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Epson Supports Android Printing

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Android KitKat users − you can now print from your smartphone or tablet. That’s right, Android v4.4 has a built-in print system.

It’s called, wait for it… Android Printing.

So you weren’t really impressed with the name? Well, here’s why you’ll be impressed with how it works.

First, the fact that this is Android means a lot of users will now realize easy mobile printing. Gartner Research estimates that Android tablets are now currently 50% of the worldwide tablet sales (34% in the US) while Android phones are 57% of all smartphones sold (53% in the US). As more and more phones use v4.4 and later, the base of customers will grow very quickly.

Second, Printing on Android will be easier and more uniform than ever before. With previous versions, you had to download a separate print app from Google Play and then figure out how to get your content (photos, documents, emails) into this app and render it before printing. Unfortunately the results of rendering Office documents and PDFs were often very inconsistent. Rendering has now been greatly improved and standardized with Android Printing and Google will integrate it into their pre-installed apps such as Chrome, Drive, Gallery, Gmail, Photos and QuickOffice. Simply find the print option from the Action bar:

Android Printing Print Option

Third, Easy mobile printing will expand to other apps where your content is stored. Any Android developer can now incorporate Android Printing using standardized “APIs to add printing capabilities to their apps with minimal code changes” according to developer.android.com. This means less steps, less taps and less time from when you view your content to when you can hit the print button.

How It Works

Android Printing allows print manufacturers like Epson to create its own “print service.” Our print service is called the “Epson Print Enabler” and allows you to print to Epson printers as far back as 2008. Check online to see a list of supported printer models.

You can download and install the Epson Print Enabler from Google Play and turn it on using the following steps:

Turn On Epson Print Enabler

Fast Forward

I’m looking forward to being able to print all sorts of content from the apps I download from Google Play. In fact, let me put out my own list and see how many of these apps incorporate Android Printing within next six months. I would love to print photos from Facebook, offers from Coupons.com, boarding passes from United, expense reports from Concur and documents from Box.

While I’m dreaming of a better world of easy and seamless printing. I wonder what will happen when Android really moves beyond just phones and tablets? Will Android Printing also expand to other devices such as Google Glass or Android watches?

Please let us know what apps or devices you would like to print from.

 

Six Ways Evernote Can Save Your Sanity

EvernoteDo you find yourself pushing aside a stack of crumpled receipts on your desktop every morning just to find some space to put your coffee cup down? What about the times you find yourself standing in the department store and realizing you left the bed sheet measurements on the kitchen table at home?

You’re not alone. Recently I found myself shopping for a dinner party, feeling pretty on top of things, when my husband asked what I was making for dessert. After a brief moment of panic, I remembered my secret weapon—my iPhone and my Evernote app. Within seconds I had trawled through my favorite dessert recipes and had the ingredients in my cart moments later.

Evernote

Evernote is a cloud-based service that allows you to capture, organize and access the bits of information you need to have at your fingertips. Need to save more than just text? No problem—Evernote can capture photos, scans and audio files too. Once you have the information uploaded to Evernote, it’s synced to all of your devices, allowing you to access it from everywhere. Unlike that list you left on your desk.

I’ve used Evernote for about two years, but I knew I wasn’t using it to its full capacity. I sat down with Sara Caputo, founder of Radiant Organizing + Productivity, a productivity consulting firm, to get a few advanced tips:

  1. A thousand scraps of paper in your pocket: “Evernote is great for that random information you never need until you’re standing in the store,” explains Sara. Model numbers, paint colors, window dimensions and clothing sizes for family members work well with Evernote. So now there’s no excuse to clear those colored notes from your desk, your handbag, your fridge. From remembering the wine you liked at a restaurant to cataloging favorite songs, Evernote keeps the information at the ready.
  2. Destroy that pile of receipts: From your household budget to your expense report, scan those receipts and keep them organized. Epson Scan To Cloud, for example, helps people scan receipts—and life’s other important information—directly to Evernote. “We all have books we want to read, movies we want to watch, passwords to remember,” says Sara. “Keep these in Evernote and never forget them.”
  3. It’s a snap: Don’t have access to a scanner? Use the camera on your smartphone to upload the photo directly to Evernote. Browsing the web and see a recipe you can’t wait to try? Use the Evernote Web Clipper to grab the text, save the whole page image or just the URL. In a meeting and need to record it? Evernote lets you do that with its mobile app.
  4. Organize your notes: There are many aspects of your life that can benefit from some organization, from research on an upcoming vacation to storing photos of furniture you like for an upcoming remodel. If you have children (or even pets!), it helps keep information in order, like PTA meetings, medical records and, Sara’s favorite, kids’ creations. Take photos of their artwork and schoolwork—Evernote dates them and saves a copy in the cloud if they get lost or damaged.
  5. Collaborate: From your son’s science project to your client’s latest goals, Evernote makes managing all moving parts easily. Evernote updates and saves changes in real time, so you’ll be able to access that photo of volcano ingredients your son just uploaded when you’re at the hardware store the night before it’s due.
  6. Discipline: Does this sound like a lot of work? It’s not. Evernote not only makes it so easy to upload, store and access your information you won’t even notice the time passing, but also the first time it saves your bacon you’ll realize how indispensable it is.

