HP plans to enter 3D printer market within 12 months

A 3D printer
A market set to boom?

Printer and PC giant HP will have at least one 3D printer model available in the market by June 2014, according to reports coming from Bangkok, Thailand, where its CEO Meg Whitman was addressing an audience during the Canalys Channels Forum.

She said that while 3D printing is still in its infancy, the company considers that it is a big opportunity and that HP is all over it, before adding "We will have something by the middle of next year".

Whitman hinted at faster printing as well when she said that printing an item in 10 hours is like "watching ice melt". But don't expect HP to compete on price, not yet at least.

Lucrative market

The first product(s) will be aimed at service providers who would like to delve into the nascent, but small and potentially very lucrative 3D printing market.

Earlier this month, the third biggest British Supermarket, Asda, announced that it was planning to offer 3D printing stations capable of printing 3D models from as little as £40, while Maplin has started to offer a basic 3D printer for as little as £700.

3D boom

It's not HP's first stab at 3D Printing. Back in May 2010, the company quietly launched the Designjet 3D, a relabeled printer from a little company called Stratasys and one that carried a suggested retail price of $17,499 (around £10,800 or AU$ 18,000).

HP's CEO believes that 3D printing market will mature and explode in around three years. She didn't expand on what technology will be used or whether the company will be licensing it, only saying that it will be a "new technology".