Turning Mobile Printing On Its Head with Fingerprint
Printers are cheap these days and a lot of people are getting rid of perfectly good wired models in exchange for a wireless unit that allows them to print from their smartphone or tablet.
Both Apple and Google have released platforms that allow for remote printing from mobile devices. Apple's AirPrint standard for iOS devices is baked into its platform and has been one of the more popular wireless printing protocols to market thus far. Granted it also requires an iOS device, namely an iPad, iPod or iPhone.
Collobos is one of the first companies to develop a product around AirPrint. Fingerprint is a piece of software that users can download to a Mac or PC. It then uses AirPrint's technology to offer any printer(s) connected to the desktop to any users that happen to be on the same network as the desktop.
Scott Herscher, CEO of Collobos, says the company's value proposition really goes against the seemingly ubiquitous adage that "newer is better" because Fingerprint is aimed at adding wireless functionality to an older device that might otherwise be in perfect working order.
"To some extent, it feels like we're swimming up stream...Our value proposition is that newer isn't necessarily better," Herscher said, in an interview with Wireless Week.
For the home user, Fingerprint seems a little spendy at $20 for the desktop download. Still, Herscher asks, how much is it going to cost that user to go out and buy a new printer? And at an enterprise level, he says Fingerprint has already saved businesses thousands of dollars in retooling costs.
Lanny Berg, chief marketing officer for Collobos, says that when the company came up with the idea for Fingerprint a few years ago there were only about five Air-Print-enabled printers on the market, all of which were from HP.
"We saw that and that's when we said we can really do something here," Berg said.
Today the number of AirPrint-enabled printers has definitely increased. Epson says it has over 100 models of AirPort-enabled printers on the market worldwide.
Collobos has already given its SDK to a couple of companies that wanted to leverage the platform in their own products, and Herscher says the company is already working on ways to scale AirPrint.
"We have some pretty cool ideas on how to solve that problem, and there will be a lot more to say about that in in the weeks and months to come," Herscher said.