I like to call Evernote my “external hard drive” for my brain. I’ve scanned tiny instruction manuals into Evernote that I would otherwise lose in seconds, as well as tips on gardening, blog topics for clients and articles on places I’d love to visit. I find it indispensable for cataloging those books I want to read but will have forgotten the names of by the time I finish reading volume 15 of the Game of Thrones. I can honestly say that Evernote has changed my life for the better.

What online cloud service do you use? How it has changed the way you work, play and share? Let us know in the comments.

Print Long Distance

switchboard_bwWhat does “Wireless Printing” mean to you? Most likely, it means the ability to print from your computer or mobile device without having to connect a USB or Ethernet cable. Wireless printing is also essential from a smartphone or tablet that does not have USB or Ethernet ports but relies on Wi-Fi technology instead. Mostly it’s really convenient because you no longer need to be right next to your printer in order to print. You are free to move around your home or office.

There’s just one limitation: you are still limited to printing to a nearby printer. But, what if you want to print to a remote printer? Then you need to embrace “Cloud Printing” and gain the ability to print long distance. Cloud printing means the printer itself is connected to an internet printing service that can receive print jobs and route them to the proper printer. It’s like an old-fashioned switchboard operator or fax network. You just need to know the printer’s identity. The biggest benefit of cloud printing is the ability to extend the reach of your message no matter where you happen to be. The only caveat is that your device needs access to the Internet.

Epson printers support three ways to Print Long Distance: Epson Email Print, Google Cloud Print and Epson Remote Print. I personally ranked them by how powerful they are. Here’s how each one works:

Epson Email Print

Email Print connects your printer to the Epson Connect server and provides it with a unique email address. This means you, or anyone who knows your printer’s email address, can send emails or attached files to print from anywhere. It works with any device that can send an email and supports Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files as well as PDF, JPG and TIF files. 

Google Cloud Print (GCP)

GCP connects the Epson printer to a Google server and can be accessed from your Chrome Browser or from a Chromebook. When you setup your printer, you will associate your printer with your GMail account allowing you to print emails and web pages with ease. It also allows you to “print” to Google Drive as well as to a FedEx Office location. It supports Chromebooks and any device with the Chrome Browser including Android devices, Apple iPads and iPhones, Windows and Mac computers and laptops.

Epson Remote Print

This is a print driver that you download onto your computer or laptop. During setup, you specify the printer’s email address and Remote Print will allow you to use “File>Print” from any software or application. It will then send the job to the Epson Connect server and route the print job using the printer’s email address. This is the most powerful “Print Long Distance” feature because it can be used not just with Microsoft Office, PDF, emails or web pages, but with any Windows or Mac OS application. It also gives you the most print options and control. Most importantly, it extends the reach of your computer or laptop where most of your work still gets done.

Let me know if which Remote Printing solution you use.

Photo: Shane Hansen/E+/Getty Images

Epson Joins The Mopria Alliance

Mopria_TM_Alliance_Pos_rgbEpson recently joined the Mopria Alliance, an association of printer and technology companies whose goal is to make mobile printing intuitively easy. In case you’re wondering, Mopria stands for Mobile PRInting Alliance.

Why Join Mopria?

The simple answer is that both Epson and Mopria see the need to make mobile printing both standardized and easy.

The complete answer is that the mobile market is much more complex and diverse than the PC market ever was. This diversity is illustrated by this question, “Have you ever wondered why the printing experience on your Windows or Mac computer is as easy as File>Print?”

Today, there are four major mobile operating systems (Apple iOS, Amazon Fire OS, Android and Windows) and even more device brands (Apple, Google, HTC, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony to name a few). Add to that millions of Apps and the mobile user has a lot of choices. This is great thing because it fosters healthy competition, but makes it extremely difficult if you want a uniform mobile printing experience.

That’s why Epson is joining – to collaborate with the print industry to come up with standards that can cut through all this complexity and make mobile printing as easy as File>Print.

Who benefits?

