Dec 26, 2008

Business - HP Makes App Store Debut with iPrint Photo

Jennifer LeClaire

HP has jumped photos first into the Apple App Store. by releasing iPrint Photo, a free application that gives iPhone and iPod touch customers the ability to print photos wirelessly.

With the official launch of iPrint Photo, HP becomes the first company to offer an application that prints photos directly from an iPod touch or iPhone without using a desktop or laptop computer. iPrint Photo lets consumers wirelessly print 4 x 6-inch photos from the Apple devices to most HP inkjet printers connected to a local Wi-Fi network.

Uncaging iPhone Photos

The HP iPrint Photo application aims to give customers the freedom and flexibility to wirelessly print the photos that have been captured on iPhone or iPod touch devices. The application will be showcased for the first time at the 2009 Macworld Conference & Expo and the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

The iPrint Photo application is fully compatible with Apple's Bonjour technology and uses Apple's Multi-Touch interface for a wireless iPhone or iPod touch print experience.

"There's a major shift happening in the mobile domain today," said Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst at the Enderle Group. "Annual camera phone device shipments are exploding on a worldwide basis, and mobile photo printing is quickly growing. Until now, customers had no easy way to print the special moments captured on their iPhone or stored on their iPod touch."

An App Store Explosion

HP isn't the only brand making headlines this week with its App Store induction. Kraft Foods also launched an application for the iPhone: the iFood Assistant. The new application offers users access to food and meal planning ideas. The Kraft app is available for 99 cents.

Last week, Big Canvas launched HolidayFrames, an application that allows users to customize photos on the iPhone and iPod touch with holiday-themed photo frames. That application costs $1.99. The company plans to launch new apps around upcoming holidays, such as Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's day.

And CallFire earlier this month launched a voice broadcast application for the iPhone. The free service lets people send a voice-recorded personal message to many contacts at the same time so they don't have to make multiple phone calls or type lengthy text messages.

The App Store Phenomenon

According to Michael Gartenberg, vice president of Mobile Strategy at Jupitermedia, the HP iPrint Photo debut, as well as the myriad of other applications making their way to the App Store, demonstrates how the iTunes marketplace is somewhere everyone wants to be.

"The App Store is like Rick's Cafe in Casablanca. Everyone just shows up there," Gartenberg said. "If you look at the rest of the partners, whether it's HP or AccuWeather or USA Today, companies have this notion that this is where consumers are going and they want to be part of that ecosystem and get that brand in the ecosystem."

By contrast, Gartenberg said the market isn't seeing companies rush to build applications for the BlackBerry, Windows Mobile or even the Android mobile platform with the fervor that Apple is enjoying. App Store additions are making news as they are launched to the marketplace.

"You simply can't discount the importance that this ecosystem has taken on in and of itself where it has become the story and the fact that Apple has done this in less than six months," Gartenberg said.

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