Mobile Print Gets Built In

— June 17, 2014

As the smartphone and tablet markets continue to rise, and bring your own device (BYOD) becomes more prevalent within the enterprise, mobile print subsystems are being integrated within mobile operating systems (OS). According to a new study from International Data Corporation (IDC), Mobile Print—Native Mobile OS Print Integration Landscape, mobile OSs are increasingly geared toward the enterprise and this focus is driving demand for more robust print capabilities.

"Integration of print subsystem in mobile OS architecture vastly simplifies the print workflow and print experience for users," said Dinesh Srirangpatna, Research Manager, Hardcopy Industry Transformation. "The print landscape is experiencing dramatic change and the tighter integration of mobile print capabilities is a positive sign for the entire print industry."

The mobile print subsystem offers users a uniform print experience across the mobile OS platform and will ultimately drive print volume. For example, all Android users (post KitKat) will experience a similar print workflow by leveraging the mobile OS native print capability. While Apple has had integration of native print for some time, Android is finally getting up to speed after adding the capability in October 2013.

This adoption is critical as Android owned 81% of the smartphone mobile OS market in Q1 2014. Most mobile print ecosystem players remain focused on Android and Apple platforms as they dominate the market, while Windows mobile market share is forecast to remain below 10% through 2018.

Business Expectations
Integration of native print raises the question: Is the market for mobile print dead? While the majority of users want basic print capability from mobile touch points and a simplified print workflow, the real value-added and monetization opportunities continue to remain on the business side. Business solutions demand features such as security, support for multiple mobile OS platforms, complex topology (multiple subnets), and backend integrations (e.g. LDAP, AD).

Additional findings include:

  • An initiative like Mopria is relevant for the print industry to drive common standards and simplify the user experience.

  • Print ecosystem vendors are expected to leverage customization opportunities via "print services" on the Android mobile OS platform given its dominant market share.

  • For Windows 8, Windows Store device apps can extend and enhance built-in user experiences for printers.

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