SXSW: HP ePrint – Fully Integrated to BlackBerry First

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To survive South by Southwest (SXSW) 2011, I needed mobile apps. Whether I was sampling a new group chat option, sharing contacts through Twitter or just checking an online map for directions I relied heavily on mobile apps. And so did just about everyone else, as evidenced by all of the chins stuck to chests with lighted faces. But for those of us with BlackBerry smartphones, the new and promoted apps at this event were mostly out of our reach. I lost track of how many new mobile app companies who said, “it’s available on [x], but BlackBerry is on the roadmap…”.

Not so with HP. Hewlett-Packard had a major presence at SXSW, with an enormous mobile home encampment next to the convention center and a big booth in the tradeshow, and best of all they shared with me their “it’s integrated to BlackBerry FIRST” ePrint solution. I interviewed Andy Lisoskie, Marketing Strategist at HP.

The HP ePrint solution let’s a user print by using email. The wireless printer has an email address associated with it, and when you send to that address then the email, or Office file, PDF or photo attachment is printed. ePrint has been around for a little bit now, but HP has ramped it up considerably. For starters, they now have multiple lines of printers that support ePrint. That means multiple form factors and price points to choose from on the wireless printing side.

Even though any device that can send an email works with ePrint, the really cool thing for BlackBerry users is that the HP ePrint app, available for free on App World, is designed to work right inside the context sensitive menu on your smartphone. When you’re in an email and click the Menu button, one of the options (after installing ePrint) is “Print”. If you choose that option, you can then search for public printers nearby that support ePrint. There are thousands of locations, like FedEx stores, Hilton hotels and more.

According to Mr. Lisoskie, HP ePrint sends the documents to “the cloud” and renders them automatically so that they print appropriately. However, it does not fix your poor photography or misspellings. He also denies my allegations that HP is working on 4G compatible wireless ink. Anyone know who is?

For businesses who want to enable ePrint within the company, rest assured that HP has carefully planned for in-network (behind the firewall) installations, security management, sharing and more through Enterprise ePrint.

For business owners who want to offer for-cost kiosk printing to customers, you can reach out to HP directly to find out how to get started.

And for end users, just go get the app and get started. If you’re setting up a home computer to print with an HP ePrint printer, there are options during the Wizard setup to enable the service, generate your printer’s email address and so on. Sorry grandma, the printer is a poor penpal…it only writes back to acknowledge when you send in a print.

To find out nothing about wireless ink, but tons more information on HP ePrint visit HP here. There is also a great demo on using ePrint from your BlackBerry smartphone here. (Flash player required)

Andy Rosic is Player 01 (CEO) of Thumb Arcade. Thumb Arcade creates mobile and social games and apps that no two thumbs can resist. Andy blogs on the dark side of marketing and advertising. He leads and follows on Twitter @arosic.