Will webOS Printers from HP Take PCs Out of Print Loop?
Are Wi-Fi-webOS printers from HP going to take PCs out of the printing equation? The HP chief hints that may be the case, as he speaks of a scenario in which printers based on the Palm's webOS, a mobile Linux operating system, that are equipped with Wi-Fi gear, skip the computer and link up directly to the Internet. Hewlett-Packard has grand designs on how to radically change the laser printer, a product it brought to the mass market after Xerox invented it in the 1970s. Following its acquisition of mobile device maker Palm, HP (NYSE: HPQ) has made no secret of its intention to take Palm's webOS beyond the smartphone, but a business printer was probably not the first device people had in mind. While laser printers have advanced in areas of color support and speed, some things haven't changed, such as how to print to one. Today's laser printers require a network connection through a PC, which in turn is connected to a network. But with webOS, a lightweight Linux implementation that has native Wi-Fi support, HP is envisioning a new approach: Add a Wi-Fi antenna to the printer and it can talk directly to the Internet, with no intermediate PC needed.
HP CEO Mark Hurd made the first hints of using the webOS in printers on Tuesday's earnings call with analysts.
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