For some reason printing from a mobile phone is still a mystery to most people, probably because there’s no clear cut world class way of doing it easily. For that reason I thought I’d cover off a few alternatives to demonstrate that the technology is improving, albeit slowly.
- Print Using Dropbox. This free solution lets you print from any mobile phone using a free Dropbox account and a small Windows Visual Basic script. The idea is you move the file you want to print into a specially created PrintQueue Dropbox folder on your handset which is constantly monitored by the script on the PC. The script then pushes the file to the printer. It’s a little geeky, and vulnerable to your computer configuration, but worth a shot. Various Dropbox mobile apps.
- PrinterShare. Download the client onto your phone, sign up for the service and install the server application on your computer. Then when you want to print, just use the phone app to print the file via your online account. It’s super slick, syncs automagically with your Google Docs and email accounts, and lets you print contacts, photos, calendars et al. And it works! First 20 pages free, and works with Windows, Apple and Android handsets.
- Breezy Print. Billed as ‘one touch’ printing from your mobile phone, this client/server service mirrors the others in that you download the app to your phone and install the server application to your Windows computer. More limited than the others in output and interface (for instance the Android app only lets you print the contents of the clipboard or a web page). Priced at $29.95 a year. Blackberry and Android.
- ActivePrint Traveler. Interesting application uses client/server but adds a nice twist in that the server program can be run from a USB key. This means you can print to any computer/printer combo, such as in a hotel, as long as you can plug a USB key into the host computer. You can print PDFs, Office docs, photos, contacts etc, and runs on Windows, Apple and soon Android and Blackberry. Mobile app is priced at $3.99, with no subscription costs. Looks nice.
Specific handset platform applications:
- CyPria. Free and Pro version printing app for Android phones. Unfortunately only compatible with a very limited set of Epson ESC/P-R compatible printers.
- Remote Print. Windows and Blackberry only client/server. Priced at $4.99 with no online storage subscription required.
- JetCet Print. Pocket PC and Windows Mobile handset needed. No server element, uses Microsoft ActiveSync instead. $9.95.