Mopria Alliance Members Begin to Ease the Pain of Mobile Printing
Smartphones and tablets do a lot of things well, but one area where they fall short is in printing. Viewing documents, email messages and web pages is easy enough, but trying to get those to paper when needed can be a frustrating, multi-step exercise. Printer and MFP makers have responded by releasing mobile print apps for the popular smartphone operating systems, but those apps have their limitations. For starters, such apps work only with a subset of the maker’s own devices, which means a user might have to have several apps loaded if they use different brands of printers. Moreover, features and ease of use vary from one app to the next, and because of the way mobile operating systems render documents to be printed, the image quality of output can be less than ideal.
Enter The Mopria Alliance, a global non-profit membership organization founded in September of last year. The Alliance is made up of leading document imaging technology companies with the stated goal of providing simple wireless printing from smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Founding members Canon, HP, Samsung and Xerox have just been joined by a dozen other companies in the Alliance, and HP has announced the first Mopria-certified MFP on the market (see the article on HP’s new hardware announcement on bliQ). The newest members are a who’s who in document imaging and include Adobe, Brother, Epson, Konica Minolta, Lexmark, Pantum and Ricoh, among others. These additions mean that member companies now account for 75 percent of the printers and MFPs shipped worldwide.
The Alliance also announced that it formally launched its certification process to recognize devices that adhere to the Mopria Standard, a set of specifications and protocols that promote interoperability among mobile and print devices. The reasoning: If OEMs standardize on how mobile printing will be handled on the printer side, then mobile operating system developers (namely Apple, Google and Microsoft) can incorporate mobile printing directly into their operating systems that power smartphones and tablets. Indeed, the Alliance has made available the Mopria Plug-in for Google KitKat (Android 4.4), a print plug-in for smartphones using the Android 4.4 OS (which will ship in March). Supported features include PDF printing and NFC (Near-field Communications) tap-to-print on printers with NFC circuitry.
Equipment dealers will benefit from all this cooperation and behind-the-scenes work because it will streamline mobile printing for their customers, and could drive those customers who rely heavily on mobile devices to upgrade to Mopria-certified printers and MFPs. In the meantime, be sure to read our coverage of existing mobile print apps to solve that pain point for your customers.