With smartphone technology advancing day by day, it’s hard to keep up with every new feature that they employ. And because of this, other devices remain underdeveloped and cannot offer the best compatibility with these fast runners. Printers are such an example. Although printers have evolved quite a lot in the last few years, their technology still has lots to catch up.

How to Print From Smartphone/Tablet?

Especially in the compatibility department. Yes, there are printers with WiFi connectivity and LAN connectivity, but for compatibility with other devices, they are still crude (for more information, check out our Printer Buying Guide). There are printers that connect to digital cameras and print directly without the need for a computer, but that’s about it.

Brother-All-in-one-printer1


Now, with smartphones and tablets getting more and more attention, it’s time that printers caught up. You can use Android printing apps if you are on that side of the fence.

Why are There Compatibility Issues?

Well, because of the different platforms that smartphones work on, different OS and, until recently, different connectors used by each manufacturer. These problems can be overcome with smart-printer technology that uses the Internet to receive files and print, or with printing apps that allow you to use certain printers to print your files.

There are quite a few methods to accomplish this task. As I mentioned earlier, printing apps allow you do this, although, not all of them work correctly and they are pretty limited in the features they provide. Besides apps, not many methods of printing from smartphones are available today, but manufacturers and developers are working tirelessly to adjust this incompatibility issue.

5 Basic Printing Methods

1. Google Cloud Print

This is a service that allows you to connect almost any printer to just about any other device that uses an Internet connection. Although you have to setup your printer first and then use Google Drive or other specialized apps to print, the process is pretty straightforward and it allows you to print from your smartphone or tablet directly to your printer. A great solution for those who don’t want to waste time with sending files from their devices to the computer and then printing. Moreover, it is not mandatory to have an e-printer or internet enabled printer to use Cloud Print!

google-cloud-print

2. AirPrint

Apple offers a similar service as Google Cloud Print for iPhone and iPad users. AirPrint is a service that allows you to print directly from your iDevice to any Internet printer. The printing process is very simple and it saves a lot of time, eliminating the need of using a computer. A great service for Apple users that can save some time for many.

Apple-Airprint-Overview

3. Bluetooth Printers

They are also a solution you can’t overlook. The downside is that you have to be in the same room as the printer you wish to use, but otherwise, the service is pretty handy. And bluetooth enabled printers are more common by the day.

bluetooth_printer_thumb

4. NFC printing

This is a new concept. Although not widely implemented, it is still a solution. You will need a NFC enabled smartphone or tablet and a printer for this method to work, but it offers a quick way to print without using a computer. NFC seems to be more and more implemented in everyday life, and in the future it will be very common to use NFC devices for much more than printing and your NFC enabled smartphone or tablet will do much more than what it does today. Definitely, this type of printing enhances the chances of wide adoption in the future for NFC.

nfc printer

5. Internet Based Printing Services

These are services that allow you to search for printing services and sending an email with the documents you want to print and pick them off later. These services work by attributing an email address to printers, and when you email the printer, it will automatically download the document and print it for you. Maybe not the most best way because of the limited reach of these printing centers and the fixed locations they have, but if you live in an area with such services, they can help you out quite a lot.

At the moment, Cloud Based printing offers the best chances of making it to a world wide service because of the flexibility and mobility it offers. Also, it’s not that difficult to imagine a future with NFC printers on the street corner where you use your smartphone to print and pay for your prints. But until then, we have to use the methods available to us, and for now, Printing Apps offer some of the best solutions for printing from a tablet or smartphone.

And there you are, a few good methods of printing documents from your smartphone or tablet. Now you will never miss an appointment or meeting because of the time you spend while transferring documents from one platform to another. If you know other methods of printing from tablets or smartphones, let us know using the comment section and we will surely add them to our list.

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Author

I often wonder, where is technology heading? What do all of these advances mean for us and for our future? I sometimes miss the days when I didn’t know how to use a floppy disk, or how a computer CPU works, but now, until I find an answer to my questions, I’ll keep tracking these advances and show everything I find to those who share my interests.