HP announced this morning a new printer that's the first of its kind: the TopShot LaserJet Pro M275. What makes this printer different? Of course it has the usual scanning feature that the HP LaserJet's have featured for years, but with a new spin, 3D scanning. The TopShot doesn't have an ADF, or even a cover to close on a single sheet. Instead, it has an arm across the top that takes digital images of what's on the bed. The arm contains LED lights and takes six images of any object placed on the scanner. It takes three images with the lights on, and three with them off. The printer than takes the best images and compiles them to create the file. It takes into consideration shadows, and eliminates the need to worry about lighting conditions.
HP is planning to launch the TopShot printer to businesses with hopes of getting the attention of telecommuters. Since telecommuting is becoming increasingly popular, HP hopes that this will allow an employee to send their employer a much better image of the project at hand, without having to actually travel. This idea would make it much easier for employers to closely monitor telecommuters at every phase of their work. No matter what the object, the HP TopShot can make a 3D image of it as long as it fits under the camera.
I asked HP at their briefing if the new TopShot could also be placed in the office in hopes of replacing a copier. Of course their answer was as expected; the machine could only be used for light copying. This is mainly because of the scanning bed. Its lack of an ADF would require the user to manually flip and feed each side of each document. Despite the inconvenience, HP says that the copies of regular paper would be equally as good as a printer with an ADF as far as quality of the print goes, despite the camera being so far from the page. This also means you would have to make room for another office printer in a busy office.
Another nice feature that HP is including with their entire new lineup is the AirPrint feature. This feature allows devices running Ios to print wirelessly to the new HP lineup with no hassle. The downfall of course is that similar Android and Symbian apps are only on the drawing board. I posed the question about Android and Symbian to HP during the briefing seeing as they occupy so much of the mobile market. Of course HP's answer wasn't at all specific.
The ePrint feature is of use to everyone. This will also be included in HP's entire new lineup. It allows printing through the HP cloud using any internet connection. Essentially it will allow anyone to print on their home or office HP machine from anywhere they have an internet connection.
The TopShot is complete with both wired and wireless network connections, as well as USB. Of course a 3.5" touch screen is included as well, but this machine lacks the ability to fax. I suppose the ePrint makes up for that, but you won't find this machine replacing an all-in-one without it.
HP told DaniWeb that the printer is scheduled for release in November 2011 and will be priced modestly at $399.00.
HP's entire new lineup sounds great, especially the TopShot. Let's hope HP can live up to the expectations they gave DaniWeb at their product preview briefing. Stay tuned to DaniWeb for our official review of the TopShot as we are on the top of the list to receive a unit for review in November.