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Why do so many printer companies have their own smartphone apps?

Epson announced a new Android app today, and it got me thinking.

The Epson Android iPrint has the same basic features as the Epson iOS iPrint app. It lets you print images, or webpages (over Wifi) to most Epson printers. It also supports docs stored in Dropbox,, and Evernote.

If you don’t have an Epson printer then you probably don’t care about today’s news.  But you should care.

No matter which printer you’re using, there’s a chance that the manufacturer already released a compatible iOS and/or Android app. I did some googling and I found that there’s an app for the Brother printer in my office (iOS, Android, and WP7). I also know that HP have an app.

Try googling "Manufacturer iPrint" and see what comes up. That is how I found the Epson, HP, and Brother. It looks to me like they all licensed the tech from the same place and the iPrint name came with it.

If googling doesn’t work then try the support pages for your printer. I can’t find anything right away for Canon, but it’s worth a second look.

BTW, my initial question is probably redundant.  I bet the reason that each company have their own app is because printer drivers are proprietary. They need to make something that works like their drivers and once they’ve done that they might as well release the app themselves.

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