Category Archives: Product News

The First Printers to Support Google Cloud Print

google_cloud_printI’m quite sure that people sitting in their offices 20 some years ago could only dream of the technology many of us have available to us now – flat screen displays on virtually every desktop, laptops and tablets so thin and light they look like something from a sci-fi movie. Undoubtedly back then they would have believed that with all this fantastic technology at our fingertips the “paperless office” would surely be a reality – but I’m sitting at my desk right now surrounded by paper. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I have to confess to being one of those people who likes to print things off, highlight paragraphs and adorn it with my own illegible scribbles. So yes, all of the technology has helped to reduce the amount of paper we use, but at the end of the day we still want the odd piece of paper to clutch in our hands from time to time. However, one of the biggest disadvantages with printing is that most mobile devices aren’t able to print to a local networked printer, or an internet-connected printer – that is, until now …

Google Cloud Print allows you to set up your home or work PC to accept print jobs from a mobile device or a Google Chrome netbook from around the world. As long as the device is linked to your Google Cloud Print account, you can print to your home or work printer wherever you have an Internet connection. It can do this because instead of storing the printer driver on your computer, Google Cloud Print stores it in the cloud. This means you can print from a device regardless of which OS it’s using. Good news for printing from your mobile device.

HP’s portfolio of web connected and cloud-aware ePrint printers are the first to support Google Cloud Print, making printing from any web, mobile or desktop app that supports Google Cloud Print a cinch. Apps supported by the Google Cloud print today include Gmail for Mobile, Google Doc for Mobile and Chrome OS, but expect many more to follow as the service becomes more established.

To see all the ePrint enabled printers available at BT Business Direct click here

Thunderbolt High Speed Connection

The new MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt I/O
So, I’ve been looking into the new Thunderbolt High Speed Connector, and thought I should write a blog post on my thoughts. Personally, I think the previous name, Light Peak, sounds a lot cooler than Thunderbolt, but I guess that doesn’t really matter. What’s in a name? Anyway, on to the analysis.

With Thunderbolt, ultimately what will be important is the performance (followed by application and price) of this new technology.

At launch Thunderbolt will have a top speed of 10 Gigabits per second, twice as fast as USB 3.0. This will be limited, in part to reduce cost as use of fibre optics would yield much faster speed than the copper wires currently used. In theory, the top speed of Thunderbolt could be 10 times as fast as the launch speed. The question is, who is going to benefit from this much improved speed? It’s not often your typical home PC or office user complains about the speed of their transfer. Connection speed to the internet yes, but USB transfer? I’m not so sure.  Ok, when you transfer hundreds of photos from your 12MP digital camera or HDD camcorder then yes, but this isn’t an occurrence that takes place each week for the majority of us.

I guess for most users the difference won’t really be noticeable. Initially this technology will be aimed at those transferring large files, such as those who work with high definition videos and images, or other types of multimedia.

So why should everyone else care? Well two reasons. Firstly, faster is always better (I’m quite sure that some of you will now be coming up with scenarios where faster is not better but generally speaking, you know it is) and this technology is another step forward that will enhance the overall user experience. Secondly, because data transfer isn’t all this connection can support.

Thunderbolt can carry multiple signals at the same time, and by doing so, reduces the number of cables that need to be connected to your computer. Power, display and peripherals can all use this single cable, which will come as a great relief to many and will one day soon banish cable ties to oblivion. This won’t happen quite yet though, as currently users still need to buy relatively expensive adaptors to connect their older device onto Thunderbolt sockets. A shame, but if Thunderbolt catches on then this will be a short lived evil.

Whilst the vital statistics on this technology are impressive, specifications alone are no guarantee that it will become a standard. USB and Firewire have been around a lot longer and have been widely accepted as the standard. This ‘new kid on the block’ will need to play nicely and win some friends before it takes off. It’s doing well so far, being welcomed by Apple and Canon cameras but it will still be a while before it is as ubiquitous as USB. Whether it ever takes off is still to be seen, but further backing from brands who work with larger media formats will be the indicator for its success. Watch this space.