The rise of smart phones has presented Hewlett-Packard with a problem.
For years, HP has relied on the sale of its printer ink to supply a big piece of the company's profits. Smart phones are a challenge because they're by design not connected to printers, and with people reading more of their Internet content on their phones, they're printing fewer pages.
HP, the world's No. printer maker, hopes changes it announced Monday will help reverse that trend.
The company is rolling out technology that will give all of its new $99-and-up printers Internet capabilities.
They will each have their own e-mail address, to which smart phone users can send photos and any other files they want to print. The printers will also be able to connect to an HP website, from which users can tell their printers to do specific things at certain times, such as printing out copies of the day's top news stories every morning.
Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of HP's imaging and printing group, said the changes answer demands from customers to make it easier to print from any Internet-connected device, including smart phones and "netbooks" (small laptops) and tablet computers such as Apple's iPad.
Analysts from the market research firm IDC called the changes "innovative," but cautioned they're "not without execution challenges," such as the need to attract enough software developers to build creative applications that use the new functions.