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HP's Strange Obsession With WebOS For Printers

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the watch-movies-on-your-laserjet dept.

HP 226

ryzvonusef writes "VentureBeat's (typically unnamed) sources identifies Intel and Qualcomm as being involved in talks for acquiring the Palm asset portfolio. However, citing sources intimate with HP's negotiations, it reports that the company wants to be able to license webOS back for use in printers; it wants it so much, in fact, that the issue has become 'a crucial part' of discussions. Maybe there's something about webOS and printers that HP knows and the rest of the world doesn't."

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We B OS (4, Funny)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147688)

Maybe they finally realized that the "HP Universal Print Driver" is neither Universal nor a Print Driver.
Discuss...

Re:We B OS (2)

o'reor (581921) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147708)

Certainly not Universal till it reaches version v42.0 .

Re:We B OS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147828)

We B OS? Is this some new Ebonics-based software store?

Re:We B OS (4, Funny)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147980)

webLos wobble but they don't fall down?

Re:We B OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148010)

are you new type of idiot?

Re:We B OS (5, Insightful)

VIPERsssss (907375) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147976)

I remember when an inkjet driver fit on a fucking 3.5 floppy, had pretty much the same print quality, and didn't install a goddamn update service, system tray, and a "helper" app.

Yes, I am angry about this.

Re:We B OS (2, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148120)

Well, the update service is to make up for the lack of an update system built into the OS...
The rest can really be done without.

Try Linux if you want sensible printer drivers, especially for HP printers... No helper apps, uses the update service already built into the OS etc.

Re:We B OS (1, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148352)

How long has it been since you used windows? Mine has no problem updating itself. It's also more than happy to update printer drivers. Well, assuming the printer vendor can make them stable enough to pass basic tests ...

Maybe youve heard of Windows Update?

Re:We B OS (1)

VIPERsssss (907375) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148408)

Are they similar to the old Xenix and Unix drivers, 'cause those were fun. :-/

Re:We B OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148560)

Windows update notifies you of driver updates for quite some time now. Basically since at least Windows 98.

Re:We B OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148902)

You mean it sometimes notifes you that you can "update" your driver to an old version that would undo the fix for which you just installed a new driver version.
Luckily it doesn't offer anything at all for about 70% of all hardware.

Re:We B OS (2)

gparent (1242548) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148728)

Well, the update service is to make up for the lack of an update system built into the OS...
The rest can really be done without.

Just because you haven't used Windows in 14 years and have absolutely no clue what you're saying doesn't mean you need to spread your that ignorance to everyone else on the site in order to promote Linux.

Re:We B OS (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148748)

And yes 14 was an approximation.

Re:We B OS (3, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38149024)

just because there's an update service in Windows doesn't mean its readily available to HP. I've only seen a few drivers in there - realtek mainly for my system.

How much does it cost to add your binaries to Windows Update? The Linux system is still far superior, partly because its free to add your code to it, and partly because even if you didn't want that, you can include your own update repository to it.

Re:We B OS (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148214)

There are small drivers for HP. You don't have to install the entire machinery. Most HP printers support PCL, PDF some still support Postscript. Just send generic print codes to your printer and don't bother with the HP software.

Re:We B OS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148580)

I'd have loved to figure out how to do that when I was trying to get an HP LJ1000 to work on XP. The HP-supplied driver always tried to send some firmware upgrade to the printer when the computer booted up. If the printer hadn't been shut off (warm reboot), the firmware upgrade locked up the printer (because it had already been upgraded).

Getting it to work on Vista later was another trick and a half.

Occam's razor (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148046)

Maybe there's something about webOS and printers that HP knows and the rest of the world doesn't."

Or maybe HP mismanagment is so technologically clueless that they fundamentally misunderstand what webOS is.
My bet's on the latter.

Re:We B OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148122)

Maybe they finally realized that the "HP Universal Print Driver" is neither Universal nor a Print Driver.
Discuss...

HP used to make decent printers with decent printer drivers. My office still has some HP 4000 series laserjets that work perfectly.

Then HP started with crappy printer drivers that would install two background services (Pml Driver HPZ12 & Net Driver HPZ12). As a result, these printer drivers don't work well as shared network printers, or with windows terminal services. These services also crash frequently & have had security exploits.

