Mention the phrase 'Web 2.0' in my general direction and you'll notice an unusual transformation. A once calm – even serene – News Ed becomes an angry ball of rage and splurges out dogma like "There's is no such thing as Web 2.0... in MY day...". So you can guess how thrilled I was hear about HP's latest project: 'Print 2.0'?
Thankfully however this branding – though just as irritating as Web 2.0 – does have some substance: it addresses HP's concern at the increasingly printer unfriendly environment of our beloved World Wide Web.
HP breaks this down into three key areas:
*Make it easier to print from websites, such as blogs and travel sites, and bring new printing capabilities to online properties
*Extend the company’s digital content creation and publishing platforms – for example, Snapfish and Logoworks – across customer segments spanning from consumers to enterprises
*Deliver a digital printing platform that increases print speeds and lowers the cost of printing for high-volume commercial markets.
Now all these sound good in practice but how about the theory? Well, it's off to a promising start. Take point one for example, HP has teamed with weblog software and services company SixApart to create a 'Print' button for blogs which lets readers pick and choose the posts they want to print and skip over others (see above from beta tester BoingBoing.net). Other tie-ins include a deal with ViaMichelin to better align the printing of its online maps and a 'Tablo Print Toolkit' widget which can be built into websites to add similar advanced print functionality (yes, the TR site, we know, we know).
As for saving print costs, HP has come up with two new pieces of free software. The 'HP Print Cost Estimator' which weighs up the real world price of prints while 'HP Print View Software' enables customers to dynamically view the actual output of documents before they hit 'print' (though that sounds a lot like 'Print Preview' to me). HP's professional 'Color LaserJet CP3505' series (above) will be the first printers to ship with these tools and launch today wth prices starting from $699.
Finally eight enterprise level imaging and printing solutions – from campus initiatives to financial tools – are being introduced but details remain slim.
Something is definitely in the water. Since HP isn't the first to jump on this 'revolutionise printing' philosophy, Kodak preached it in February. Still, judging by the massive response we had to Simon's Inkjet Investigation story I suspect this isn't something only manufacturers are calling for...