Collaborating with other printer and mobile companies ultimately benefits you, the customer.  In a past post, I revealed how Epson Connect’s goal was to support mobile printing across the mobile market. Epson invests a lot of engineering resources to support Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Kindle Fire Printing, Email Print, and the iPrint App. Considering how fast the mobile market changes, the time and resource investment is hefty and continuous, while the sheer number of options makes it confusing for the mobile user. Mopria’s simplified printing vision will ultimately help clarify this confusion.

Another benefit is a possible revitalization of the printer market itself. If Epson and other printer companies can shift resources away from updating core print compatibility to keep up with system updates and instead invest more time and energy towards new printer innovation, the consumer also wins.

Finally, App developers and mobile operating systems will also benefit from time saved by supporting one standard for all printer brands while, at the same time, reducing the space required to support multiple printer drivers. We all know how important storage space is on our mobile devices.

What does this all mean?

It means that you, the mobile user, will begin seeing a more intuitive mobile printing experience spread to more mobile devices and operating systems. In the end, you’ll have one simple way to print regardless of what brand of mobile device, printer or operating system you’re using.

Of course, this print utopia won’t happen overnight. But the process is already starting with KitKat. Now that Android version 4.4 has its own print system that supports different printer drivers, a KitKat user will soon be able to download the Mopria plug-in (print driver) and begin to print to more than one brand of printer.

To find out more about how Mopria wants to help make mobile printing easier, please click HERE.

Valentine Video – The Hidden Story

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Last February, Epson introduced “Remote Romeo” on YouTube, inviting people to watch a short Valentine’s Day-themed video and tweet proposed responses to a philandering boyfriend’s (Romeo’s) attempt at relationship reconciliation. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out:

The goal for the video was two-fold: 1) Off-set the traditional product overview videos with a fun and whimsical approach to educating people about Epson’s products and how they impact people’s daily lives; and 2) Persuade our management team to create more out of the box content for social channels and beyond.

Here’s the hidden Remote Romeo story.

Remote…What? Romeo…Who?

As a marketer, this was my best Valentine’s Day ever because I had the executive approval and budget to move forward. I engaged a video production company that was eager to push the limits, offering several out of the box campaign ideas focused on sending the wrong picture to the wrong printer. And thus, the concept for Remote Romeo was born – one that I immediately loved for its humor and appeal to a younger audience.

Filming spanned the course of two days with a green screen for the Romeo scenes, using stock video footage of famous locations. The “Juliets” were filmed in a house with each actress setup in a different room – kudos to the location scout who found a home owner with such uniquely decorated bedrooms.

However, to my team’s dismay, Epson most certainly does not condone philandering boyfriends, and the first cut was met with immediate executive resistance. The consensus: “This is a video about how NOT to use Epson products!” Moreover, 1 out of 5 women who watched the video despised Romeo. Back to the drawing board we went, editing the final cut to feature fewer “Juliets” getting played and a unique and humorous, moral disclaimer – “Love and Print Responsibly.”

Remote Romeo Paves the Way

We were off and running with the final cut and then discussed expanding the scope of the campaign with a teaser video to invite viewers to finish the story on Twitter to create a deeper, more direct connection with the content. We received hundreds of Twitter submissions from people contributing to the epic love story with suggestions for Angela’s next move. Here are a few of the more clever responses:

- @EpsonAmerica She should tweet, “Romeo Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy cheating? Thy rose stinks! Juliet – OUT.” #EpsonConnect

- #EpsonConnect she should get a fake tattoo of someone else’s name and post it

- Angela should tell Romeo to order his pizza with a side of SINGLE next time! #EpsonConnect http://t.co/FRWJdV5V

Remote Romeo participation was overwhelmingly positive and garnered an industry shout out from the RealTime Report as a “Best of” social media Valentine’s campaign. Overall, it was a successful toe-dip for Epson that paved the way for creating new content with a sense of humor as a means to promote Epson’s brand and educate customers.

Oh, and have Happy (and Responsible) Valentine’s Day.

Wireless Printing Tips For The Kindle Fire

Kindle Blog Image

You heard that right. The Amazon Kindle Fire can now print. But that’s just the beginning because the new  Kindle Fire HD and HDX 7” HD (2013) and the 7″ and 8.9″ HDX tablets are built for more than just fun; they are now made for productivity. A new wireless printing system integrated into the Fire OS 3.1 update allows users to find and print to nearby printers. If you are willing to wait, an automatic update will be available for  your new Kindle Fire in a few weeks. But if you don’t want to wait, you can download it now by using the Kindle Fire Updates page.

