Productivity

Print to Dropbox, Evernote, or an actual printer from your iPhone or iPad

As iPhones and iPads increasingly take the place of laptops, there's one area that continues to be a challenge for business users: how to turn digital documents into printed ones.

For example, what if you're a doctor who wants to print patient notes or prescriptions from your iPad? Or an IT guy who needs to print a photo of a cabling setup before an upgrade? Maybe you just want hard copy of a document you've stored in Evernote?

Apple's AirPrint technology promises to make that possible, but only if your printer supports it—and, let's face it, most models don't. So do you actually have to buy a new printer just to print from your iDevice?

Nope. Collobos FingerPrint 2.2 for Windows and Mac lets you print from your iDevice to just about any printer. And it now supports virtual printers as well, meaning you can "print" to cloud-based services like Dropbox and Evernote.

So, for example, you could add Dropbox to your list of printers. Instead of ending up with a physical page, FingerPrint would route your email, photo, document, or whatever to the Dropbox folder on your PC, which would, in turn, sync it to your Dropbox account. That's a pretty quick and easy way to share or archive something.

FingerPrint 2.2 also adds new security features, support for enterprise-level printing environments (those with more than 25 printers), and "printing as a service" (meaning you can print without being logged into a computer).

You don't need any special app to use FingerPrint, only the small desktop client. Once installed, it detects all the printers on your PC (including those connected to your network) and makes them available to any iOS device.

Thus, if you want to print, say, an email, you just pull it up in the Mail app, tap the Print option, then choose the printer you want to use and the number of copies you want to print.

I've been using FingerPrint for a while now (in a home-office environment), and it works perfectly. Although Collobos doesn't guarantee compatibility with all printers, I was able to get it working with four different models -- including an old HP Photosmart 475 "lunchbox" photo printer.

The software is compatible with the latest versions of Windows, Mac, and iOS.

FingerPrint sells for $19.95, way less than the price of a new printer. I think it's a potentially killer solution for SMBs that need a fast, easy, and wireless way to print from their iDevices.

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