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STAR & STYLE! The HP Net-connected Photosmart printer held by Christoph Schell, Vice President, Inkjet consumer and web solutions,AsiaPac /Japan, was the undoubted 'star' of the show in Delhi, Nov 19, as 'style' icon Ritu Beri, so 'touchingly' acknowledges. ( IndiaTechOnline Photo)
How touching! HPs new photo printers combine wireless, Net and touch controls

4 Photosmart printers launched in India.

Throwing together three different technologies that figure these days on the wish list of lay personal computer and printer users, Hewlett Packard has launched the latest printers in the Photosmart range with a canny mix of wireless connectivity, an Internet umbilical and easy touch-based finger tip operation.  

And to highlight their elegant design features, the company joined with Indian fashion icon Ritu Beri for the national launch in Delhi last week.

The entry level of the newly launch photo all-in-one ( print-scan-copy) printers is the Rs 6267 Photosmart C4688 with a 3.6 cm colour display and touch controls.

The Photosmart C4788, adds wireless capability – a useful feature these days for home users who might own more than one PC – possibly a desktop and a laptop. ( Rs 7570)

The Photosmart Plus B209A, also a wireless printer, boasts a larger – 6 cms – screen ( Rs 8999)

The wireless feature in the last two printers, will be of help for users who need to print from pictures taken from phones or iPod-type devices : they can eliminate the PC and connect wirelessly from camera to printer.

Top of the line for this November release is the PhotoSmart Premium 309G all-in-one ( with additionl fax capability) which has an 8.6 inch screen, double sided printing option – and the ability to directly connect to the Web.  ( Rs 13350). The larger screen allows HP to provide a great user experience – with intuitive touch controls… difficult to explain in words, so we have put a demo on our video feature on this page for a few days, do have a look.

A single touch also connects the printer to the Internet – via WiFi network or Ethernet cable… a significant advance for printers in this consumer category

But having built in this ability, HP has limited Web access to just one address: its Snapfish online photo storage and finishing service.  We do believe, having built in the crucial ability to link a printer to the Web, HP has locked in customers in India by limiting their access to its own Net service.This may be acceptable to users who are already Snapfish customers – but what about others? They pay extra for the Net feature but are then forced into signing up for Snapfish, to get any sort of value. We believe this sort of restriction will be counterproductive , cannot be sustained for long ( after all other makers will inevitably launch connected printers) -- and has seriously diminished the credit the company can legitimately claim, for giving lay users the industry’s first Net-connected printer. 

Snapfish is a great service and can stand on its own -- and the public who have made it the largest Internet photo service of its kind, have given it an unambiguous thumbs up . It seems unnecessary to force-feed it to buyers of printers. The Photosmart Premium printer launched in the US in June,   carries  the  additional tag, "Touchsmart Web" --  and in that geography,  HP has tied up with other providers so that customers can print maps from Google, cinema tickets from an online aggregator weather maps or supermarket coupons -- and the newspaper from USA Today. Admittedly the version launched with these features costs nearly $ 400   which is a lot more   the asking price of the 309G. Hopefully HP will tie up with a few India-based pertners like these to add  more value to their  first Internet enabled  printer in India. ( Anand Parthasarathy from New Delhi, Nov 19)


QUOTE: “Twenty-five years ago HP invented consumer printing and today we are taking advantage of the digital content explosion to reinvent the category with an entirely new printing platform – powered by touch and empowered by the web.  By giving people access to the content they want at the touch of a finger, the ability to customize their printing experience and create their own apps, and enabling easy ’one touch’ wireless setup, we are driving a significant shift in how people will be printing in the future.” -- Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president, Imaging and Printing Group, HP.