Web2Summit: The Future of Printing

Yesterday, we talked about HP’s new Web services for printing. Today, Vyomesh Joshi, the company’s Executive Vice President for Imaging and Printing, gave a tantalizing follow-up with his predictions for the future of printing. Photo printing, he said, provides a lesson: when you get the cost and quality of home printing on par with commercial printing, and you bring the speed to a reasonable level, people will switch over. He emphasized, “What happened to photos will happen to books, magazines and newspapers.” Wow.

But wait, you say, what about binding? Fortunately for you, Michael Jensen of the National Academies Press asked that very question. Which prompted Joshi to pull out a book that had been made from a home binding kit HP is just rolling out. There’s a promo version floating around the press room, and I have to say, the binding quality is noticeably low. Then again, home computer printers used to involve tractor-feed paper and dot-matrixed text.

Speaking of computer printers, Joshi noted that while 70% of desktop machines are connected directly to printers, only 30% of laptops are. And laptops are gaining on desktops. So HP is shifting their business model from printers to printing, from unit to pages. Which means that HP is heading toward a printing-agnostic future in which they’re just as happy if we print our photos, books, magazines and newspaper at home, at retail businesses or via the Web.

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