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HP injects internet connectivity into printers

HP injects internet connectivity into printers

HP’s Vyomesh Joshi introduces a new line of internet-enabled printers in New York on Monday

Hewlett-Packard is injecting internet connectivity into printers to curb the decline in cartridge sales and ride the smartphone and tablet wave.

The rise of smartphones has presented HP with a problem but the company is hoping it might also prove a solution.

For years, it has relied on the sale of its printer ink to supply a big piece of the company’s profits. But as more people read and conduct their business online, the volume of printed documents has dropped. Now with smartphones commanding a large share of online reading and business transactions, they’ve become a challenge because they’re not connected to printers.

The company is rolling out technology that will give internet capabilities to all of its new printers costing US$99 ($120) and up.

They will each have their own email address, to which smartphone users can send photos and any other files they want to print. The printers will also be able to connect to an HP website, from which users can tell their printers to print specific documents at certain times.

Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of HP’s imaging and printing group, said the changes answer demands from customers to make it easier to print from any internet-connected device, including phones, netbooks and tablet computers such as Apple’s iPad.

Analysts from the market research firm IDC called the changes “innovative” but cautioned they’re “not without execution challenges,” such as the need to attract enough software developers to build creative applications that use the new functions.

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