Imagine a world where you can print a photo from your phone to grandmother's printer instantly. Imagine being able to access your personal data, photos and more at any given moment, then being able to easily share that data with friends, family, coworkers - anyone! - miles away in an instant. The potential of this storage, commonly referred to as "the cloud", is now being realized and expanded to cloud printing. The basic idea of cloud printing is being able to print any document from anywhere you happen to be to anywhere you desire. It gets a bit more complicated from there, but many are jumping on and developing a whole industry around it.
The computing world was forever changed when we started uploading information to the cloud. It has transformed data to be mobile, transferable and instantly accessible. Between your personal cloud, which you manage privately, and the public cloud where information can be shared instantly with others, it is easier than ever to have what data you need - and to connect to a printer for all those documents, graphics and photos in a snap.
Google Cloud Print
Cloud printing was first introduced by Google in April 2010
, and reached its preliminary testing stage in January 2011. Their initial goal was to create a service that enables any application (web, desktop, or mobile) on any device to print to any printer. They designed web apps through their web browser Google Chrome which users could submit their print jobs to Google Cloud Print (GCP). GCP would then send the job to the appropriate printer.
As of December 2011, GCP has been connected with over 6 million printers, with more cloud-ready printers either announced or already developed by companies such as HP, Epson and Kodak. They have also expanded their service to Android and iPhone users, who can download apps and extensions to work with GCP
One of the biggest developments this year is in who can access personal cloud printers. For example, you can now allow anyone to use your GCP-connected printer to print from wherever they are, as long as they have Google Accounts. This allows friends to bum prints from you easier, and has changed how businesses and offices operate.
You can find a list of Cloud-ready printers on the Google cloud print webpage.
Apple's innovations have always been forward-looking and futuristic with the rest of the technology industry has had to work hard to keep up with them. Apple developed their own app for cloud printing called Apple AirPrint which was released to the public in November 2010
with their iOS 4.2 software update. This allowed not only the iPad, but also the iPod touch (3rd generation and later), iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS, to search and print to any compatible printer nearby wirelessly without installing drivers or software. To use Apple AirPrint, you need a device with the latest iOS software and the AirPrint app, as well as a compatible printer in the same Wi-Fi network.
In 2010, however, only 12 HP printers were AirPrint compatible through their ePrint software. A year later, Epson and Canon released AirPrint support to make their printers compatible with the cloud feature. As of February 2012, there over 130 printer models that are AirPrint compatible, including Brother, Canon, Epson, HP and The com Lexmark. The Complete list can be found on Apple's AirPrint support webpage.
Popular Cloud / AirPrint printers
Many printer companies have released wireless printers, giving consumers more options for not only cloud and mobile printing, but also faster speeds, more vibrant colors and easier usage. For example, many HP printers
have HP ePrint and Kodak printers
have Kodak Pic Flick for iOS 4.0 and later products. Below are some of the most popular printers on the market for cloud printing.
Epson Artisan 730 All-in-One
released the Artisan 730
in October 2011, and has since become popular with home and small business on a budget. The sleek black and midnight blue printer features a 2.5� LCD touchscreen, fast and high quality photos in as fast as 10 seconds, and the ability to print onto CDs and DVDs. It is considered a multifunction color Inkjet printer.
The Artisan 730 is Wi-Fi CERTIFIED and ethernet network ready. Mobile users can also benefit from printer's compatibility with email print, Epson Connect, Apple Airprint, and Google Cloud Print. Epson Connect allows users to print documents and photos from mobile devices via email.
There are 6 different different ink cartridges use for this printer: Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Light Cyan and Light Magenta. However, don't be frightened off just yet � there are both re-manufactured and genuine Artisan 730 ink cartridges available for you to choose from, depending on your needs.
Epson WorkForce 645 All-in-One
The Epson Workforce 645
was released in October 2011 along with the Artisan 730, and has quickly become a consumer favorite of the Workforce line. It features high quality and print speeds, as well as automatic two-sided printing, a 2.5� LCD screen and mobile/wireless capabilities. The various functions include printing, copying, scanning and faxing. This printer is ENERGY STAR qualified, and can save up to 50% on paper and uses up to 70% less power than last printers. It comes with a one-year limited warranty as well.
The built-in wired and wireless networking allow for easy printer sharing and connectivity. The Workforce 645 is compatible with Epson Connect, Apple AirPrint, iPrint and Google Cloud Print as well, providing versatile printing options for busy homes and offices.
This printer has individual cartridges, which allows you to change the different inks as needed. Ink cartridges for the Epson Workforce 645 provide a high page yield and great prints for not only crisp documents, but also vibrant photographs.
HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus Wireless e-All-in-One
The HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus
is a multifunction, Inkjet color printer released in 2009. Despite it's age, this printer is still highly rated and recommended. It features wireless connectivity, energy/resource savings, a 4.3� color touchscreen and easy web and mobile printing. This printer also has memory card readers and USB slots for easy printing.
The Officejet Pro 8500A Plus features web connectivity, HP ePrint and Apple AirPrint. It is able to access and print from the Web, using the color display and apps, without a PC connection. HP ePrint allows users to send print jobs as email attachments from any mobile device, including smartphones and notebooks. With so many ways to print, this printer is a great option for the home, school or business.
Officejet Pro 8500A Plus ink cartridges are individually loaded, which makes it easier to change over time. It can accommodate XL cartridges, which are great for saving money with a 2,200 page yield for the black cartridges and 1,400 page yield for the color ones. Regular volume cartridges are also available, but compared to the XL cartridges, the cost per value is not as high.
HP Photosmart 7510 e-All-in-OneHP
released the wirelessPhotosmart 7510 e-All-in-One
in October 2011. Although it is more photo-oriented, it fulfills its category as a multifunction printer, with scan, fax and copy abilities. This printer features a built-in Wi-Fi network, 4.3� color touchscreen, automatic two-sided printing, and print resolution up to 9600 x 2400.
The Photosmart 7510 uses the built-in Wi-Fi network for much of the printing ability, but can be connected to a computer with a USB for offline jobs as well. It also has HP ePrint and Apple Airprint for mobile and distance printing. This printer also has a security option that requires a password for printing for easier printer-sharing control.
Re-manufactured and genuine cartridges are available for this printer come in XL and regular size which can keep the costs of printing low. There are 5 different ink cartridges the Photosmart 7510 uses � Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Photo Black for high quality photo and document prints.