Although tablets can be used to carry all sorts of data around, they’re less portable than old-fashioned paper. In many environments, paper is the best medium to use for sharing data, as no device can yet beat the simplicity of printing out a document and handing it to someone.
We compare the iPad, PlayBook and Android tablets for printing
Printing a document from a PC is second nature, but things aren't quite as straightforward on a tablet.
The iPad uses Apple's AirPrint, a wireless printing technology supported by most new printers, but not older ones. An AirPrint printer needs to be visible on a network, rather than connected to a computer’s USB port. There are very few settings to worry about, but you can print only from apps such as Safari, Mail Maps, Photos and iWork (Pages, Numbers and Keynote). If your iPad is connected to the same wireless network as an AirPrint-compatible printer, it will be displayed in a list when you select the Print option.
On the Android-based Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, selecting the print option in the browser suggests that only Samsung printers are supported. But as with many things on Android, there are alternative ways to go about this task. In the case of our HP Photosmart 6510 printer, this involved reverting to HP’s own ePrint system, which has a dedicated Android app.
Google also has a service called CloudPrint that solves the problem in a different way. Instead of sending a document to a printer, you send it to Google’s server, which then sends it to the printing device of your choosing.
Printing isn’t the easiest task on the PlayBook, although you can print email and attachments from the Gmail app using Google CloudPrint. RIM also has a tool called Print To Go. When you print something from your main PC, instead of printing it on paper, it arrives on the PlayBook as a PDF document.
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