In addition to wireless printing, Amazon has also included the ability to preview Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. VPN support plus Email and Calendar syncing (Exchange) should make your company’s IT department a little happier. Together, all of these features should lead to more people bringing their Amazon tablets to work.

From a marketing standpoint, Amazon is still underplaying productivity with only a separate “Kindle For Work” web page. They are focused on how the Kindle Fire will enhance how you consume books, videos and games with the improved processor, screen and speakers – perfect for the holidays.

This makes sense considering how my family uses the Kindle Fire at home. It’s the most used “lean back” (content consumption) device in our house for reading books, watching videos and playing games. It’s probably used more than our TV.  With the recent additions of wireless printing and the MSOffice apps, I’m looking to use it as a “lean forward” (productivity) device at work. Sorry kids, looks like Dad’ll be bringing the Kindle Fire HDX to work and on trips.

I’ve been using the Kindle Fire HDX for a few weeks and thought that I would share some ways to use it productively at home, work or on-the-go:

Tip #1: Print Your Day: Emails, Events and Contacts can now be printed. Just find the print option from the drop down menu in the upper right corner to produce a convenient hard copy. So far I’ve printed out long meeting agendas from the Notes section or honey-do lists emailed to me from my better half.

Tip #2: Print Your Work: Amazon has included a free version of the OfficeSuite App so you can view and print Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files to a nearby printer. Open an attached Microsoft Office file or access them from your Amazon Cloud account.

Tip #3: See it, Print It: Ever been in a meeting with notes and ideas on the conference room whiteboard? Snap a quick photo of it and print out copies to a nearby Epson printer to share with the team or those unable to attend. It’s a great way to capture insight shared during a meeting.

Kindle Fire Printing is a big productivity booster in a small package. Welcome to work Amazon Kindle.

How about you? Any mobile printing tips to share?

Happy Birthday AirPrint – You’re 3

Happy 3rd Birthday Apple AirPrintToday, Apple AirPrint celebrates a Birthday and turns three.

AirPrint was absolutely ground breaking when it was introduced and still sets the standard for ease of use. That’s because Apple worked with printer manufacturers to make it so integrated. There really are no cables involved, no downloads or activation steps. In a few taps or clicks, you locate a nearby printer and just print.

I remember the very first time using it from my first iPad. Not only was it so easy, but it was magical. It also really felt like Apple listened to its users. That’s because Apple initially released AirPrint with iOS 4.2 after hearing consistent complaints that it was so hard to print from iPhones and iPads. There was a clamor for Apple to come up with an “insanely great” solution. After the launch, I was amazed when Steve Jobs actually responded personally to an email and said, “Lots more coming soon. It’s what it takes to make a giant leap to driverless printing, which is huge.” True to his word, AirPrint really did turn into something huge.

Fast forward three years and you can see how significant a milestone the AirPrint launch was when you consider it is integrated into every current Apple iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Mac device. If you count the Apple devices that support AirPrint since 2009, that’s over 600 Million units. At three years old, it also has an extensive list of supported printers from all printer manufacturers. I’m proud to say that as of today, Epson supports AirPrint on 117 models and tens of millions of units worldwide.

AirPrint  is so well integrated that it just seems intuitive. So intuitive that my four year old son figured it out just last week. We knew he worked it out himself because he wasn’t supposed to be using my iPad at the time. He was downstairs and pulled my iPad out of my briefcase and printed to the upstairs printer. I just happened to be next to the printer at the time.

In fact, the vast majority of users have no idea they are using AirPrint. True to Apple’s design philosophy, the technology really does “get out of the way” when you are ready to print. Once you send the print job, you can go back to what you were doing – the print job is handled in the background. It definitely sets the standard for wireless printing integration.

That’s really the only problem I see with AirPrint. It has nothing to do with the technology behind it, but with awareness. It’s no longer actively marketed on the Apple website by name. It’s a quiet workhorse that is easy and intuitive to use. That’s why I wanted to wish AirPrint a very Happy 3rd Birthday and congratulate the Apple engineers for such magical work.

If you own an iPad or iPhone and haven’t printed from it, you really need to try AirPrint out. Open up any email and tap on the “Arrow” icon to see the print option. If you are near a Wi-Fi printer and on the same network, chances are you’ll be able to print to is in just a few clicks. Experience some of the Apple magic.

To find out more about how to use AirPrint with Epson Printers, click HERE.

Share with us your experience printing from your Apple devices.

Choosing A Wireless Printing Option

So, you’ve got a smartphone or tablet and you want to print from it. How do you get started?