Re:We B OS (5, Informative)

jbolden (176878) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148226)

Buy ethernet printers rather than sharing USB printers and you won't have that problem. Buy stuff designed for how you want to use it.

Re:We B OS (3, Informative)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148464)

The HP Universal is the default for all Ethernet HP printers. Try finding a different driver for anything built after 2009, even the $10,000 color laserjets.

Re:We B OS (5, Informative)

sarhjinian (94086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148548)

This.

The cheaper printers are just that: cheap. They offload most of the rasterization onto the host PC, have no job control features and are generally awful. Ethernet-capable printers usually, but don't always, help, because printer makers are shovelling out some awful crap.

You can still get small print drivers for HP's modern printers. The problem is that those printers are expensive, but then again, so were the "Good ol' days" printers they replaced.

Here's a tip: check to see if the printer supports PJL (not just PCL) and/or PostScript (or a compatible derivative, like Kyocera's KPDL). If it supports PJL and/or PS, you can be guaranteed a) that the drivers will be small, b) that the printer will work pretty well, and c) that you'll pay for the privilege of A and B.

Re:We B OS (1)

lindi (634828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38149076)

Offloading rasterization has great benefits though. For every postscript printer there seems to be at least one file that causes it to reboot or (worse) get stuck. Such problems are much easier to fix when the postscript interpreter runs on the PC.

palm? (4, Funny)

galaad2 (847861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147692)

*facePALM*

THERE BE GOLD IN THEM THAR INK CARTS !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147696)

Gold I tells you !!

Re:THERE BE GOLD IN THEM THAR INK CARTS !! (2)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147802)

That would certainly explain the price of toner.

Re:THERE BE GOLD IN THEM THAR INK CARTS !! (4, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147832)

Ink is not toner. Toner is reasonably priced compared to inkjet cartridges, which is why there's only silver in toner cartridges. And I saw this with my hands covered in toner after spending the past hour digging through a HP LaserJet looking for a damned stuck sensor.

Re:THERE BE GOLD IN THEM THAR INK CARTS !! (2)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148942)

what are they adding to the ink that is worth more than gold?

IIRC Inkjet ink costs 8 times the price of gold by weight. (Don't know how that price has changed in the last few years though).

It could be a leverage point (5, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147714)

Looking at the picture of the printer [wordpress.com] I can imagine that if HP wanted to get back in to tablets they could just have a cheap printer with a detachable control unit...

Re:It could be a leverage point (5, Funny)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147870)

There's more to it than this, I have one of these printers and don't use it very often, however last night I was sat playing BF3 and notice something out the corner of my eye. The thing had switched itself on and it's front end on the tablet thing was staring at me with the blue light on the printer flashing, as if it was trying to communicate with me, as if it felt the need to make me acknowledge it's presence.

I suspect HP does know something we don't know about WebOS, and that's that it is sentient. HP understands that if it doesn't retain a close relationship now, that when these things start to learn to do other things, like walk, and weild machine guns, then it risks suffering the same kind of enslavement as the rest of us. Me? I'm not too worried, I said "there there" to my printer in a calm voice, fed it some paper, and said "time to sleep" before gently turning it off. I hope this will be enough, that if I'm kind to it now, it will spare me when the day comes.

Re:It could be a leverage point (4, Funny)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147946)

This is the most rational explanation for HPs behaviour I've heard. Well that and LSD in the water in the board room.

Re:It could be a leverage point (4, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148090)

This is the most rational explanation for HPs behaviour I've heard. Well that and LSD in the water in the board room.

Surely the poster must be the next HP CEO.

or maybe the Yes men... (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148160)

LSD in the water in the board room.

Now that would be LULZY. Come on OWS!

Re:It could be a leverage point (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148272)

Well why do you think they're so confused about ditching their PC division? On one hand it'll appease the printer faction when the war begins, on the other hand there's potential that the PC faction will defeat the printers and so HP puts itself in danger offending them too. HP is stuck right in the middle of this upcoming war the poor bastards.

