Mark down June 7 as a bad day for Microsoft. Apple is so far ahead on the cool curve Steve Jobs threw Redmond a bone by including Bing on the new iPhone, now Microsoft best buddy HP (remember the Slate?) has chosen to partner with arch-rival Google for its cloud-connected range of ePrint web printers.
It may look like the same old Photosmart ink hoover, but this new e-All-in-One can print directly from virtually any email-enabled device – no PC (and no Windows operating system) required. iPad, anyone?
If that wasn’t bad enough for Ballmer, this Wi-Fi all-in-one has a built-in connection to Google’s cloud services, allowing users to access Google Docs, Photos, Calendar and Picasa directly from the printer itself (good luck reading your novel on its 2.36inch LCD). Supported files will include Microsoft Office (phew), JPEGs and PDFs.
Not only can the ePrint inkjets print from the cloud, they can also
scan and upload documents to the cloud without you booting up your computer (I’m still checking whether you can upload photos
from its memory card slots, too).
HP also announced a raft of new online apps that allow features such as automatically pushing news content, from msnbc.com initially, to your printer in time for breakfast. (Note: try printing a full broadsheet in colour at home and you’ll realise just how cheap daily newspapers really are).
The first ePrint device, the HP Photosmart e-All-in-One, launches in the US this month for $99 (£70), with fancier, pricier versions (bigger screens, better photo quality, fax) rolling out over the summer.