A printer with a tablet built into it. A removable 7″ tablet running Android with the Android Marketplace. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.

HP’s Photosmart eStation is probably the most perfect design for a printer ever. Not because it prints well, or because the hardware is intrinsically different from other printers. It’s made for the modern family, with functionality spanning far and above the call of a simple printer/fax/scanner/copier. This printer can surf the web, play games, read news and watch movies. And it’s all completely wireless. Because it’s completely wireless, there’s nowhere to plug in a fax modem…so all buyers get free online faxing…though after reading the fine print, it’s only 20 faxes inbound and outbound (40 total, but separately) before users have to pay for an online fax service.

Take it on a trip if you like…but don’t expect to print direct. You’ll still need to email the documents to print directly to he printer.

The eStation is built wonderfully, and with an Android Tablet built in and removable (with 4-6 hours of battery life under heavy use, according to one HP spokesperson), the price is expected to be astronomical. Samsung’s Galaxy Tablet is going for, at it’s cheapest on T-Mobile and Sprint, $400 with a 2-year contract. The eStation is the exact same price, $399 with a tablet.

And considering that the printer is no lightweight either with 32 pages per minute in color, scanning up to 1200×2400, Wi-Fi (only, no Ethernet port but USB printing is possible) b/g/n and copies up to 1200dpi. That, and from the same Wi-Fi network anyone can print directly from the tablet, which acts as a pseudo-remote/tablet. Print up webpages directly from the tablet, control how the printer operates from your living room, whatever you want. Simply, it’s genius. I can’t wait to see how it pans out.

The HP Photosmart eStation is available now, with an online deal of $350.



James Pikover

 
Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.