Fresh off its recent acquisition of Palm, HP has announced that it will be integrating Palm’s webOS operating system into its touchscreen web printers. It’s unclear whether you’ll be able to install webOS onto HP’s existing web-connected touchscreen printers, or if HP will come out with a new line of printers that have webOS built in. Either way, no timetable has been set for the introduction of webOS-enabled models.
I think the announcement is interesting on two levels. First off, back when we first talked about the HP Photosmart Premium with Touchsmart Web, I openly wondered whether the introduction of a touchscreen and PC-free web connectivity was a step towards bridging the gap between a computer and a printer. And now that HP is talking about integrating an actual operating system into a printer, it feels like we’re getting even closer to a true computer-printer all-in-one.
Secondly, we’ve seen more and more printer companies offer apps for mobile phones to help you print on the go. The fact that webOS would be the operating system for both your Palm mobile device and your HP Photosmart touchscreen printer may make the two products easier to sync, and therefore easier to use. Plus, using the same OS for both the main device and the peripheral could improve print quality.
Of course, it’s tough to come to conclusions before we see these webOS printers in action. Until then, consider this story to be one small step for HP, and one potentially giant leap for mobile printing.
(Photo via Palm.com)