Want to print those e-mails piling up on your cell phone or PDA? Bluetooth printers promise to expedite wireless printing around offices. The next challenge is to turn the Internet into a universal "printer cable" so you can get hard copies from your handheld when you're on the road, says IDC analyst Jennifer Thorwart.
Zenographics, for one, is building alliances for a free MobilePrint subscription service to let you redirect your e-mails, attachments and Web content to Internet-connected printers and fax machines in locations such as hotels and print shops. For now, you can log on to the company's Web site (http://mp.zeno.com) and send your content (via an ActiveX client download) to a fax machine or printer attached to a PC you control.
Electronics for Imaging (EFI) is also signing sites up for its budding PrintMe Networks. A free user account at www.printme.com lets you send content to PrintMe-enabled printers, which can be achieved with either an embedded chip or a PrintMe terminal attached to the printer. Sir Speedy has already launched the service in Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City and San Diego. EFI expects Marriott Hotels and many other locations to be online by year-end.
It will take at least that long before wireless print sites are common, says Thorwart, but IDC research indicates that nearly half of all business travelers would potentially use them.
Erik P. Nelson is a freelance writer in San Francisco. His work has appeared in Profit and M-Business magazines.
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