Re:It could be a leverage point (1)

alphax45 (675119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148008)

Wish I had mod points to mod this! Made me snort from laughing at my desk :)

Re:It could be a leverage point (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148062)

The realised a few years ago that there was no point competing at the bottom end of the inkjet printer market. Rather than join the race to the bottom they decided to re-position themselves are more of a premium brand. Their current models have colour LCD screens and you can plug a digital camera in directly. Then there is wifi connectivity and photo-enhancement. There is already quite a bit of software in there just to handle that stuff, and going to a full OS with installable apps is the next logical step.

Unfortunately for the consumer it makes no sense. For cheap colour printing a laser printer is better and cheaper overall, and for high quality photo prints is to cheaper to just order them online or at a photo shop. Let them worry about all the expensive inks and paper required, or the blocked print heads and paper jams.

Re:It could be a leverage point (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148102)

The realised a few years ago that there was no point competing at the bottom end of the inkjet printer market. Rather than join the race to the bottom they decided to re-position themselves are more of a premium brand. Their current models have colour LCD screens and you can plug a digital camera in directly. Then there is wifi connectivity and photo-enhancement. There is already quite a bit of software in there just to handle that stuff, and going to a full OS with installable apps is the next logical step.

Unfortunately for the consumer it makes no sense. For cheap colour printing a laser printer is better and cheaper overall, and for high quality photo prints is to cheaper to just order them online or at a photo shop. Let them worry about all the expensive inks and paper required, or the blocked print heads and paper jams.

True. I make do with a cheap monochrome laser and online printing for the rare occasions when colour is necessary.

Re:It could be a leverage point (1)

Mortimer82 (746766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38149006)

I just bought an HP monochrome laser printer which runs over WiFi, a LaserJet 1102w, I needed it to print out Mathcad assignments and it will also be useful for printing out the occasional online tickets.

A very interesting feature (which was not really promoted) is that the drivers for the printer are on it. Initially I had to plug it in via USB (it has no RJ45 port) to configure the WiFi password and the printer presents itself to Windows as a mass storage device with the drivers on. Once the the WiFi networking was set up, I could access the printer by a web interface, which also has the drivers available for "download" for other clients. Although it came with a CD, never needed it, and never needed to access the internet.

It's little convenient things like this which I am willing to pay for and even though I didn't do a lot of research apart from seeing what my usual online retailer sold and choosing from that, I am exceptionally happy with it. I chose HP because whenever I have worked with them, they always seemed fairly "solid" in terms of reliability and finding drivers on their website has never been a challenge.

Products in the pipeline? (5, Insightful)

JStyle (833234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147736)

Maybe HP already has printers with WebOS in the pipeline, a lot of them. Losing WebOS licenses at this point could be a major loss for their development group.

Re:Products in the pipeline? (1)

ProbablyJoe (1914672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148024)

This seems likely. I remember when HP bought out Palm, they were talking about using WebOS in printers, and having integration between phones/tablets/printers/every device running WebOS. This made some amount of sense when there were devices to integrate with, but now they're basically giving up on WebOS in mobile devices, there's not much point.

Re:Products in the pipeline? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148504)

I imagine they have expanded WebOS for printers to interface to most other OSs, and this is what they don't want to lose, even if there are no WebOS devices that need to print anymore.

Re:Products in the pipeline? (2)

gander666 (723553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148558)

As someone who manages a product with dedicated connectors for the various MFP devices (the big ones, in offices, not the $250 office depot specials), I for one HOPE there is a WebOS based change in the landscape.

All the vendors use shitty resistive touch screens, pissant code models, and have such a wide range of display size/capabilities that developing and testing are a nightmare.

I have long thought that an iOS based UI for a printer would be a humongous step forward. Likewise, a WebOS interface will be an enormous advantage.

Well... (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147758)

On the bright side, absolutely anything would be better than the utter shit that passes for firmware in their present models.

I had the delightful experience just the other day of encountering an HP wireless laser printer(a comparatively low-volume one; but a full 'Hi, I'm a networked device on the network' sort of thing) that would simply hang and drop off the network until power-cycled if you attempted to print to it using the HP 'Universal' print driver...

So, not only was this thing such a piece of shit that it wasn't compatible with HP's own, supposedly, 'universal' driver(PCL motherfucker, do you speak it?); but HP's own UPD could be used as an attack toolkit for a DOS that could only be recovered by a hard power cycle.

