HP’s escape plan for digital photos

PALO ALTO, CALIF. – Photos have become prisoners of the smartphone. Ever since the worldwide proliferation of smartphones in the market, people have stopped printing their photos despite taking more pictures.

HP’s Printing Solutions division is trying to change that with the introduction the Sprocket photo printer (now in red) and app.

Anneliese Olson, the GM & global head of HP’s home printing solutions group, told CDN there’s no longer any separation between life and work and mobility is a must because the smartphone is the centre of our lives.

“Connectivity is essential and people are capturing their lives, but those memories are locked in a digital prison. With Sprocket you can capture what you like but print what you love. Think of that? You take the time to capture a photo and then it disappears, but if I hand you a photo you are going to keep it and place it in your living room or maybe on the back of your case,” she said.

The Sprocket becomes a new product category for HP. The palm size device is portable and can fit inside your pocket. Through the app a user can select photos from their smartphone or social media sites and then add frames, captions and other filters. Each 2 x 3 print is a sticker. The photo paper that comes with the Sprocket is also smudge-proof.

Olson added that HP consulted with many millennials and Gen Z or digital natives some of which have never used a printer in the development process of the Sprocket. The HP executive learned that the size of the photo – similar to Instagram posts – was an important feature.

Sue Richards, the GM of home and consumer solutions, said connecting with millennials and Gen Zs was critical because they informed the vendor that photos couldn’t provide the instant gratification of social media.

“We took those insights and added it to our own 30 years of printing knowledge and made an app that is more personal, immediate and with a mobile focus.

At the Power of Print event HP’s President of imaging and printing solutions business Enrique Loris made three mission statements for the company.

  1. Help consumers reinvent their memories;
  2. For office printing; change the narrative that not all printing is done on HP equipment; and
  3. Help to create more digital pages that are personalized for the graphics part of the HP’s printing business.

Lores said the company is designing new products for a different lifestyle and workstyle; with mobile and collaboration in mind.

And, in the near future you can include voice commands. Loris has brokered two alliance partnerships with Google and Microsoft. So, the Sprocket and other HP printers can be activated by Google Assistant and Cortana.

“We want to remove friction from printing. With Google Assistant, you can be watching your photos on your TV screen and then ask it to make a print by saying ‘print this picture.’ We want to make things simple and we believe this will grow the number of pages,” Loris said.

He added that HP is in talks with AWS for Alexa.

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