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:
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:
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.