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HP printers go public

The company launches two programs to make its printers accessible on demand in public locations across Asia.

Hewlett-Packard has launched two programs to make its printers accessible in public locations in Asia.

The first is a pilot program that allows hotel guests to rent printers. Certain hotels in the InterContinental group and the Amara Singapore will participate.

Guests can rent the portable HP Deskjet 450 printer by the hour or by the day for wireless printing via short-range Bluetooth technology. They can also rent the HP Photosmart 245 printer for wired printing, or for wire-free printing if a wireless card is available for the 245's expansion slot.

In addition, people with Nokia Series 60 mobile phones such as the Nokia 3650, Nokia 6600 and Nokia 7650 can download the HP Wireless Printing Platform for Mobile Phone. The software will allow them to use the printers too.

The usage charges will vary from hotel to hotel, an HP representative said.

After an evaluation of the pilot program, HP said, it may add conference centers, business lounges, cafes, wireless hot spots and other locations.

In the second program, printers have been installed in stores for people who use mobile phones, notebooks and handhelds.

The program, called U-Print, is available at 50 places in Seoul, including convenience stores such as Family Mart and Lotteria. The number of U-Print access points with wireless-enabled printers will be expanded to more than 1,000 spots by the end of the year, with a regional launch in 2004, according to HP.

Korean mobile services provider SK Telecom will provide the required wireless communication network and billing services, as well as marketing and sales support. Isdata, a Korean software company, will provide network security.

CNETAsia staff reported from Singapore.