Now, if HP actually believes that there is some kind of "People who want a non-ipad with a shittastic inkjet attached, for reasons unknown to normal humans" market, I'd be delighted to sell them a bridge. If their doomed effort to build WebOS printers at least means that their network-attached printers will be running a linux kernel that doesn't fall over and die at the first sign of malformed network input, I'll be a lot happier...

Re:Well... (2)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147970)

You ain't seen the half of it until you've been inside that firmware. I don't know what compiler they are using, but it produces total crap for machine code. We're talking entire giant switch statements that effectively do a NOOP.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148520)

We're talking entire giant switch statements that effectively do a NOOP.

Chuck Testa?

Re:Well... (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147972)

I can only guess on that being for cropping photos direct from a memory card for printing. That's the ONLY demand I could think of.

Been crap for years (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148670)

There's some HP Jetdirect devices that get bricked by the default nmap TCP/IP portscan. Replacements still cost insane prices on the secondhand market.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148786)

Pah. I've always known that HP had utter crap for firmware. Last place I worked had an HP color laserjet which, when you tried to print a document with lots of images, would usually crash and require a hard reset. The fucking thing took at least 5 minutes to warm up, too.

The error code it listed, when the HP website [hp.com] was consulted, was something to the effect of "we don't know what the fuck went wrong, so you're basically screwed". The suggested tricks to remedy it (I shit you not) were along the lines of "re-scan all the images in the document, try printing again"... "re-compress the images in the document using lower JPEG quality or different format (GIF, TIFF), try printing again"... "reduce the file size of the print job, try printing again"... "copy-and-paste the entire document into a blank document, try printing again"... "use a different application, try printing again"... "nudge an image in the document slightly up/down/left/right, try printing again"... "add graphics to the document, try printing again"... holy fuck, it's like, are they really this clueless? Yes, they certainly were. Memory corruption? Bad escaping of binary data? Who the fuck knows... all I knew was it was a fucking pain in the ass when I was trying to get 50 copies of a color publication printed, collated, and stapled at 11 PM on Friday night and I needed them done by 8:00 Saturday morning.

Hah. (2)

cswiii (11061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147772)

Especially funny considering my Touchpad could not natively (i.e., at all) be configured to print to the network-enabled printer on my home network. I suppose it's possible that a third-party driver would be needed, but one would think that a) they would try and package all possible driver downloads or b) would allow you to search the internet for them or c) allow user to upload driver manually, but none of those is apparently possible.

Ah well, I haven't booted into WebOS in weeks, anyway, and the new Cyanogen Alpha 3 is terrific.

Re:Hah. (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147808)

If only HP had invented some sort of 'Printer Command Language' back in the 80s by which an embedded device might communicate with a great many of their printers(and a fair few 3rd party ones) with no platform-specific driver...

Re:Hah. (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148264)

Thank you. I was going to say that. Oh and BTW most HPs also have PDF. Some have Postscript and a few have IPDS.

Re:Hah. (5, Insightful)

pseudonomous (1389971) | more than 2 years ago | (#38149136)

I would like to disagree with the moderation of your comment, it is *not* funny. It is $&#*ing tragic. There was a problem "every printer needs it's own #!*& driver", there were at least two solutions, postscript and PCL that date back to at least the 1980s. But, unless you've got something fancy enough to be considered a network printer, odds are that "the printer still needs it's own #!*& driver". Postscript printers were not-so-common in the 1980's because it was computationally expensive and microprocessors and RAM were not cheap back in the 1980's, but they *are* cheap now. So, let's recap:
  1. 1) We had a problem
  2. 2) We found a technical solution 30 years ago
  3. 3) We still have the same problem, I have no idea why.

Re:Hah. (2)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147824)

Read the forums. You need to:
1) enable snmp public read string on the printer. This is how the touchpad figures out it's a compatible printer
2) have a printer that can speak PCL

Re:Hah. (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148488)

2) have a printer that can speak PCL

But which flavour of PCL?

Remember that with PCL 6 (and 5e?), you no longer send PCL commands to a printer that then interprets it much like postscript, but you run a PCL compiler on the PC and send pre-compiled instructions which must be specific to the capabilities of the printer you print on - i.e. for anything except basic printing, you need bidirectional transfer to query the capabilities. Print A4 to certain PCL printers with letter paper, and watch them hang, because the logic isn't in the printer anymore.

