SAN FRANCISCO, 15 NOVEMBER 2010 - With mobile phone cameras getting better and better, more people are using their smartphones as their primary cameras. Eventually, you'll want to print the cherished family photos that you've saved on your phone. Rather than dealing with MicroSD cards and USB cables to transfer your photos to a computer, wouldn't it be nice if you could print them directly from the phone?
Apple iPhone and iPad owners may have to wait for Apple's AirPrint to launch before they can print from their devices, but Android smartphone users already have the capability thanks to a handful of apps in the Android Market. Now you can print your photos directly to your Wi-Fi enabled printer--in many cases without a PC--via your home wireless network.
I looked at three such applications to test their printing prowess. I used an HTC Droid Incredible running Android 2.2 (Froyo) for my tests. Several hours (and one printer reboot) later, I had my results.
HP iPrint Photo (Free)
- Lets you crop and edit photos before you print
- Supports over 200 HP inkjet printers
- Quick and easy to set up
My favorite app of the bunch, HP's iPrint Photo software was the fastest to set up and the most hassle-free to use (I was printing within minutes of turning the printer on). The straightforward tools built into the app allow you to grab any photo on your phone and perform minor edits before you print. iPrint Photo supports over 200 HP printers (see the full list on HP's Website). The app is available for Windows Mobile (although apparently not yet for Windows Phone 7) and Apple iOS platforms, as well.
Polaroid PoGo App (Free)
- No Wi-Fi needed
- Allows you to add custom borders and frames to images
- Questionable color quality on test prints
Polaroid's PoGo is the only Bluetooth printing app. You can choose whether to use a picture in your gallery or to take and frame one using your camera. The app provides a variety of frames, although most are just for fun.
A side note: Polaroid's PoGo line of printers support printing from any cell phone with Bluetooth capabilities. So even if you have an older handset rather than a smartphone, you can print your photos.
Brother iPrint & Scan (Free)
- Scans images directly to your phone
- Setup takes a long time
- Printing from a PC might be quicker
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