Paper - the Rodney Dangerfield of media
By Warren Volkmann, Editor
HP Developers' Portal
Jacob Cohen got no respect as a comedian, so after years of struggling, he quit and went to work as a salesman. When he tired of that, he returned to showbiz with a new schtick and a new name “Rodney Dangerfield.” He turned that lack of respect into one of his best comedy schticks.
It’s a lot like that for paper. It is derided as Old Media – way old – like 2,000 years old.
Since the invention of the computer, futurists and prognosticators have been forecasting the demise of paper. Every advance in screen technology enables new paperless options, triggering yet another round of predictions: “Paper will go away. Paper will go away.”
Printers just aren't sexy tech, like smart watches, drones and the next iAnything. Nobody lines up for days in advance to buy the newest printer. The Consumer Electronics Show doesn’t pack ‘em in to see the newest features in all-in-one inkjets. Nobody raves. Nobody touts. Nobody cares. Nevertheless, printers sell like cheeseburgers.
100 million sold - every year
In 2014, more than 100 million inkjet and laser printers worth nearly $50 billion were sold worldwide. That gives you an installed printer base of about half a billion (with a “b”). In a world where screens flicker everywhere, people still find practical uses for the printed page. Paper is the durable, portable, foldable, sharable media that doesn't require batteries.
You gotta respect that.
New possibilities with digital printing
Printing on paper may not be sexy, but it is still downright practical for a lot of situations. Mobile printing offers interesting new possibilities as mobile apps and stationary printers work together in new ways. With digital printing, every individual can receive a customized customized publication (think Google Ads on paper).
As a developer, what can you do with half a billion installed printers?