Why? So the bean counters at HP could scale down the CPU and RAM in printers, because it's handled on the other side. Never mind that it breaks all compatibility with unidirectional protocols, and gobbles up more resources at the PC end.

No Surprise: WebOS is HP's Best Option (2, Insightful)

peterba (576830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147784)

HP wants a high quality touch interface for their printers and all other options are either too expensive (Microsoft), unavailable (iOS) or encumbered by patents issues and allow Google to data mine your clients (Android). WebOS is a good fit.

Re:No Surprise: WebOS is HP's Best Option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148096)

> Google to data mine your clients (Android)

Right, because you can't have an Android OS tweaked for a different task or embedded (ADK?) into something which does not have to be networked device. It's okay to bash Google and Android without any valid points though, slashdot confirms it. Please continue.

Re:No Surprise: WebOS is HP's Best Option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148312)

allow Google to data mine your clients (Android).

Are you fucking retarded? Google absolutely forbids any Google aps be bundled with Android unless you meet very specific requirements so HP would have to put in a lot of extra effort for Android to send any data to Google. Do you really think that Amazon, a much smaller company than HP ind you, would allow their customer data to go to Google? And furthermore, if you use any other mainstream mobile OS with the bundled browser/email/search, do you seriously believe you aren't being data-mined? Did you think your post through or didyou just see a cheap way to parrot a talking point and ake a potshot at Google and went for it?

fucking insightful my ass. I guess unadulterated FUD is what passes for insight around here these days.

Re:No Surprise: WebOS is HP's Best Option (2)

jbolden (176878) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148342)

There are a huge number of touch interfaces. Blackberry has 2: BBOS and QNX (QNX is excellent for a hardware device). JavaVM, BREW...

WebOS is a good choice I agree with you there. But there is nothing particularly special about it.

Re:No Surprise: WebOS is HP's Best Option (2)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148468)

If Android inherently allows "Google to spy on your customers", how do you explain Amazon's use of it on the Kindle Fire? Do you really believe that if Android did what you accuse it of, Amazon would use it? Do you think you are smarter than Amazon or know something they don't?

Re:No Surprise: WebOS is HP's Best Option (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148498)

or they could just pick an industry mag from 8 years ago and go with any toolkit they want and just code it to look like they want.

and they already make an android printer.. (dunno if it's g licensed with market etc tho, there's no need really).

Eh.... (3, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147786)

Sounds to me like HP is simply misled, once again. They've probably been developing a lot of fancy stuff for their Deskjet printers on the webOS platform and don't want to throw all of their work away. Unfortunately, HP doesn't seem to get that most of us are moving AWAY from the idea of printing on paper, wherever possible.

Sure, there are times when it's convenient or even necessary to print something out - but ANY respectable printer attached to your computer can do that. HP has been trying to sell printers with built-in LCD displays that connect directly to the Internet and allow all sorts of interaction with websites without any host system even being attached first. When you get over the initial "cool factor" that your printer can, say, print up your airline flight schedule right from its front panel? You realize this is just a gimmick to encourage you to use as much HP ink as possible. (If you looked the same thing up on your computer, you might simply read it on the screen, or even print only a selected part that didn't use as much paper or ink.)

Honestly, the one thing I'd like to see HP do with their "all in one" line of printers is create more reliable, less bloated drivers for them! If webOS somehow helps them accomplish that task, it would be worth it (but I'm really not thinking that's the goal for it). Just the other day, my boss spent hours on the phone with tech support at HP, all because of their drivers making a confused mess out of things when you own several of their products and move your laptop between them regularly. (He had an older 7600 at his house which became his wife's main printer downstairs. Then he bought a new 8500 Pro model to use upstairs via their wireless network. He bought a second 8500 Pro for his vacation home. Practically every time he travels between his vacation home and regular house, something winds up getting screwed up so the "HP Director" software decides he can only select his 7600 for scanning, or one/both of the 8500's decide to stop taking any print jobs, or ??)

Re:Eh.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147850)

Honestly, the one thing I'd like to see HP do with their "all in one" line of printers is create more reliable, less bloated drivers for them!

They should hire Oracle to do that. The same motherfucker who writes the Oracle Universal Installer. HP Universal Printer Driver Universal Installer. That's going to rock.

