Printing from your Android device needn’t be a struggle. You shouldn’t have to hunt down a proprietor-specific app – and you don’t need to. Here are a few of the best printer management apps available from the Google Play store for Android.
Google Cloud Print. At four-and-a-half stars, Google’s OTA (over-the-air) Cloud printing service is a seriously robust competitor. Incredibly simple to set up – if you have a wireless printer, it’s virtually one-step – the app allows for printing from your device to your home printer anywhere in the world. Even if your printer isn’t wireless, you can connect to a printer through a computer that’s on, online, and running Google Chrome (there are loads of low-powered machines that can do this).
Google Cloud Print is hard to beat, but there are some drawbacks. For one, you can’t do anything other than print from the app. That means no scanning, no faxing and so on. We’ll talk about the necessity for this in a moment. For two, you do need to leave a computer on all the time (if you don’t have a wireless printer). That could get expensive, if you’re away for a while, and it’s also a fire hazard to leave in your absence. So, what else is there?
PrinterShare. Though the ‘Pro’ version of this app is fairly pricey at around $14.99, the free version will work just fine to check for compatibility with your printer. PrinterShare offers its own set of drivers through the GutenPrint service to enable compatibility with a wider range of printers sans-computer than even Google Cloud Print. And, of course, it supports Google Cloud Print through its own interface.
Print. EuroSmartz’s simply-named offering works in a similar fashion to the two apps listed above, but promises compatibility with all printers using provided software.
One of the serious lacks at the moment – and a niche available to any enterprise willing to give it a shot – is a mobile application that supports the more feature-rich printer’s functionality from the device itself. For example, scanning apps on Android typically use the device’s camera. Faxing is completely out. For owners of all in one printers, that’s not getting the best out of their device. Currently, it seems, printer apps are a one-way affair: your mobile device to your printer. Is anyone willing to change that?