Honestly, the hardest part of mobile printing is choosing the best method that works for you. Epson customers actually have eight different, albeit similarly sounding options. For example, how does one tell the difference between Airprint, Email Print, iPrint or Remote Print?

Our approach is partly to blame because we wanted to ensure that our customers could use any device (Android, Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry, Mac and Windows phones, tablets and computers) to print no matter where you are. The question is how to present all of the options without you having that “drinking from a firehose” feeling.

Our present Epson Connect website tackles the problem by aligning customer type (Home versus Business) with a specific solution. But, that’s not the only way. What if we organized the information, not by customer type, but by device instead?

Two Ways to Mobile Print

For the majority of mobile devices, there are two ways to mobile print: an easy way and a more powerful way.

The easy way uses one of two methods: either a) wireless printing technology that’s already integrated by the device manufacturer or b) Epson Email Print.

The more powerful way, which offers robust printing options, requires the additional step of downloading an App or software.

Take a look at the list below:

Android Smartphone or Tablet

Easy: Epson Email Print

More Powerful: Epson iPrint App

Amazon Kindle Fire (New 2013 models only such as the Fire HDX)

Easy: Amazon Printing

Apple iPhone, iPod or iPad

Easy: Apple AirPrint

More Powerful: Epson iPrint App

BlackBerry Phone / Tablet

Easy: Epson Email Print

Chromebook

Easy: Epson Email Print

More Powerful: Google Cloud Print

Mac Computer / Laptop (iMac, MacPro, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro)

Easy: Epson Email Print

More Powerful: Epson Remote Print

Windows Phones

Easy: Epson Email Print

Windows Surface, Surface 2 Tablets

Easy: Epson Email Print

More Powerful: Epson Print and Scan App

Windows Surface Pro 2 Tablet

Easy: Epson Email Print

More Powerful: Epson Remote Print

Windows Computers / Laptops

Easy: Epson Email Print

More Powerful: Epson Remote Print

 Does it help? If so, please share your experiences and how wireless printing changes the way you work.

Photo courtesy theilr via Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Generic (CC-BY-SA 2.0) License.

Think It, Print It

One of the things I love about my smartphone is that it’s always with me. I joke with my wife that I talk more to my phone than I do to her. Lucky for me, she has a sense of humor and we’re still married. But having that much computing power at hand really has changed how I not only stay in touch, but also when and where I can be productive. It was the BlackBerry(R) phone that made it easy to not just talk, but also text and email 24/7. When the iPhone(R) and then Android (TM) devices were introduced, productivity became even more convenient and powerful as we moved beyond text-based to app-based mobile computing.

Printing from tablets and smartphones has followed a similar trajectory, especially when we introduced Epson Connect in 2011. That’s when new Epson printers became cloud-enabled, allowing you to easily print to a faraway printer for the very first time. No more looking for a nearby printer and trying to log onto the same wireless network. You now could be anywhere in the world and still be able to send documents and photos to an Epson printer for printing. You can now think it, and just as quickly print it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for a 24 hour work day, but the power of smartphones and tablets let us stay productive when we need to or, more likely, when the opportunity arises. This way, you can be more efficient and make more time for what’s important. That was what we were trying to illustrate in the Epson Connect Overview video on our homepage. A busy married couple (she’s a realtor and he’s a corporate manager) getting things done while on-the-go so they have more time with the family or even more elusive, quality time with each other.

Some of the inspiration for this video came from my own experiences using my iPhone. For example, despite my best efforts, I can’t convince some of my relatives to join Facebook. Now, I can just email photos from my smartphone directly to their printers so they can keep and share memories of their grand kids even when they live hours away. Or, when I’m at home and suddenly remember something that I need printed (typically right after I get out of the shower), I can immediately send it from my iPhone and it will be waiting for me when I get into the office.

Even more inspiration came from Epson Connect customers and how they were able to Think It, Print It. One of my coworkers often carpools. If there’s traffic, she can make up some lost time by emailing her office printer with whatever she needs for her first meeting. She loves it because she can pick it up and go without even powering up her laptop. I also heard from a tech-savvy realtor that he replaced his fax number on his business card with his Epson printer’s email address. His customer’s no longer need use a fax machine to send and print documents. He also uses his Epson printer as a new To-Do List by forwarding his most important emails and attachments so that when he gets back to his desk, he knows exactly what he needs to work on first.

I’m always looking for new, inspiring examples that I can share with others and perhaps even put in my next video. So, how has Epson Connect allowed you to Think It, Print It? Whether you’re using Email Print, the iPrint App, or the Remote Print software, please let me know how mobile printing has changed your life and your productivity.

Photo source: Library of Congress