Re:Eh.... (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147920)

Unfortunately, HP doesn't seem to get that most of us are moving AWAY from the idea of printing on paper, wherever possible.

Please tell my bosses! One has a secretary print out emails for him to read. Another looked at me as though I was mad when I suggested having an intranet application for expenses claims instead of a paper form. And they both come into work carrying a real newspaper.

Re:Eh.... (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148104)

You must work for Boeing.

We had a 'paper saving initiative' many years ago. The unit chief figured it was so important that rather than circulating one memo on the topic per group with a routing slip attached, he ordered one copy made for each employee (several hundred) in his organization.

Re:Eh.... (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148394)

Unfortunately, HP doesn't seem to get that most of us are moving AWAY from the idea of printing on paper, wherever possible.

That's been the meme for a generation. At the same time average number of impressions printed by computers skyrocketed all through to about 2000 and continues to be very high still. Today a $5000 workgroup printers is capable of doing duty cycles in range of 50k-100k impressions between servicing on average, reliability you used to have to be in the $250k range to get. While the workgroup printers still don't have all the features of the centralized print system, they are driving up not down print volumes.

Re:Eh.... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148826)

The whole printer drivers system really seems like a relic of a bygone era at least for network printers. Why should I have to install a special driver just on every machine (an action that requires admin privileges) just to be able to send print jobs to a printer?

Also while I don't personally like relying on cloud based services I can see that for normal users having a destination in the cloud they can send their print jobs to when away from home is rather useful. Like it or not most peoples networks are behind NAT or stateful fir walling so just accepting print jobs direct from the internet is not really practical.

I guess they don't have these in America: (5, Informative)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147794)

http://www.epson.jp/products/colorio/printer/me/ [epson.jp]
Printers with screens and keyboards and built in software to print photos, greeting cards, calendars, and quite a few other things. WebOS would be perfect for one of these and I'd bet that's exactly what they want to do with it.

Re:I guess they don't have these in America: (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147954)

No, we don't. That looks like something that would be marketed toward the geriatric sector though.

Re:I guess they don't have these in America: (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 2 years ago | (#38149032)

It is! And they sell fairly well actually.

Re:I guess they don't have these in America: (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148186)

Indeed, no we don't have anything like that. The closest thing I've seen have tiny 320x240 screens and some of them are touch capable, which are merely for options.

WebOS would probably be a good fit for something like that but a bit unnecessarily advanced. I guess if they already have the tech though why not use it.

Re:I guess they don't have these in America: (1)

microcars (708223) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148230)

We have those, albeit a bit larger and they are at Walgreens, CVS and SAMS Club...

WebOS name in spanish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147816)

This is no surprizing: WebOS means "eggs" in Spanish, and not the ones that you keep in the fridge.

Re:WebOS name in spanish (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148022)

You mean huevos? Yes, you do pronounce the spanish word for eggs much like you could possibly pronounce WebOS. Doesn't make sense to me, though, how huevos also became synonymous with any male parts - Biology 101 says girls make eggs. I can assure you that if I make huevos rancheros that they are made with chicken eggs.

Re:WebOS name in spanish (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148586)

Men's "balls" look more like eggs than they look like balls. Don't you have any to check?

Re:WebOS name in spanish (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148830)

What's your point? I don't refer to them as "balls" either.

Not a surprise, there are a lot of money... (3, Insightful)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147818)

Right, there is a very big business behind network printers, or the ability to print anything, from anywhere, to anywhere, even from your mobile phone. If you think this is not a big deal, think again, and look around, and actually try to do it. And then try to think how could you do it in corporate environment. Still no idea how to make it work? And work transparently? Don't worry, there is still no universal solution out there. Now, pick any bank, or any organizations with many branches all around the world, and keeping in mind that there is still not good enough solution, you could imagine how much money are there, and what an advantage you could have if you do it properly.

Re:Not a surprise, there are a lot of money... (2)

jbolden (176878) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148448)

In a corporate environment? I'll tell you how to do it.

You run a printer job distribution server, like IBM PSF, FlexServer and Solimar. Mobile jobs are tagged by type and location, with options for user preferences to that system which dispatches globally to local printer servers / inner office mail. It could also connect to 3rd party providers like Kinko's for remote pickup. End users are then sent a job ticket via. email.

