TRULY MO­BILE AND CLOUD READY

The newly launched HP LaserJet MFP M476 is the first truly cloud and mo­bile ready de­vice that prints di­rectly from pop­u­lar cloud stor­age ser­vices and is com­pli­ant to the new Mo­pria spec­i­fi­ca­tions for mo­bile print­ing

CRN - - TECH FOCUS - ED­WARD J COR­REIA

HP has built con­nec­tors in the new printer range for cloud ser­vices like Box, Google Drive and Flow CM that en­able it to con­nect di­rectly to ac­counts and print documents

As the world edges ever closer to a pa­per­less ex­is­tence, HP continues to find new ways to keep print­ers in the game. HP re­cently un­veiled the Color LaserJet MFP M476, which will be the first printer to sup­port uni­ver­sal pro­to­cols for mo­bile de­vice print­ing and the first in its class from HP to sup­port man­age­ment that goes deeper than mon­i­tor­ing and sta­tus reporting.

The lat­est mul­ti­func­tion printer for SMBs also im­proves scan­ning speed and paper han­dling, can lever­age LDAP for di­rec­tory lookups and ac­cess con­trol, and has been called the first truly cloud-en­abled de­vice for its abil­ity to di­rectly ac­cess documents stored in pop­u­lar on­line stor­age sys­tems be­yond HP’s own.

HP gave the CRN Test Cen­ter an in­side look at the LaserJet M476, which will be widely avail­able start­ing April 2014. List pric­ing starts at $529, down from the $599 list price of its pre­de­ces­sor. The M476 re­places the M375 and M475 MFPs.

Mo­pria for mo­bile print­ing

Top­ping the news is the ground­break­ing re­lease of the first printer to be com­pli­ant with spec­i­fi­ca­tions de­vel­oped by the Mo­pria Al­liance, which per­mit the MFP to out­put from com­pat­i­ble tablets and smart­phones with­out the need for spe­cial apps or setup. The non­profit con­sor­tium was founded last year by Canon, HP, Sam­sung and Xerox and is ded­i­cated to build­ing a uni­ver­sal set of print­ing pro­to­cols and in­ter­faces for wire­less print­ing from mo­bile de­vices.

The Mo­pria pro­to­col is al­ready built into An­droid 4.4 Kit Kat. As with its pre­de­ces­sors, the new printer also sup­ports print­ing from iOS de­vices via AirPrint.

Di­rect ac­cess to Box, Drive

For de­vices run­ning nei­ther An­droid Kit Kat nor iOS, the M476 sup­ports HP’s ePrint App and ePrint En­ter­prise ser­vice, which per­mit smart­phones and tablets to out­put via Wi-Fi Di­rect or by send­ing email through the ser­vice to an email ad­dress cor­re­spond­ing to the printer.

The M476 also can print documents in cloud-based stor­age like Box, Google Drive and HP’s Flow CM com­pletely on its own. HP has built con­nec­tors in the de­vice for these cloud ser­vices that en­able the printer to con­nect di­rectly to ac­counts and print documents.

Deeper man­age­ment

The M476 will now sup­port Web Je­tad­min, HP’s fleet of man­age­ment tools for net­worked print­ers, mak­ing the de­vice more suit­able in the en­ter­prise for de­ploy­ment in re­mote and branch of­fice lo­ca­tions.

Ad­mins can now con­trol func­tions re­motely by groups of users. They can man­age the fleet from an au­then­ti­ca­tion as­pect, with cer­tain fea­tures avail­able to some users and not oth­ers. For ex­am­ple, one can say that this group can print, scan and fax, while these oth­ers can only print. Other ad­min­is­tra­tive func­tions in­clude re­mote di­ag­nos­tics and firmware up­dates on mul­ti­ple de­vices at the same time. Pre­vi­ously, these print­ers had to be up­dated one by one.

Two side scan­ning

Scan­ning and copy­ing speeds es­sen­tially are dou­bled thanks to a new two-sided scan­ning en­gine. The M476 now scans both sides of the page in a sin­gle pass rather than scan­ning, flip­ping and scan­ning the other side. The unit’s 50-sheet auto-doc­u­ment feeder also has been up­dated to han­dle the faster flow.

LDAP sup­port

Fur­ther en­hanc­ing the al­lure of the M476 to the en­ter­prise is LDAP sup­port, which does more than sim­plify its in­tro­duc­tion to a net­work.

Sup­port of LDAP al­lows users to eas­ily find email ad­dresses within their com­pany’s di­rec­tory. This is use­ful for rout­ing documents or scans and for gen­er­ally im­prov­ing doc­u­ment work­flow.

The bot­tom line

With the Color LaserJet MFP M476, HP is demon­strat­ing that en­ter­prise print­ers can be man­age­able, ca­pa­ble, fullfea­tured wire­less and net­work cit­i­zens with­out be­ing overly ex­pen­sive.

List pric­ing starts at $529 and peaks at $679 for wire­less, wire­less/NFC and auto-du­plex bun­dles. The 21-page-per-minute printer is de­signed for groups of three to 10 people print­ing be­tween 1,000 and 2,500 pages per day.

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