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HP tackles Web printing woes

The printer market leader touts a software application that will allow users to print customized information from the Web.

Hewlett-Packard introduced a desktop application which will allow users to print customized information from the Web, something that's a tricky proposition today.

Some sites offer text-only versions of their pages, while others require the use of a plug-in application to make their content more printer-friendly. But many sites use frames and other technologies that make for problematic printing.

Web PrintSmart is designed to enable PC users to print customized newspapers and reports in individually configured formats and at prescheduled times. The application also reformats Web pages so broken tables are minimized and only selected information is included on the printed page. Importantly, it includes a "print preview" function.

The software is part of HP's attempt to extend its overall printer market lead further into the field of digital imaging. An HP spokesman said it is currently in discussions with Microsoft and Netscape to incorporate the application into forthcoming versions of those companies' Web browsers.