Cloud computing is going through some growing pains that are not likely to end in these hot summer months. Nevertheless, all tech-watchers argue that cloud storage of documents and software is the future of computing. Working on one’s fundraising pitch at home, synching to one’s online storage service (some of which will be reviewed next week!), then showing one’s potential donors on an iDevice or tablet certainly seems a convenience and a way to demonstrate efficiency and a commitment to going paper free.
But sometime you’ve just got to print the document you’ve just shown on your handheld device. Without a USB connection, how do you do that?
Printing from most devices requires an additional piece of software that can run anywhere from $.99 to $9.99. From our research, the 10x differential in price has less to do with a 10x differential in features and more to do with some added opportunity to connect and save/remember more kinds of printers. So if you are wanting access to a fairly small or standard set of printers, don’t feel compelled to spend over $5.
The aptly named MS Office and Apple iWork documents, and PDFs. Reviews in the iTunes store have not been so favorable (Avg.: 2.5 stars), in no small part because the developers are asking for $9 but some printers on their list are not available for many users., for example, offers to print emails,
, on the other hand, has an average of 4 stars and only asks $1.99 from your iTunes account. And it promises quite similar features in terms of printers accessible and documents compatible.
In terms of customer outreach, it’s tough to beat: You can download a free version to test the various printers in your life. If they roll out the test pages, you can download either the foundational app ($2.99) or the extended ‘Business’ app that includes networked printers ($4.99).
One that takes a different tack is Printopia, which installs itself within your desktop or laptop Mac’s System Preferences (and thus does not work with PC-based iDevices). Then any printer your computer can connect to becomes a printer for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. To clarify, you need not print directly in the same network; if your Mac has seen that printer, your iDevice has access to it. Moreover, Printopia has direct access to Dropbox synching services, a feature with its own set of benefits, as we shall see. Perhaps the most expensive printing software out there at $20, but security and access options might make it well worth the price, especially for power users.
Only Printopia requires a Mac. The others are bought through iTunes for your Mac or PC-synched iDevice.
The Android Market is strikingly undersupplied in choices, though a number of(Canon, Brother, HP…) offer software for their own machines. , on the other hand, offers support for some 2500 printers, of images, PDFs, and email. It also has the highest rating of any of the software we researched at 4.5 stars.
Consider how often you want to print and to what kinds of printers so that your own research, and outlay of cash, gives you what you want to get that proposal from your desktop in your office to your tablet on the road to the printer of your clients.