It had to happen sooner or later: digital assistants are coming to control your home printer, courtesy of HP. The feature isn't built into the printers yet though – the functionality comes as a new skill to use with your smart speaker or assistant app, and will work with all HP's web-enabled printers.
"Integrating voice into the home printer is an undeniably useful application of the technology," according to HP's Anneliese Olson. "For busy families, the virtual assistant ecosystem makes a lot of sense and connecting a printer to it is a natural extension within the smart home."
You'll be able to bark out commands like "print some graph paper" or "print out my reminders" says HP, without so much as a click on a mouse button or a tap on a screen. HP plans to actually embed the assistants into its printers in the near future, though for the time being you'll have to use an intermediary device.
The rise of the smart assistant
These assistant apps can also now tell you if you're low on ink, which saves hunting through settings screens on your computer. The skills are live now and HP has created three dedicated landing pages for each one: Google Assistant, Alexa and Cortana.
Of course with behind-the-scenes updates, HP can easily upgrade the printing capabilities of these assistant apps as time goes on, responding to an increasing number of commands to print whatever it is you need printing, or to change the printer's configuration.
While HP is first out of the gate, you can expect other printer manufacturers to swiftly follow suit, as we move towards a world where every gadget has some kind of voice assistant built in. Based on all the new smart gear we saw at CES 2018, it looks like Google Assistant, Alex and Cortana are just getting started.
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.