Mobile printing apps may delay paperless office

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Many technology pundits predict that the digital revolution will lead to the advent of the paperless office. But will it?

Not according to a recent survey of 800 smartphone and tablet users conducted recently by IDC. The survey found that the percentage of users who printed from their mobile devices "increased dramatically" in 2012.

In addition, the percentage of users who do not print or who do not want to print from their devices is expected to decline from half of users in 2012 to one-quarter in 2015. A higher percentage of tablet users than smartphone users are not able to print but want to, the survey found.

At the same time, many companies do not yet enable mobile printing, and many users do not know how to print from the mobile devices, the survey found.

The survey also found that smartphone and tablet users at large and medium-sized enterprises print more frequently than users at small firms. Also, large firms tend to offer a greater variety of mobile printing services than small firms.

To tap into the growing demand for mobile printing, a number of companies have launched mobile printing options. Both Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) offer their own mobile printing apps.

In addition, a number of printer makers have released mobile printing apps. Dell (NASDAQ: DELL), for example, recently released a mobile printing app for iOS users, after launching a similar app for Android last year, according to a review by PC Magazine.

In November, Canon USA announced a new iPhone and iPad app that enables Canon printer owners to print from their mobile device to a compatible printer.

And last month, HP (NASDAQ: HPQ) teamed with Walgreens to offer mobile printing services for iOS users. HP supplies the free mobile printer app and Walgreen makes available HP public printing locations at 8,000 stores in the United States.

IDC's data and the recent launches of mobile printing products suggest that the office will not be going paperless anytime soon. People still like to have a physical document in their hands, whether for work or for pleasure. This is good news for suppliers of printers and paper.

For more:
- see IDC's stats
- read the PC Mag review
- check out HP's release

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