Monday, May 04, 2009

HP (NYSE HPQ), RIM announce alliance -- includes CloudPrint for BlackBerry

In a press announcement released this morning, May 4 2009, HP and RIM have disclosed strategic alliance to "mobilize business on BlackBerry" smartphones.

In addition to the enterprise/IT elements of the alliance (HP Operations Manager for BlackBerry Enterprise Server, EDS Mobile Workplace Services), and the HP spokesperson one would expect in such a release, Ann Livermore, executive vice president for HP's Technology Solutions Group, there's a printing related element that's notable for several reasons.

A component of the alliance, in fact the lead item, is the inclusion of HP's CloudPrint solution for RIM's ubiquitous BlackBerry. In the words of the alliance announcement, the HP Labs-developed CloudPrint offers "a web services based solution that allows users to print emails, documents, photos and web pages using a BlackBerry smartphone, wherever they are – in the office, at home or on the road." Readers of this blog may recognize CloudPrint from previous posts, from August 2007 (see "Printing from the Cloud") and April 2008 (see "iPhone Printing Revisited").

Whether or not "Cloud Printing" becomes a meaningful benefit for at a least a significant subset of BlackBerry users remains to be seen, but kudos to HP on at least two fronts. First, I give credit to HP for keeping the CloudPrint momentum going for almost two years since its public revelation (and who knows how much longer it was rattling around HP Labs before that). And second, I note the beneficial integration of a printing feature/benefit to go along with the other Enterprise/IT elements of the alliance, just as customers might see and want things, even if the provider, HP in this case, isn't necessarily organized in a way that leads to this integration on a regular basis.

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