Xerox today announced a new solution for printing from mobile devices. Called PrintBack, the free mobile app (free for iOS and Android devices) lets you send a document to your desktop computer for printing.
The solution requires agent software (also free) on the destination computer, so it’s not for printing to any printer you happen to be near. Rather, it’s for forwarding documents to your home or office computer to be printed on whatever default printer that computer is set up for — Xerox or otherwise.
“You can be anywhere,” said product manager Rob Houston, “but you’re printing back to the computer you usually use.”
Cloud-Based Printing Options
PrintBack works through either a cloud storage setup or Web-based email. In the former case, the app sends the document to Dropbox, a popular cloud-based storage and sharing service. You set the agent up to watch a selected Dropbox location, from where it retrieves the document and prints it.
In the latter case, you send the document via Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, or other webmail service to the email address you’ve assigned the agent. (The company went with webmail solutions to avoid forcing users to deal with configuring Exchange or other mail servers.) In both cases, after retrieving the document, the agent passes it off to the native application for printing, with whatever default settings that application uses.
PrintBack works with Microsoft Office documents, PDF files, and images, and on the Mac also works with iWork files.
The solution, so far, “is targeting a one-to-one relationship” between the app and the destination printer, according to Houston. In other words, Xerox hasn’t yet built in an easy way to direct documents to different printers. There are workarounds, though: if multiple agents are set up to watch the same Dropbox, they’ll all print any uploaded documents. Or, each agent could be given separate email addresses (Xerox recommends creating a new email account for the agent, anyway), and you could use the app to determine which one to send the file to.
Xerox plans to encourage customer feedback and feature requests, so more flexible printing options may be added down the road.
New Entry-Level Multifunction Device
Xerox also announced a new entry-level color multifunction printer in its WorkCentre line, the 6015.
The 6015 is reasonably speedy, printing at up to 12 ppm in color and 15 ppm in black and white. It has a 150-sheet input paper tray and 15-sheet automatic document feeder, so it’s not meant for large workgroups — up to four users, according to James Dunn, Xerox product marketing manager.
But it does have some nice workgroup features, including built-in WiFi (in addition to USB and Ethernet) and the ability to scan to network or email.
The 6015’s scanner can capture up to 1200 x 1200 dpi resolution, and Xerox claims print resolution up to 1200 x 2400 dpi. As a copier, it can reduce up to 25 percent or enlarge up to 400 percent, as well as suppress background images.
The printer uses Xerox’s LED technology instead of a laser, which saves energy; it also uses the company’s EA toner, which fuses at a lower temperature than standard toner for further energy savings.
The WorkCenter 6015 measures a compact 16.1 x 15.3 x 13.2 inches and weighs 33 pounds. It’s expected to sell for about $450.