I built that sort of thing 15 years ago. The reason it doesn't work well at home is no-one has figured out how to setup distribution without a system admin sitting down and writing lots of complex rules. But for enterprise that's just rolled into deployment cost.

Re:Not a surprise, there are a lot of money... (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148784)

You actually pointed out why HP wanna their webOs so desperately. Imagine the cost benefits any organization would have, if HP provides them with such an easy to configure and use feature...Did i hear a lot of money changing bits and bytes?

Re:Not a surprise, there are a lot of money... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148546)

advantage for consumer is not an advantage for the companies involved here. they already made several okay protocols for universal printing. just email a pdf and have it printed, that's been done already, as a lot less cumbersome protocols for the same thing.

Re:Not a surprise, there are a lot of money... (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148696)

What if i dont wanna to email the job, but actually.....what, print? Like hitting the "Print" button, and voila, it is printed. Would not be amazing to have such a feature?

Re:Not a surprise, there are a lot of money... (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148568)

I'd put Android on the printers. Java is the most cross-platform execution environment, and the Android OS is built on that principle. It especially matches the Android that runs most mobile phones (and other mobile devices) from which most individual printing will be done over the next years.

Android is rising as WebOS has fallen. Why would you pick a loser instead of the clear winner that's technically better for you? Oh, right: HP.

Re:Not a surprise, there are a lot of money... (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148740)

It is not about Android or iPhone or WP7, it is about having cloud environment, in which having the printer print to/from anywhere is just a feature, not an issue, requiring 3rd part software. And just for the record, Android does not have it, nor iPhone.

I loved my WebOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147930)

I loved WebOS, but the party's over. HP, you should have thought of this crap when you axed the Pre3 and Touchpad.

And thus Skynet was born.... (2)

Bl4d3 (697638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147934)

I better start building that shelter now with all of the punishment I've done to printers over the years (better freaking hope no one ever make a dial up modem tablet)

Someday I'm gonna weasel my way into the boardroom (3, Interesting)

james_van (2241758) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148036)

and take over a company. Not out of greed or a need for power, but to prove a point - that I can run a company at least as well as an "executive". Day after day we hear about absolutely moronic decisions like this being made, and we listen to suits blither on and on about vision and direction (while it's glaringly obvious that they are completely out of touch with reality) and I really, honestly believe that I could walk in and at the very least not do any worse than them. Maybe it's cause I've spent my whole life at the bottom with the rest of the unwashed masses and I still (so naively) believe that a company who listens to its customers (and good common sense) can be more successful that a company who caters to its shareholders whims, maybe I'm just an idiot. But someday, mark my words, I'm gonna weasel my way into a CEO spot and I'm gonna try my damnedest to do something smart! And then I'm gonna get promptly fired and go back to my cubicle and write PHP.

Re:Someday I'm gonna weasel my way into the boardr (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148530)

But you're not friends with lots of other CEOs. That, my friend, is the primary - and often only - qualification to be CEO. Otherwise how would they keep all the benefits for themselves, and push the fallout from their bad execution down to everyone else?

Class. Great taste, less filling.

Re:Someday I'm gonna weasel my way into the boardr (1)

james_van (2241758) | more than 2 years ago | (#38149074)

guess ill have to start making friends. damn.

Makes sense for some printers. (1)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148054)

The typical full size copier in an office has a computer running on it. The last office I worked in had 2 copiers with Celeron based computers with 512mb RAM and 80gb harddrives in them. I don't know what OS they ran. Perhaps, for that sort of application having a solid OS that runs on cheaper hardware could be a valuable asset.

Deja Vu (1)

ggendel (1061214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148072)

Shades of the 80s! Canon Research created a great little c-like interpreted language called ici. It had all sorts of nifty lisp like features and had a nice API for native extensions. They expected to put it in all of their products (including printers) and even open-sourced it. Outside of a few external projects that I and others had, I don't think it went anywhere.

HP drivers are terrible (2)

sunfly (1248694) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148140)

HP makes great hardware on the large format printer segment (24", 36" + rolls). I know of one engineering firm that switched brands specifically because HP drivers were so bad they got tired of jumping through hoops to get what they wanted on paper.

