Being able to print something wirelessly from your computer has made life much easier for millions of people over the past few years.
Even cooler is the ability, through mobile apps, to print wirelessly from your smartphone and tablet. That's also easy these days because most printer manufacturers offer mobile apps that work with their products.
As you can see from this Google Play page, HP, Brother, Epson, Canon and others have rolled out Android apps that enable Wi-Fi-based connections to their respective printers.
All well and good, but wouldn't it be great if there were an app that allows Android devices to wirelessly connect to printers made from any manufacturer?
Once you download and install the app, pop it open and it will show you a menu of files and apps containing printable data -- email, Gmail, Google Drive, Picture Gallery, Contacts, Calendar, Dropbox, Facebook, and Evernote.
Before you can begin printing, you need the app to find a Wi-Fi-enabled printer and then connect to its particular Wi-Fi network. Just tap "+Add Printers" at the top of the menu and you may already see Google Cloud listed. Even if you do, you still should connect your phone directly to the wireless printers you want to use.
Tap +Add Printers at the bottom of the dropdown menu you just opened up. You'll see that you can search for nearby Wi-Fi printers, nearby Bluetooth printers, Windows Shared, USB printers, and Google Cloud printers. Don't tap any of them. Instead, tap "Printer Setup Wizard" at the bottom of that screen, choose which type of printer you want to connect to, and hit "Next."
If you're in public or inside a large office building, you may be amazed at how many printers show up in the app's scan. But remember, you need the Wi-Fi network's 16-digit access code. Otherwise you could run around printing from any random Wi-Fi printer, a power best not bestowed upon mortals.
When you see the printer you want to use, tap it and you'll be asked to input the Wi-Fi network's 16-digit access code. (You also might have to download a driver, which takes just a few seconds.)
Once the app indicates a connection, you're good to go. The Print Hammermill app quickly identified my two wireless home printers -- an HP Officejet 6600 and an Epson XP-410 -- and printed effortlessly from either one.
Here's a list of printers the Hammermill app works with. It's a long one.
For Android owners who 1) work in offices with multiple wireless printers, 2) regularly work out of different offices, or 3) have more than one wireless printer at home, Print Hammermill is a very useful mobile app.
For HP printers only
HP owns about 40% of the printer market, so if you own or use an HP printer exclusively, the HP ePrint Android app will work well for you. One neat feature it includes is a "Service" tab that will show you a list of businesses (UPS stores, FedEx offices, hotels, etc.) in the area where you can find printers to use, should the need arise.
This story, "The only Android printing app you'll need" was originally published by CITEworld.