By Fred Ramsey, Worldwide Product Marketing Manager, Xerox Office and Solutions Business Group

Can you imagine a modern superhighway without an off-ramp?   It would certainly be a strange road.  But, that’s precisely where people’s mobile phones and tablets are today with respect to “printing.”  Sure, we can view millions of photos and documents on a smartphone or tablet, but very few people can get a print out! (Mobile Print User Infographic)

Over the holiday, I surveyed my friends and neighbors.  I asked everyone how do they print from their smartphone or tablet?  (Yes, my parties apparently need more wine).  About halfway through, I felt like Christopher Columbus. I insisted, YES, you can print from a mobile phone and yes, the world isn’t flat!

simple mobile print cloud app from xeroxEveryone said they use some crazy workaround with a PC somewhere.  A formal InfoTrends survey  also found people can’t print from their mobile devices because of a) lack of access to a valid printer (48%) and b) lack of support from their mobile device (32%). (Infographic: Mobile Print & IT)

So, why is printing from our mobile devices such a big hassle?  The answer is deceptively simple.  Our mobile devices basically don’t have any of the necessary software to make a print!  Our legacy PC desktops have a large and expensive suite of software designed to print  (e.g. Microsoft Office, Adobe, Print Drivers, etc).  Our phones and tablets simply don’t have or can’t have the necessary software loaded.  The cost and compatibility hurdles painfully high.  Sure, iOS has AirPrint but that doesn’t help Android users nor does it work with most people’s printers. Sure, HP has a bunch of solutions, but that doesn’t help me print to a Lexmark, Xerox or Dell.

This is where a cloud print solution quickly and easily fills a gap.  Let’s consider your smartphone again and take an Excel spreadsheet.  How can I share my spreadsheet?  The screen won’t do.  I don’t have the software loaded anyway.  With a cloud print service—One click and I format, set staples, set copies, send.  All the work that my PC used to do.  In other words, I’m letting the cloud print server do all the “work.”  With a mobile cloud print service, I now have access to the necessary software for my phone.  I am simply “renting” the cloud to get my prints.  Keeping it simple and convenient is a key point.

What are the “gotchas” to Mobile Cloud Printing?  You do have to consider a small rental charge to use the service but typically that is pennies per day.  I would recommend using a secure cloud solution from a reputable vendor like Xerox.  Bottom line, mobile cloud print gives you quick and easy access to printing without a hassle.

Take a look at this 90 second Xerox Mobile Print Cloud demo using a tablet that shows printing to HP, Xerox, Lexmark and Ricoh.  I’d love to hear what you think.