I remember the days of the Nokia Communicator brick — the second generation. With that thing you could print via an infrared port on the device and your printer. My trusted LaserJet 2200DTN has such an infrared port, so I tried it. It worked, but it was a pain to keep the phone well in sight of the printer’s infrared beam. But they called it mobile printing. Today, with all the tablets and smartphones, mobile printing is back, but now it seems to actually work.
The secret to make it work is to dump line-of-sight ports and use the network to print. Back in the days of my Nokia Communicator brick, network chips were a no-go for a smartphone — for multiple reasons. Today, the chips consume less power, the smartphones have become smarter and more powerful.
EFI’s PrintMe Mobile is touted as an enterprise mobile print solution, providing mobile printing from any mobile device to any network printer — without leaving the original application. It’s a driverless print solution.
A solution like PrinterOn offers cloud-based print services. It relies on mobile printing devices to send the printable document via the cloud to the printer. Encryption ensures security. It’s not truly a mobile printing solution as the printing doesn’t happen in realtime.
Xerox too has a mobile printing solution, but again, it’s rather limited. It involves a technology that some have already proclaimed to be dead… e-mail. Basically, your iPad or iWhatever sends the printed document as an e-mail message, so again not really 100% mobile printing.
EFI’s solution, on the other hand, has three “modes”:
- Print directly to
existing printers over Wi-Fi, with no special application on the printer. PrintMe Mobile finds the networked printers that are enabled for mobile printing and displays them automatically.
With Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, just use the native print function. For Android devices, EFI offers a PrintMe Mobile app to print using the “Share” command or similar menu functions.
- Print files by simply sending or forwarding an email to a pre-assigned printer email address with what you want to print attached. This closely resembles Xerox’s approach.
- Print files by e-mailing them to email@example.com or securely uploading them to PrintMe.com. With a retrieval code for the file, you control when and where you print the file. This resembles the PrinterOn approach most.
Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if both ‘competitors’ license EFI’s solution at least partly…