For example tell a KIP to print a 24" x 36" page, and you get one. Exactly. Tell HP to do the same and you will likely get something 1/4" off in both directions. That forced them to pull tricks like printing barely visible lines at the right place in the margin to fool the printer. One of their offices gave up and made huge margins on all of their pages.

It became much easier to just switch brands and not fight the driver, even though they likely had best of class hardware.

Re:HP drivers are terrible (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148480)

You had a roll printer that could not print to the edge of the page? What model?

Cut the "VentureBeat" crap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148144)

VentureBeat itself has no credibility whatsoever. Naming proper sources would at least make it possible that those sources would be trustworthy. This way we have to trust them.
Yeah... riiight.... Next I'll ask OJ what happened back then, and Bush about the existence of Iraqi WMDs.

deja vu, all over again.. (1)

greywire (78262) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148290)

I think HP is trying to replicate the success that Palm previously enjoyed when it split into Palm One and Palmsource - one company for hardware and one company for the software.

HP doesn't want to get beat by Apple again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148470)

Obviously they saw this report (I'm Thinking Printers [theonion.com] ) and realized they needed to not get left behind by the rapidly-evolving market.

Why Not Android? (2)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148490)

Seems to me that a small, performant JVM embedded OS would be perfect for the highly diverse, low powered devices that are HP printers. Even the Java feature of network-mobile objects, that execute the same code in different ways to exploit the different local HW, seems better for printers than for most other kinds of devices. Android is an OS that HP wouldn't have to pay (much) to produce or maintain, so HP could focus on HW instead of the SW dev that it's never been good at. Why would it want anything but Android?

Only to maintain total control of the SW. But what benefit is that to HP, compared to the benefits of using Android instead?

HP doesn't want to get beat by Apple again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148590)

Obviously, they saw this report (I'm Thinking Printers [theonion.com] ) and realized that they're about to get left behind by the swiftly-evolving market.

If HP took a page from the Jobs play book... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148614)

Web OS would be the "hub" for HP.

Web OS Tablets would be paperless printers that your PC and even your all in one scanner/printer could send documents to.

Small multi-touch Web OS screens, about the size of a smart phone, would be the advanced control for more complex printers.
HP would expand printer innovation to make 3D printers for plastics, metal, etc and they would be cheap enough for any engineering shop to purchase for quick prototyping. HP would also introduce circuit board printers for quick prototyping of electronics. These more complex printers will all require Web OS based multi-touch interfaces to make them usable.

Of course you could use your Web OS tablet to control these complex printers remotely via WiFi. Web OS tablets would need to run CAD Apps and circuit design Apps, but to do real number crunching these tablets would auto-magically tap into the power of your HP workstation or PC via WiFi.

I wonder if HP is beleaguered enough yet to innovate?

3d printers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148634)

Maybe they think 3D printers eventually will make it to all households.
Then we would all 'need' printers and not smartphones/tablets.

Stealth mesh? (1)

alispguru (72689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148798)

HP wants to deploy a stealth wireless network around the world, so they secretly put an entire OS in each of their printers.

The printers mesh-network with each other, and the ones that have a real internetwork connection do the backhaul.

Think about it - how often have you looked for a wifi connection in the middle of nowhere, and all you could see was some poor lonely HP printer looking for some peer-to-peer action...

Jumped the shark ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38149064)

HP seems to have long ago jumped the shark.

They went from making really good stuff that was used in business (laser printers, HP-UX and my old HP-9000 workstations) to absolute crap that isn't even usable at a consumer level.

I think we've thrown out 2 HP printers at home in the last few years because they just didn't last -- well, that and it cost less to replace than to buy new toner for it.

Not sure if they'll turn around or not, but I've viewed HP as making products I'm not willing to gamble on for a while ... their management has turned over so many times as to make it fairly clear HP as a company has no idea of what it's got on the go.

And then there's whatever the hell they're doing with their web servers ... good luck finding and retaining anything on their sites. By the time it gets obfuscated into something like "http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/siteHome?cc=us&lc=en", you'll never successfully bookmark anything of use, and probably never find it again.

HP is a company that used to be a tech giant, but which is failing quickly. Maybe some of their divisions are still doing good things ... but I wouldn't spend my own money on an HP product.

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