HP readies first Mopria-certified printer

HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M476

HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M476_front

Hewlett-Packard’s new Color LaserJet Pro MFP M476 takes the honour of being the first printer to market certified by the new Mopria Alliance group that aims to standardize the heretofore hodgepodge of mobile printing solutions.

Launched last year, Mopria is a connection founded by HP, Canon, Samsong, and Xerox, and since joined by other printer vendors, including Lexmark, Brother, Epson, Konica Minolta, and Ricoh, as well as interested other parties, such as Adobe.

While the new color LaserJet is the first to hit the market, it is certainly far from the last. George Brasher, vice president and global manager of HP’s worldwide LaserJet business, hinted that his division had a first-mover’s advantage of just days over his peers in the InkJet business. And the plan is to certify all of the company’s printers introduced in the last two years to the Mopria standard. Ultimately, some 80 per cent of printers shipped over the last two years should be able to be brought up to the Mopria standard, Brasher said. HP also markets a wireless accessory that will make additional printers compatible with Mopria.

“Everything we ship, inkjet and laser, will be Mopria-certified,” said David Laing, director of innovation for LaserJet Enterprise Solutoins at HP.

Mopria has scored a major win on the mobile device side, with Google shipping Android 4.4 “KitKat” with a Mopria-based mobile printing driver installed out of the box. Getting printers lined up under Mopria, and getting broad support under Android should go a long way to building awareness of mobile printing as something that’s much more compatible with the familiar CTRL+P experience on a computer.

“Standards are good for customers, especially when there’s such significant pain points,” Brasher said. “They don’t think they can do it. Or if they know they can do it, they don’t know how. And if they know, they think it’s too hard. This eliminates the need for each print vendor to create a printing app for each mobile platform. It will radically simplify the print experience.”

Along with Mopria certification, the M476 – an update of HP’s best-selling departmental laserjet MFPs – includes support out of the box for printing from cloud repositories commonly used in the SMB space, including HP’s own Flow CM systems, as well as Box and Google Drive.

With the embrace of printing from the cloud comes improvements in IT’s biggest concern with printing from the cloud – security. The M476 introduces security enhancements including support for Active Directory out of the box, as well as enhancements to the company’s Web JetAdmin security software. Before, this class of printer could be discovered and monitored by Web JetAdmin, Brasher said. But with this update, it can be more fully remotely managed, including support for enterprise-wide firmware upgrades and policies through Web JetAdmin.

That functionality also introduces the ability for managed print service providers to manage the printer remotely. Brashear predicted that as a result, partners will be able to use more third-party tools for remote management and operation in cost-per-page environments, a move that could help MPS providers get greater control on the smaller departmental printers that often proliferate in a customer’s environment outside of the scope of a managed services agreement.