously. With the tap of a button, scanned documents can be quickly delivered to email addresses, network folders, FTP sites, fax machines, electronic document archives or other secure network locations, and a delivery confirmation received. For more details, click here .

Lexmark Solution Composer 1.2 has been enhanced to add 2 new features:

•   Multisend Task: Adds the capability to scan the document 1 time and distribute it to multiple destinations.

•   FAC Support: On 2011 platform devices, you will now be able to restrict access to individual Solution Composer workflows using the function access controls of the device.

These new capabilities do require the new Solution Composer Agent to be loaded on the device, and the updated Solution Composer Design Application to be loaded on your desktop. Loading information is available on the VSC. For more details, click here.

Manage Address Book is designed to simplify setup and maintenance of user accounts. This application establishes an embedded web page on the device that allows a user to import and export CSV files containing address books with e-mail and fax shortcuts. This will facilitate simplified transition from competitive copier devices to Lexmark MFPs by allowing a download of the user accounts from the copier and import to the Lexmark device.

Google Docs lets you quickly and easily access your Google Docs account from the printer control panel. Using the printer, you can print documents from your Google Docs collections and scan documents to them. You can also delete, filter, and search for documents as well as add and search for collections. For more details, click here.

Google Cloud Print connects your printers to the Web, letting you share your printers through a cloud print service with anyone you choose. Smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks, personal computers, or any other Web-connected device can send documents to your printers from different locations at any time. There is no limit to the number of printers that can be connected. For more details, click here.

Additionally, Lexmark is announcing the withdrawal of the Lexmark Custom Prompts eSF application. This application will be removed from the Lexmark Virtual Solution Center effective immediately. Partners with a need to provide their customers with a capture solution with custom prompting capability should consider either Lexmark Scan to Network Premium or Lexmark Solution Composer.

Want to learn more about Lexmark’s?  Call 616-977-2679 today and ask for one of our Kraft Business Systems’ sales reps.